The U.S. military turned over security responsibilities to Iraqi authorities in the mainly Shiite province of Karbala, Iraqi army soldiers rejoice. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Here's something General David Petraeus probably doesn't want to talk about when he delivers his Iraq progress report to Congress next week: More than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and police refused to fight during the battle against Shiite militias in Basra last week. One senior U.S. military official puts it this way: "They put down their arms, walked away, deserted, whatever you want to call it."
Remember how President Bush said when the Iraqis stand up, the United States can stand down? But what do we do if they just run away? The New York Times reports that the deserters included dozens of officers, including at least two senior field commanders.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki responded by quickly funneling 10,000 recruits from local Shiite tribes into the army. That made Sunni tribe members angry because the government has been less eager to recruit them. And of course it turns out U.S. forces were more involved in Basra than originally thought, with 550 U.S. troops backing up the shaky Iraqi operation.
All this comes as the latest National Intelligence Estimate paints a far more positive picture about progress in Iraq. Congressional sources say the NIE suggests the president's "surge" strategy is working. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a warning to General Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker not to quote "put a shine on recent events" in Iraq when they testify next week.
Here’s my question to you: What’s the U.S. future in Iraq if more than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers refused to fight in Basra last week?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Ralph from New York writes:
Jack, It is plain to see that Iraq wants us to do all the fighting and dying for them. If their troops will not fight for their own country after all the help we give them, the people do not want stability under their own elected leaders. Either we are supported in our fight against the insurgents and terrorists wherever they may be, or our troops should be home and the money spent on this fighting should be used for the needs of our own country.
Sunae from Jacksonville, Fla. writes:
Iraq has no future. We need to pull our troops out and bring them home. Iraq needs to figure out the rest for themselves. If they want a civil war, then let them have at it. We have more important issues here at home to deal with. Iraq has done nothing but cost us trillions of dollars. I never thought in my lifetime that I would see this country be in debt to China. Unreal.
Mark from Kalamazoo, Michigan writes:
We need more of our soldiers over there, Jack. We can't afford to have the Middle East fall one by one into the hands of anti-American extremists. So let's bring back the draft, send over some more troops, support the puppet government that we installed, and . . . Wait, didn't we try this once before in the '60s? Hmmmm.
F. from Las Vegas writes:
We can train their Army, but we cannot insert a backbone where there is no room for one. The same goes for the corrupt government we support there. Where is all the oil money that was supposed to pay for this ill-advised and miserably handled war? We need to get the hell out.
Dave from Ontario writes:
Jack, The only soldiers in Iraq who are fighting for the nation are the U.S. forces. Iraqis love their families and their faith over all else, and are willing to spill blood for those values. Fighting for a democratic nation as a 'higher calling' does not resonate anywhere in the Mideast, perhaps other than Israel.
All McCain and Bush have to do is give every American a pair of those rose-colored glasses they keep looking through and everything will be just fine in Iraq. Mission accomplished.