Major General Caldwell On Iraq

From DefenseLink

Let’s put the bad news up front: Extremist elements in Iraq are vying for political and economic power and are seeking to take advantage of this delicate stage of transition in Iraq’s history. Sunni and Shia extremists are using brutal and provocative tactics against one another. Baghdad is the center of gravity for this increasingly sectarian conflict. The conflict is complex: There are also foreign terrorists infiltrating the borders, renegade death squads, an insurgency, and foreign governments who seek to exert influence on Iraqi politics.

This, however, is only part of Iraq’s present story. The violence belies the gradual but remarkable transformation this nation is experiencing. Focusing on just violence would miss telling the bigger story of how — despite it —Iraqis have made enormous steps toward self-sufficiency in both the security and political realm.

Three years ago, there were virtually no security forces in Iraq. Today – Iraqis are standing up military and police forces that number over 300,000. In coming months, the Coalition and the Iraqi government will reach the goal of 325,000 trained and equipped force members.

Indubitably, read the rest.

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