Monday, August 10, 2009

The Reese Memo

While it probably hasn't had as great an impact in the U.S. as it has here, a leaked memo from Col. Timothy Reese (Chief of the Baghdad Operations Command Advisory Team) has been the source of a lot of water cooler talk over here, from the top brass down to the average Joes in the dining facility.

Essentially, the memo says it's time to get out of here, as fast as possible, as U.S. forces have come past the point of diminishing returns in terms of what they can accomplish setting up a stable government and ensuring that it has a good shot at remaining stable. Reese strongly criticizes the Iraqi government and their security forces for what he sees as major failures at every level of organization. It's a blistering few pages, and surprisingly readable for a military memo.

In case you're wondering what the consensus is here about whether Reese is right, most soldiers I've talked to feel strongly that he is, although the more politically-minded among them concede that it probably wasn't the smartest thing for him to let slip to the whole world, given the increasingly strained relationship between the governments in Washington and Baghdad.

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