The day after U.S. Military pulled out of Baghdad to the outlying areas, Iraqi military changed the planned strategy, re-interpreted the U.S./Iraq security agreement, and ordered U.S. troops not participate in the expected “joint patrols” inside Baghdad.
BAGHDAD, July 17 – The Americans have been taken aback by the new restrictions on their activities. The Iraqi order runs “contrary to the spirit and practice of our last several months of operations,” Maj. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, commander of the Baghdad division, wrote in an e-mail obtained by The Washington Post.
“Maybe something was ‘lost in translation,’ ” Bolger wrote. “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.” He said U.S. troops intend to engage in combat operations in urban areas to avert or respond to threats, with or without help from the Iraqis.
“This is a broad right and it demands that we patrol, raid and secure routes as necessary to keep our forces safe,” he wrote. “We’ll do that, preferably partnered.”
U.S. forces see the stepped-up attacks against them linked to these restrictions. With tensions taunt between America forces and Iraqi military, GI’s express doubts about Iraq’s ability to protect the country:
The acrimony that has marked the transition period has sowed resentment, according to several U.S. soldiers, who said the confidence expressed by Iraqi leaders does not match their competence.
“Our [Iraqi] partners burn our fuel, drive roads cleared by our Engineers, live in bases built with our money, operate vehicles fixed with our parts, eat food paid for by our contracts, watch our [surveillance] video feeds, serve citizens with our [funds], and benefit from our air cover,” Bolger noted in the e-mail.
Is Obama strong enough to give our Military commanders the cover to press for sound security, both for our soldiers, as well as Iraqis? Will we allow Iraq to spin the security agreement? Will we allow the reckless endangerment of our troops coming from less than sound strategy? This is another ‘gird your loins’ moment for this lank administration.
The photograph above was taken by DOD photographer, MC2 Edwin L. Wriston. “A U.S. Airman conducts range safety and firing training for Iraqi police….