Bad news for the surrender crowd but GREAT news for the U.S., Coalition forces and the Iraqi Army.
Todays Good News from Iraq is this: (Because this is an AP story, I have found a verifying story here, it with another source)
BAGHDAD - In a move that could portend a strategy change, the commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq said Sunday he has proposed reducing his troop levels and shifting next year to missions focused less on direct combat.(Emphasis mine)
Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon told The Associated Press that if current trends hold, he would like to begin this troop reduction and change in mission in Ninevah province, where he said Iraqi army forces already are operating nearly independently. He has proposed shifting the province to Iraqi government control as early as August.
The poor surrender crowd wasn't able to force the U.S. to surrender before General Petraeus and his strategy of counterinsurgeny as well as the wonderful training of the Iraqi forces, started to show up in the MSM.
That, however, could mark the beginning of a phased move away from the heavy combat role that U.S. troops have played, at a cost of more than 3,600 U.S. deaths, for more than four years. That, in turn, could lead to the first substantial U.S. troop reductions beginning in the spring or summer — a far slower timetable than many in Congress are demanding.
Mixon is not the only U.S. commander contemplating a repositioning or reduction of U.S. troops in the months ahead.
Col. John Charlton, commander of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, who leads a task force of 6,000 U.S. soldiers in a section of Anbar province that includes Ramadi, said in an interview Friday that by January he might be ready to take a 25 percent troop cut if the Iraqi police, numbering about 6,000 now, are made stronger by then.
"The police are the keys to maintaining security from al-Qaida," Charlton said.
Oh HARRY "Bagdad" REID, OH HILLARY CLINTON, are you watching?
Mixon said the current debate over troop withdrawal should revolve around reaching a strategic "end state."
"It seems to me that we should first decide what we want the end state to be in Iraq, and how is that end state important to the United States of America, to this region and to the world, and then determine how we can reach that end state, and how much time that will take," he said. "To me, that seems to be the most important thing, because there will be consequences of a rapid withdrawal from Iraq.
"It cannot be a strategy based on, 'Well, we need to leave,'" he added. "That's not a strategy, that's a withdrawal."
The Commanders on the ground are talking to YOU.
What? You don't say!!! It's the SURGE that is to be credited? Oh no, tell the surrender crowd it isn't so!!!!!!!!!!!!
As part of the troop surge, which reached full strength in mid-June, Mixon received two brigades based out of Fort Lewis, Wash. The general credits the additional forces with helping to improve security in Diyala province, and cited Operation Arrowhead Ripper that was launched last month.
Wow, the news is better and better for Iraq, not so much so for the defeatists in Congress and the Senate.
"Operation Arrowhead Ripper kicked off on June 19 with the arrival of 3/2 Stryker Brigade and will continue until Baqubah is secure and the government center there is functioning," he said. "We have had to clear numerous complex obstacles, including 24 houses booby-trapped with explosives ... and 100 other types of improvised explosive devices."
In the ongoing operation, troops are clearing Baqubah's city blocks in an "intentionally slow" fashion to reduce the number of casualties. To date, coalition and Iraqi security forces have killed more than 90 al-Qaida operatives, discovered 45 weapons and munitions caches and detained about 130 suspected al-Qaida operatives, Mixon said. During raids in Western Baqubah neighborhoods, troops also have uncovered al-Qaida safe houses, torture houses, medical clinics and bomb-making factories.
Local leaders, tribal sheikhs and the Western Baqubah's citizens are cooperating with combined forces, providing them valuable information about al-Qaida, Mixon said.
"These people are coming forward because they have increased confidence in their security forces and they are simply tired of al-Qaida dominating their lives and terrorizing their neighborhoods, as they have done over the last several months," he said.
I know someone that is smiling BIG right about now.
Put this in your collective surrendering defeatist pipe and SMOKE IT.
Well done Troops, Colition forces and Iraqi Army and Security forces.
Well done, indeed.