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Iraqi "Majority" Supports Attack on US
McCaffrey Says Success, Stability, Security Still Possible
By CHRISTINA DAVIDSON 03/28/2007 5:10 PM ET
Gen. Barry McCaffrey (USA Ret.) speaking on Meet the Press in June 2006.
Alex Wong/Getty
Gen. Barry McCaffrey (USA Ret.) speaking on Meet the Press in June 2006.

“The majority of the Iraqi population support armed attacks on American forces," writes Gen. Barry McCaffrey (USA Ret.) in a memo to colleagues at the U.S. Military Academy, where he is an adjunct professor of international affairs.

McCaffrey recently returned from a trip to Iraq, and has written a lengthy analysis (attached) of what he found there based on his conversations with the 65 "sources" listed in the letter.

Overall, McCaffrey outlines a very bleak view of the situation in Iraq, writing that "the US Armed Forces are in a position of strategic peril." Contrary to the view expressed yesterday by new U.S. CENTCOM head Adm. William Fallon, McCaffrey says Iraqi is in the midst of a "low-grade civil war."

Further, McCaffrey directly contradicts the public perception the US military has carefully cultivated of those who would attack US interests in Iraq by acknowledging that the insurgency receives the bulk of its manpower and financing from domestic sources, and that the majority of the population supports attacks on US forces.

"In total, enemy insurgents or armed sectarian militias (SCIRI, JAM, Pesh Merga, AQI, 1920’s Brigade, et. al.) probably exceed 100,000 armed fighters. These non-government armed bands are in some ways more capable of independent operations than the regularly constituted ISF. They do not depend fundamentally on foreign support for their operations. Most of their money, explosives, and leadership are generated inside Iraq."

Despite the bleak outlook, McCaffrey expressed confidence in the leadership of Gen. David Petraeus, Lieut Gen. Ray Odierno, and Amb. Ryan Crocker, and optimism in their capacities for improving the situation:

"In my judgment, we can still achieve our objective of: a stable Iraq, at peace with its neighbors, not producing weapons of mass destruction, and fully committed to a law-based government. The courage and strength of the US Armed Forces still gives us latitude and time to build the economic and political conditions that might defuse the ongoing civil war."

This brief summary only offers a glimpse of Gen. McCaffrey's assessment, though the memo deserves a complete reading. McCaffreyIraq.pdf

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