In an interview on “Fox News Sunday” earlier today, top US commander in Iraq General Ray Odierno announced that US combat forces had already left all of Iraq’s cities and were, in his estimation, already compliant with the requirement to be out of the nation’s cities by Tuesday.
The troops didn’t go very far, however, and are holding positions along the outskirts of the city limits as part of a strategy to “encircle” them.
The general claimed the timing was right and that Iraqi security forces were ready to take over responsibility for the cities’ security, despite growing concerns at the massive number of bombings in those cities in recent days.
Odierno tried to deflect those concerns, claiming that the killing of hundreds of people in anti-Shi’ite attacks in recent weeks was “counterproductive” for the insurgents and would end up doing damage to their credibility. He was just the latest in a long string of officials, including President Obama, who have tried to disconnect the massive death toll from their estimations of the nation’s security situation.
The Iraqi government seems quite optimistic as well, with Defense Minister Abdel-Qadir Obaidi going on state television today to dare the militants to launch attacks against any police station in the nation. A bomb exploded in a police garage in western Baghdad, injuring at least seven.