Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), a senior member of the Armed Services Committee and former Army Ranger, just returned from his 11th trip to Iraq. Speaking to reporters today about his trip, Reed rebutted conservatives’ assertions of success in Iraq:
First, the surge has not achieved the president’s principal stated objectives, which are political in nature. [...]
The question’s usually posed, Well, has the surge worked? Well, it’s worked much in the way a tourniquet has worked: It stopped the bleeding. But the very delicate political surgery needed to repair the deep wounds in this country and initiate a long-term process of healing and stability has not taken place, and that is the critical issue that I think we face today.
Also, the security gains, which are demonstrable, can be reversed.
Reed also added that he spoke to U.S. troops who were experiencing “fatigue,” adding that “you can’t have a conversation without people noting the wear and tear that’s taking on the forces, on their families. That’s a cumulative phenomenon and it’s getting worse.” His comments mirror those of Army Chief of Staff George Casey, who recently stated that the “surge has sucked all of the flexibility out of the system.”
Additionally, Reed stressed that the bleeding may start again, noting that radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s “six-months self-imposed suspension of offensive operations is coming to an end.” His caution undermined claims by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John McCain (R-AZ), who have prematurely declared success in the war.
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