Everyday, we get a little closer to the objective.
NAJAF, Iraq, Sept. 6 -- The U.S. military pulled hundreds of troops out of the southern city of Najaf on Tuesday, transferring security duties to Iraqi forces and sticking to a schedule that the United States hopes will allow the withdrawal of tens of thousands of its forces by early spring. [SNIP]The Iraqis themselves are of two minds about it.
The handover ceremony in Najaf marked the first transfer of an entire city from U.S. to Iraqi military responsibility this year. The raising of the Iraqi flag at a former U.S. base was "pretty much putting the city of Najaf in Iraqi control," Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, spokesman for the U.S. military, said in Baghdad.
U.S. forces will continue to support Iraqi troops in an advisory role and with logistics, Boylan said.
"It is a happy event for Iraqis when we take care of our affairs, not the occupier," said Mustafa Hamdani, 19, a university student. "But we want them to continue [to] train our soldiers."I'd call diversity of opinion a good sign.
Others, however, expressed concern.
"It's true we would prefer not to have U.S forces in the city -- but we need them," said boutique owner Aqil Farhan, 25. "The Iraqi forces are not capable of maintaining security yet."
Here’s to the Iraqi Defense Forces. Fight for your right to be free of terrorists and know that some of us—dare I say most of us--are rooting for you.