Col. Timothy Reese, Chief, Baghdad Operations Command Advisory Team, Multi-National Division-Baghdad (MND-B), wrote this memo early last month, about the current situation in Iraq:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/31/world/middleeast/31advtext.html?_r=1

In this memo (which was apparently not for public consumption, and has been dismissed as opinion by General Odierno’s staff), he has some interesting and pointed remarks about the current state of the Iraqi government. His thesis is that we should accelerate plans to withdraw US forces, well ahead of the current December 2011 deadline, since Iraqi forces are a) capable of handling the current counter-insurgency fight and b) increasingly uncooperative with US forces, making our presence counterproductive.

My favorite quote:

 The GOI and ISF will continue to squeeze the US for all the “goodies” that we can provide between now and December 2011, while eliminating our role in providing security and resisting our efforts to change the institutional problems prevent the ISF from getting better. They will tolerate us as long as they can suckle at Uncle Sam’s bounteous mammary glands.

Mammary glands!

Not sure what to think about his comments – the colonel makes a compelling argument, but his assessment could also be viewed as overly pessimistic and a total withdrawal in the next twelve months might be too hasty. But it’s a thought-provoking commentary, nonetheless.