ABC News exclusive: U.S. set to abandon Anbar?

posted at 7:28 pm on November 28, 2006 by Allahpundit

They’re thinking about it.

In a recent intelligence assessment, the top Marine intelligence in al-Anbar, Col. Peter Devlin, concluded that without a massive infusement of more troops the battle in al-Anbar is unwinnable.

In the memo, first reported by the Washington Post, Devlin writes, “Despite the success of the December elections, nearly all government institutions from the village to provincial levels have disintegrated or have been thoroughly corrupted and infiltrated by al Qaeda in Iraq.”

Faced with that situation in al-Anbar, and the desperate need to control Iraq’s capital, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace is considering turning al-Anbar over to Iraqi security forces and moving U.S. troops from there into Baghdad.

“If we are not going to do a better job doing what we are doing out [in al-Anbar], what’s the point of having them out there?” said a senior military official.

Devlin’s memo is causing some buzz around the ‘sphere today, notably at INDC Journal, where Bill is getting set to embed with the Corps in Anbar assuming they’re still there come December, and at the Fourth Rail, where Bill Roggio fisks WaPo’s treatment of Devlin’s report in an attempt to show that they slanted the thing deliberately. He makes a good case, but the ABC story makes it considerably harder to believe.

CSM reported on the fitness of Iraqi troops yesterday, including those in Fallujah. They’re not ready.

Update: Meanwhile, the ten wise men and women end their second day of deliberations about troop levels deadlocked.

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“Despite the success of the December elections, nearly all government institutions from the village to provincial levels have disintegrated or have been thoroughly corrupted and infiltrated by al Qaeda in Iraq.”

You mean al Qaeda is in Iraq?

Someone alert The Queen.

JammieWearingFool on November 28, 2006 at 7:34 PM

Ho-hum. Another day, another guy in Houston looking to join the Taliban.

JammieWearingFool on November 28, 2006 at 7:46 PM

Quoted from the ABC news story:

The region is a Sunni stronghold and the main base of operations for al Qaeda in Iraq and has been a place of increasing frustration to U.S. commanders.

This is sad to me. It supports the argument that more soldiers could have made a huge difference. However, finally securing Baghdad would provide a base from which to move forward – eventually securing other parts of the country. If only…

thedecider on November 28, 2006 at 7:48 PM

Panel members mostly made no comment as they left the Woodrow Wilson Center on Tuesday afternoon. But Leon Panetta, former White House chief of staff to President Clinton, hinted at some struggles, telling reporters, “Trying, trying to find a … trying to find consensus. … It goes up and down.”

This eye-rolling quote however, is just nauseating. Gee, seems like they came to power in Washington without an exit strategy for the soldiers in Iraq. And I was sure they had all the ideas.

thedecider on November 28, 2006 at 7:53 PM

There they go again to paraphrase Ronald Reagan.

Catie96706 on November 28, 2006 at 8:07 PM

I guess Col.Devlin figures the moving US troops will give the Iraqi forces a little test drive. This will also bolster the idea of sending more troops to Iraq when his troops succeed to quell the violence in Bagdad. But he’s onlt the head of Marine intel there whats he know?

sonnyspats1 on November 28, 2006 at 8:08 PM

This story is BS as shown by another AP story conflicting with it here

7,000 Qaeda members killed or captured in two years Tue Nov 28, 11:43 AM ET

BAGHDAD (AFP) – US and Iraqi forces have killed or captured at least 7,000 Al-Qaeda fighters in the past two years, with 30 “senior leaders’ taken out of action since July.

The news comes hard on the heels of a leaked US Marine report that states US forces cannot defeat the Al-Qaeda-led insurgency in the vast western desert province of Al-Anbar.

“Since October 2004, we have now killed or captured over 7,000 Al-Qaeda terrorists,” coalition spokesman Major General William Caldwell told journalists on Tuesday.

“Coalition and Iraqi security forces have made significant progress in dismantling the terrorist network,” he said, adding that since July some 30 “senior level” Al-Qaeda have also been killed or captured.

Also, in the past two weeks, a series of raids throughout central and northern Iraq netted 11 leaders of the Al-Qaeda-allied Ansar al-Sunna insurgent group, he said.

Caldwell disputed the leaked assessment of the situation in Anbar, which was reported by the Washington Post.

“If anything, there has been a turn of events in the past few months towards the positive,” he said.

Citing a senior US intelligence official, the Post said “the fundamental questions of lack of control, growth of the insurgency and criminality” described in the August report remain true in November.

“The social and political situation has deteriorated to a point” that US and Iraqi troops “are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in Al-Anbar”, wrote the paper.

“I was just down in Fallujah last week and that’s not what we saw at all,” said Caldwell, referring to a former insurgent stronghold in the province. “It does not sound correct to me at all.”

The general maintained that political insitutions were still functioning in cities of Al-Anbar and they remained under government control.

William Amos on November 28, 2006 at 8:10 PM

I, for one am all for getting the hell out of Anwar, right after we make it a nice, smooth, parking lot!

NEMETI IN SYRACUSE on November 28, 2006 at 8:20 PM

Does anyone get the sense that al AP, al Reuters, al NBC, al ABC, al CNN, al CBS, al NYT, et al, want the United States to LOSE THIS WAR?


mountainmanbob on November 28, 2006 at 8:25 PM

…move the troops…then flatten it.

Nuke it from space. It’s the only way to be sure.

Puritan1648 on November 28, 2006 at 8:29 PM

I think what ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, AP, NY Times and the old media in general has to say is irrelevant. They have all impeached themselves years ago. If their keyboards are clicking, they are lying. It’s as simple as that

Zorro on November 28, 2006 at 8:31 PM

Hm… and to think there was an article posted here about how various MSM outlets were broadcasting inaccurate and/or deliberately untrue stories to convey a sense of doom in Iraq.

Gosh, makes one wonder…

Patrick Chester on November 28, 2006 at 8:44 PM

Send MORE troops in, finish *this* job, then move on to the next job … IRAN … then Syria … before the next theater of war becomes Europe, then Canada then America.

Tony737 on November 28, 2006 at 8:49 PM

Nuke ANWR??? i’m guessin’ that was a typo! :-)

Tony737 on November 28, 2006 at 8:51 PM

No cut and run..
Move and Flatten!

Wade on November 28, 2006 at 10:31 PM

When are all these morons going to realize that the problem isn’t troop levels, but the Rules of Engagement?

(rhetorical question, they will NEVER realize anything even remotely connected to actually winning a conflict that requires more than words)

More troops with the current rules of engagement just means more American targets without the ability to fight properly.

The only way I would support more troops in Iraq is in preparation for going into Iran and/or Syria.

The troops already there could absolutely crush any resistance that the islamists could bring; If only they were permitted to do so by the politicians.

LegendHasIt on November 28, 2006 at 11:59 PM

I would suggest that it’s both rules of engagement and troop levels. We invaded a pretty darned big country with fewer troops than we invaded tiny little Okinawa in WWII. A lot of problems could well have been eliminated by securing Iraq’s borders with Iran and Syria by we should know by now that some people have a lot of problems securing borders.

I will always believe that the best way to secure Iraq is by giving the whole place to the Kurds.

Buzzy on November 29, 2006 at 12:18 AM

Is there a practical plan we could implement whereas ABC & CBS & NBC could just broadcast any troop movements, secret plans, CIA reports and anti-terrorism programs directly to the terrorists? That way our stateside news programming would allow more time for their feature stories on Britney and Paris. This would also revitalize the terrorists as well as expediate their effort to destroy our economy and world influence. After years of such a program we could count on the networks to utilize the extra news programming time available to prepare ourselves for our fate of Sharia Law.

Isn’t there a point where ordinary constituents can employ citizen’s arrest laws? Sue for endangering our well-being?

Griz on November 29, 2006 at 12:42 AM


High 5 man

Tony737 on November 29, 2006 at 12:50 AM

The troops already there could absolutely crush any resistance that the islamists could bring; If only they were permitted to do so by the politicians.

LegendHasIt on November 28, 2006 at 11:59 PM

Respectfully, I will somewhat disagree. I believe more troops are needed to secure the borders (which are pourous and long) and defeat the insurgents (which are many). However, your argument works brilliantly if employed at the beginning of this conflict. At this point, too many insurgents have entered the country, and too many people have had time to discover weaknesses in our defenses. Now we have them calling for troops to leave Anbar Province and move to secure Baghdad. We need (at this point in time) more troops on the ground to defend the borders and defeat the insurgents at the same time throughout the country. I will, however, agree that the rules of engagement need to be altered as well. Today presents a new battle with new challenges.

thedecider on November 29, 2006 at 1:03 AM

It would take a couple of million troops to secure Iraq’s borders properly, (short of building a ‘Berlin type Wall’ around the entire nation, Then, you could do it with a reasonable number). Even with Charlie Rangel’s draft, you wouldn’t have enough to do it with mere manpower.

Much easier, cheaper and more efficient to just let them congregate and wipe them out then. We have more than enough people there to do that now if the RoE were sensible.

The only way that I’d agree with more people to guard the borders is more airpower with orders to shoot to kill anyone seen crossing the borders outside of official checkpoints.

Just like our own border, mere manpower isn’t going to do much good without being able to post enough to make a human daisychain around the whole thing. The best way to do it there, (as here), is to remove the incentive for them to come.

In Iraq, you do that by killing the bad guys and making their social, religious and material support system suffer enough that they no longer are willing to risk hiding and supplying the terrorists with their needs.

Just change the rules of engagement and you don’t have to increase the troop levels.

Maybe I’m suffering from too many years (in the old days) of being in Special Ops type units, but I have little faith in using mere numbers to accomplish the mission.

We aren’t fighting the Chinese Army (yet, anyway). Numbers don’t matter at this point in this particular conflict. Tactics and strategy do.

Given the current climate in Washington (and the world in general) even if they did even double the troop levels, it wouldn’t do any actual good, and probably even make things worse.

LegendHasIt on November 29, 2006 at 4:07 AM

You guys still aren’t getting what Devlin actually meant.

The central government doesn’t function in Anbar because the tribes run things there. It was the same under Saddam. They’re not giving it up as a lost cause, they’ve determined the tribes are now sufficiently anti-Qaeda that U.S. involvement is less necessary.

TallDave on November 29, 2006 at 12:52 PM