Commander: U.S. Troops ‘Not Invisible’ in Baghdad
July 18, 2009 by Jari
Following up on the vague and misleading McClatchy story I flagged a couple of days ago, The Washington Post today offers a fuller picture of what’s going on with the U.S. troops still in Baghdad:
U.S. commanders have described the pullout from cities as a transition from combat to stability operations. But they have kept several combat battalions assigned to urban areas and hoped those troops would remain deeply engaged in training Iraqi security forces, meeting with paid informants, attending local council meetings and supervising U.S.-funded civic and reconstruction projects.
According to an e-mail by Maj. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, commander of the Baghdad division, the new Iraqi order to restrict American movement and operations “runs contrary to the spirit and practice of our last several months of operations”:
‘Maybe something was ‘lost in translation. […] We are not going to hide our support role in the city. I’m sorry the Iraqi politicians lied/dissembled/spun, but we are not invisible nor should we be.’
I’m sorry to have to harp on this, but the U.S. military, along with most of the foreign media still based in Baghdad, have only themselves to blame for the confusion. Instead of limply going along with the politicians’ bullshit, Bolger and his bosses should’ve clearly stated the fact: American troops remain inside Baghdad to help out in case anything goes wrong. That was the plan all along. Why everyone bought the “pullout” meme hook, line and sinker is beyond me.