New York Timessub rosasotto vocePlank yesterday
"I think quite simply that the United States forces here--and I find this to be very widely agreed amongst Iraqis that I know, of all ethnic and sectarian backgrounds--the United States armed forces are a very important inhibitor against violence. I know it's argued by some people that they provoke the violence. I simply don't believe that to be in the main true. I think it's a much larger truth that where American forces are present, they are inhibiting sectarian violence, and they are going after the people, particularly al-Qaeda and the Shiite death squads, who are provoking that violence. Remove them or at least remove them quickly, and it seems to me--controversial as this may seem to be saying in the present circumstances, while I know there's this agonizing debate going on in the United States about this--that you have to weigh the price. And the price would very likely be very, very high levels of violence, at least in the short run and perhaps, perhaps-perhaps for quite a considerable period of time."
"And there's no doubt that the price of staying is very, very high in American blood, to begin with, and American treasure too. But it seems to me incontrovertible that the most likely outcome of an American withdrawal any time soon would be cataclysmic violence. And I find that to be widely agreed amongst Iraqis, including Iraqis who strongly opposed the invasion."
"General Lynch feels, as do the other commanders of the surge, that they have made substantial progress. And that they`re likely to make more if they're given time. They know they don`t have beyond March of next year because March 31st, 08 is the deadline the Pentagon has set as a matter of troop limits to how long they can support the surge. But they believe that if they're given that amount of time, they can make a real difference in the levels of violence. They'll have more time to train up Iraqi forces to come in behind them and hold those areas."
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