For over a year now at NoSpeedBumps I have been saying that what needs to be done in Iraq is to move toward an internal withdrawal of US forces on to bases within Iraq. I even started a monthly countdown. Not that these guys read my blog, but it looks like this a central piece of the James Baker study group’s recommendation:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Iraq Study Group has decided to recommend the U.S. military transition from a combat to a support role in Iraq roughly over the next year, a source familiar with the panel’s deliberations said on Wednesday.
“The main thing is (the group is) calling for a transition from a combat role to a support role,” said the source, who spoke on condition that he not be named. “It’s basically a redeployment.”
The source said the idea was to shift U.S. combat forces both to bases inside Iraq as well as elsewhere in the region as the military gradually moved away from combat operations, adding that this should happen over the next year or so.
Why go this route? Here is the explanation I gave in August of this year:
From bases we can continue to help with intelligence gathering and analysis, logistics support, training, and overall advising of Iraq forces. We can also let it be known that for us to stay, Iraq needs to stay on the path toward democracy and freedom.
Of course this assumes that democracy and freedom are compatible with Iraq. But we must continue on assuming that it is and that the killings there will decline with time. What’s the alternative, just withdraw totally and hope for the best? Or pick a new dictator, a kinder gentler Saddam?
And then I added:
Of course the overriding reason for getting our troops on to bases is to get them out of harm’s way!