Saturday, February 25, 2006

Going Backwards

The number of Iraqi army battalions judged by their American trainers to be capable of fighting insurgents without U.S. help has fallen from one to none since September, Pentagon officials said yesterday.

But the number of Iraqi battalions capable of leading the battle, with U.S. troops in a support role, has grown by nearly 50 percent. And the number of battalions engaged in combat has increased by 11 percent.


When Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in September that the number of Iraqi battalions capable of fighting independently of U.S. troops had dropped from three to one, the news triggered an uproar among Democrats arguing for an early pullout.

So, the Iraqis are becoming more dependant on the US troops, not less.


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