Concerns Over Special Forces May Stall Already Limited Iraq Pullout

Military Insists Support Will Be Provided, But Won't Say How

Most of the previous criticism of President Barack Obama’s “pullout” plan from Iraq has centered around it being less a pullout plan than a plan to continue the war indefinitely. But after a week of getting used to the idea that 50,000 troops will remain on the ground and engaging in combat long after the government declares combat operations over, some in the military are now concerned that the pullout is taking key support units, while leaving the elite forces which are dependant on them in place.

The elite forces, special operations units which engage in secretive operations across Iraq, are dependent on conventional forces for a myriad of aspects to their mission, from transportation to logistics support. So when a large chunk of those conventional forces are withdrawn, what’s going to happen to all the special operations forces that remain?

Officially the military says that they expect the needs of the special operations forces will continue to be met, but they are light on details of how this will be accomplished. Likely, it will mean further paring down the already limited pullout to ensure that these operations can continue unfettered.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.