August 4th, 2009
01:33 PM ET
5 years ago

Top U.S. commander in Iraq disagrees with early pull-out memo

The senior U.S. commander in Iraq Tuesday rejected a memo by a subordinate who argued for U.S. troops to withdrawal earlier then planned.
The senior U.S. commander in Iraq Tuesday rejected a memo by a subordinate who argued for U.S. troops to withdrawal earlier then planned.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The senior U.S. commander in Iraq Tuesday rejected a memo by a subordinate who argued for U.S. troops to withdrawal earlier than planned, the commander's spokeswoman said.

Gen. Raymond Odierno is the first senior U.S. military or civilian official to address the "Reese memo" since it went public last month, according to his spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Josslyn Aberle.

The memo said the withdrawal of U.S. troops should be accelerated because Iraqi forces will not get any better and are good enough to protect the government against attacks.

Aberle confirmed comments Odierno made in an interview with The Associated Press in Iraq on Tuesday.

"Our goal here given to us by the president is a secure, stable, sovereign, self-reliant Iraq. We're not there yet," Odierno told the AP.


Although Odierno thinks there are still problems with the Iraqi security forces, he believes the handover of the streets to Iraqi troops at the end of June is going well, Aberle said.

Army Col. Timothy Reese, a U.S. military advisor to Iraqi forces in Baghdad, submitted his memo to Odierno's command and it was leaked out.

In it he said the process of training Iraqi troops has reached a saturation point and, although he listed a host of problems, he said they are
good enough to protect the Iraqi government.

He proposed that the United States complete its pullout as of August 2010. Under the Obama administration's timetable, by that date U.S. troops in Iraq will be down to a stability force of between 35,000 to 50,000.

Reese's exit date would be 16 months before the president's mandate of all troops being out by the end of 2011.

Odierno said there is more work to be done in Iraq.

"We want to continue to build the institutional capacity of Iraq to move it towards a stable country and we want to make them a long-term partner that would help us to, in my mind, help overall with the security situation in the Middle East," he told the AP.

Odierno said the United States has to make sure that the national parliamentary elections scheduled for January are seen as legitimate and
credible.

He has also warned the security gains are fragile and the top threat to the stability in Iraq is the tension between Iraqis and Kurds in the north.

Last week, Odierno told reporters in Baghdad he had urged Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to work with the Kurdish Regional Government to work out differences in oil revenue sharing and to settle border disputes, two major sticking points between the two groups.


Filed under: Iraq
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    So what. People disagree with lots of things and he's a soldier. That means that, even though he disagrees with it, he'll still do it. Soldiers are taught to obey, not to have minds of their own.

    August 4, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. Ruty

    It is time to get out.If the Iraquis cant do it alone –too bad. We have given too many Americans lives to the immaturity of this country. They have said they want us OUT. Can' t you understand english?

    August 4, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    The war in Afghanistan should be the military's top priority.

    August 4, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. ME

    I just read the title of this article and am trying to think of a good "THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID JOKE".......

    August 4, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. Peoples Voice

    Who cares what you think, General? Get our young men and women out of there and let the Iraqis fend for themselves.

    If they are stupid enough to blow each other up, then let them die. But, stop killing our people.

    August 4, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. cats

    After six years, it's a little late to be calling ANTYHING in Iraq an early withdrawl.

    August 4, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. Larry

    "good enough to protect the Iraqi government'?

    What did they do before we got there?

    Time to bring the troops home and quit wasting lives and money on that useless war.

    August 4, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Spell Checker

    "Earlier then planned" ? Does anyone spell check anymore?

    August 4, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. mark

    There's your Army of one, Semper Fi!

    August 4, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. Paul

    The title of this article is deceiving. It is nearly opposite the meaning of the content. There should be a law and harsh punishment for blatent public deception. You are part of the problems we face.

    August 4, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. LacrosseMom

    Gen. Odierno, sadly, you will never see a "secure, stable....... Iraq"! And sir, Iraq WAS a SOVEREIGN NATION BEFORE WE INVADED TO TAKE THEIR OIL!

    BRING THE TROOPS HOME!

    August 4, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. Bpin

    Reese is right. Iraq depends on US military support much like a poor man depends on welfare. Why should Iraq put their own police in danger when the US is there? They never will. It was a failed involbement to begin with and still is. Afgan. is no different, and we need to get out. These religous wars have been going on for centuries and they will be going on for centuries after all of us are gone.

    August 4, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. George

    No one cares as long as it's done right. George Bush and his arrogance is what got us there in the first place. Let's show daddy
    up. No wonder our ecomomy worsened!!!! Stupidity and arrogance of
    George Bush!!!

    August 4, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. Kevin in Ohio

    "Good enough" seems to be what satisfies the left-wing idiots. Thankfully, "good enough" is rejected by those in the know.

    August 4, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. Trade Freedom for Security, Lose Both

    Bring the troops home. We don't need any more of our soldiers dying in vain. Get them out of Afghanistan, too.

    August 4, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. Nevada Joe

    After 31 years in the Army....I have NEVER known or heard of a General Officer who wanted to get out of a war zone early....I have heard many say..."This is where the promotions are at"..."Or this is the only war we have"... Like in the case of Vietnam.

    Lets see if CNN will post this???

    August 4, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  17. notfooledtx

    Tim Reese is a wingnut blogger that should never have earned a front page story. Check out his background – he's a stoolie for the right, not an objective commenter.

    August 4, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. George

    "The senior U.S. commander in Iraq Tuesday rejected a memo by a subordinate who argued for U.S. troops to withdrawal earlier THEN planned"

    Some people say then, smart people say than.

    August 4, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. Sick -n- Tired

    Good thing Bush declared "mission accomplished" and that "all major conflict in Iraq is over" so long ago! Huh, Republican sheep? Refute those facts! Go ahead, or better yet, try and tell us all how that never happened or that this is somehow related to the Obama administration or Obama himself. Go ahead, we know you want to! Seem's as though you mindless sheep or (lamb's of God as the "good book" says) never pass up a chance to bleat out some form of retarded arguement! Let's hear it.

    August 4, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  20. Enlightened Voter

    Hey people think of all those soldiers that would still be alive if bush and the republicans hadn't lied to us about IRaq.

    August 4, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  21. James, Ho. TX

    Pull OUT !!! Bring the Troops home, NOW !!!
    We, the U.S. never needed to be in Iraq .
    This was and continues to be a Politican's Invasion .
    This nonsense has cost over 5000 G.I.(Kids) lives. WHY ?
    Even G.W. and Cheney along with Karl Rove have gone to Pasture, with their pockets full .

    August 4, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. Fred in Houston

    Not a very well edited article.

    August 4, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  23. ge

    when ever america leaves what ever they did will be undone what about cheneys multi billion dollar embassy is it a ware-house now

    August 4, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. dominican mama 4 Obama

    I can't think of one person that would agree with an "...early pull out".

    Can we do something about these headlines? Please?!

    August 4, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. Hotdog

    Fine, let him stay there and fight by him self. This is a winless war and it is a waste of lives and tax dollars.

    August 4, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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