Thursday, July 10, 2008

And Another Year

Somewhere between April and August...why, that's another year from now.

Asked when Iraqi ground forces could handle security so U.S. troops would not have to, Lt. Gen. James Dubik told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the strength of Iraq's ground forces had grown significantly. "The ground forces will mostly be done by middle of next year; their divisions, brigades and battalions are on a good timeline," Dubik said in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee. "Could be as early as April. Could be as late as August," said Dubik, who until last week led the effort to train Iraqi forces.

While U.S. commanders' predictions on Iraqi security forces have proven excessively optimistic in the past, the general's assessment is central to the debates in Washington and Baghdad over a timeline for when Iraqi forces can take charge of security, allowing the bulk of the approximately 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq to withdraw.