Evan was able to call us for the first time since his return to Iraq three weeks ago. He has been very busy with an unpredictable schedule—sometimes working during the day, sometimes at night. He was surprised to find an increase in dangerous situations in his area. He has had a few close calls in past weeks, which is a little frightening to us.
A high-ranking officer addressed his group and said there had been a measurable increase in safety due to the work of the soldiers out in the streets. It was a welcome pep talk, but whether or not it is enough to rescue Iraq from chaos is something we won’t know for months. My thoughts keep returning to the numbers of troops generals like Colin Powell, Anthony Zinni, and Eric Shinseki recommended to liberate Iraq. It was several hundred thousand. I think you would be hard pressed to find any military on the ground that felt that the 170,000 troops we have can accomplish much.
The answer is difficult, and getting out of Iraq without causing WW III may not be in the will or power of the American people. I hope that when a new president and congress are elected, a more sensible path will be chosen.
We cannot abandon Iraq, but it’s foolish to expect a traditional military victory either. The only people who gain from our current half-hearted occupation of Iraq are the terrorists and military contractors.