Edging toward the ultimatum

Big cuts expected in coalition forces

During an appearance with Rumsfeld, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari repeated Iraqi assertions that the Americans should start to leave as soon as Iraqis are ready. “The great desire of the Iraqi people is to see the coalition forces be on their way out as [Iraqi security forces] take more responsibility,” he said. But no one in the government wanted to see a surprise pullout, he added.

Are we edging toward the “get serious or get out” ultimatum? It’s starting to look that way. There’s no doubt that well trained Iraqi troops with support when needed can handle the foreign terrorists – that’s mostly a matter of taking off the gloves and getting some cooperation from their fellow Iraqis. The challenge is to make sure they are well enough prepared for the more delicate task of dealing with Baathist elements that are engaged in what might legitimately be called “rebellion”.

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