John Kerry is calling for the withdrawal of United States forces under a schedule agreed upon with the new government of Iraq. This will legitimize the new Iraqi government, enable the Iraqis to become more self-reliant, and undermine support for the insurgency.
In fact, Senior American commanders have said the large U.S. military presence in Iraq feeds the insurgency. General George Casey, the top American military commander in Iraq, testified to Congress that our large military presence “feeds the notion of occupation” and “extends the amount of time that it will take for Iraqi security forces to become self-reliant.”
The goal of John Kerry’s plan is to undermine the insurgency by simultaneously pursing a political settlement and the military draw down of American forces. Kerry’s plan calls for:
** The redeployment of U.S. combat troops out of Iraq by the end of 2006.
** Only U.S. troops essential to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces would remain.
President Bush has repeatedly said that when Iraqis stand up, we will stand down. However, that has not been happening. So far, the Iraqis have trained 265,600 security forces. The Bush administration’s stated goal is 272,566 Iraqi security forces. Yet just two weeks ago, the Pentagon announced that they are sending 3,500 additional U.S. troops from Kuwait to Iraq.