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Petraeus: Let's Pull Back

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Interesting news coming out of Iraq…

Intent on demonstrating progress in Iraq, the top U.S. general there is expected by Bush administration officials to recommend removing American troops soon from several areas where commanders believe security has improved, possibly including Al Anbar province.

According to the officials, Gen. David H. Petraeus is expected to propose the partial pullback in his September status report to Congress, when both the war’s critics and supporters plan to reassess its course. Administration officials who support the current troop levels hope Petraeus’ recommendations will persuade Congress to reject pressure for a major U.S. withdrawal.

The expected recommendation would authorize U.S. commanders to withdraw troops from places that have become less violent and turn over security responsibilities to Iraqi forces.

Now, pardon me for armchair quarterbacking here, but isn’t this what we did last time? Go into an area, secure it, hand it over to Iraqi forces and then watch as it went downhill and descended back into chaos?

Yeah, you think I’m just being critical for no reason, but read this…

Petraeus has not told the White House where he might recommend reductions. But military commanders have indicated in recent briefings that Nineveh province in northern Iraq and its capital, Mosul, like Al Anbar in the west, could be an area from which it might be suitable for the U.S. to withdraw.

Okay…they said Mosul. That’s in Northern Iraq.

Well, yesterday hundreds were killed or seriously injured by the biggest suicide bombing attack yet in Iraq right outside of…you guessed it…Mosul:

MOSUL, Iraq, Aug 15, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) — The death toll from four apparently coordinated suicide car bombings near Iraq’s northwestern town of Sinjar late Tuesday rose dramatically to 500, while 375 others injured, hospital official told Xinhua on Wednesday.

“We have received 500 corpses and 375 others injured people,” said Dr. Kifah Muhammad, the manager of the hospital in Sinjar, a town in western Nineveh province.

He added that the death toll could rise further as rescue workers continue to ferry the victims to the hospital.

The newly obtained figure from the hospital doubled the death toll Xinhua earlier got from a local police source, which said that 250 people were killed and 300 others injured.

So is this really a good time to be pulling troops out of that region? Don’t think so. And if it’s our plan to stay there for a while, it doesn’t seem wise to shift our forces around when we’ve barely secured areas after a few months.

I guess we’ll see…