Top US commander in Iraq General Ray Odierno today rejected the Reese Memo calling for US troops to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible, saying that the war is going so swimmingly six years in that Americans need to “stay the course.”
“Overall, its gone very, very well,” Gen. Odierno declared, echoing the sentiments of other officials that the current war, despite the rising violence over the past several months, is well on track. However, he insisted “our goal here given us by the president is a secure, stable sovereign self-reliant Iraq. We’re not there yet.” He also cautioned that the growing tensions between Kurds and Arabs made the gains officials are constantly talking about “fragile.”
Col. Timothy Reese, the senior military adviser, issued the memo late last month urging the US to dramatically speed up its pullout from Iraq, saying that keeping the 132,000 troops there “isn’t yielding benefits commensurate with the effort and is now generating its own opposition.”
Col. Reese’s memo is the first high profile indication in years that there was any dissent within the military from the Bush and later Obama Administration’s insistences that the war needs to be continually extended despite constant assurances that it is going well. Ultimately, however, Col. Reese’s comments seem to have been given little public credence among other officials.