The strategy in Iraq has changed, from transition of security responsibility to Iraq, to direct intervention in security. Oddly, the Democrats want to return to the former strategy, which last year they claimed was ineffective. Regardless, with all the talk of the “Surge” and the domestic brouhaha we’ve been dealing with, I don’t think enough people saw this graphic from the DoD as of April 18, 2007 after security responsibility for Maysan province was transferred to Iraqi forces:
As is always the case, people claiming that the building up of Iraqi forces wasn’t working are exaggerating, and those claiming that it was working very well are also exaggerating. In the long term, the buildup and transition process is absolutely necessary, but it’s clear that the process is moving too slowly to benefit the more troubled parts of Iraq.
Still, the complete transition of responsibility of these four provinces, and the transition of lead responsibility over most of Iraq, is a tremendous accomplishment and testament to our military. The buildup of forces in Baghdad is also only possible because security forces were trained and equipped at such a prodigious pace. The “Surge” plan currently calls for 31,000 US troops and 50,000 Iraqi security forces. Those 50,000 Iraqis wouldn’t be there if not for the training and equipping emphasis in 2006.