596 people are talking about this
So the letter was "genuine," but sent out by mistake, according to both Esper and now Milley.
383 people are talking about this
Looks like somebody has some explaining to do.....
Update (4:05pmET): Despite the fact that news outlets have circulated a photo of the memo and cited several sources testifying to its accuracy, Defense Secretary Esper told reporters Monday afternoon that the memo was "not accurate" and that "there's been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq...we've issued no plans to leave."
2,381 people are talking about this
310 people are talking about this
164 people are talking about this
Reporters from CBS and other outlets quickly confirmed McClatchy reporter Tara Copp's reporting (Esper apparently made the statement during a press gaggle Monday afternoon). Others reported that Esper denied an NYT report claiming that assassinating Suleimani was intended as a "throwaway option" when it was presented to President Trump.
"We didn't put any option on the table that we didn't believe," Esper said.
273 people are talking about this
28 people are talking about this
To sum up: The Pentagon is now denying a letter penned by a brigadier general, which sounds like one hand doesn't know what the other is doing.
* * *
As it turns out, President Trump's decision to kill Iranian General and revolutionary icon Qasem Suleimani - an attack that millions of Trump's critics warned could start WWIII - might have given the US exactly the cover it needs to pull out of Iraq, once and for all.
In a letter from Marine Corps Brig. Gen. William H. Seely III, obtained by AFP whose authenticity has since been confirmed by both US and Iraqi defense officials, the US Army informed Iraq that it is "preparing for onward movement" out of respect for Iraq's "sovereign decision to order our departure." Troops will be re-positioned within the country as they prepare for withdrawal.
NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST
ZEROHEDGE DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX
Receive a daily recap featuring a curated list of must-read stories.
Full letter text below:
Yesterday, Iraqi lawmakers voted to expel foreign troops from the country during an emergency parliamentary session. Interim Iraqi prime minister, Adil Abdul Mahdi, stressed during the session, that while the US government notified the Iraqi military of the planned strike on Soleimani, his government denied Washington permission to continue with the operation.
In a meeting Monday, Mahdi, a caretaker prime minister who said in November he would resign, told US Ambassador Matthew H. Tueller that the US and Iraq needed to cooperate "to implement the withdrawal of foreign forces in accordance with the decision of the Iraqi parliament," according to a statement from the PM's office that was cited by the Washington Post.
Though the Iraq war 'officially' ended in 2011, thousands of coalition troops stuck around. Their numbers increased following the rise of ISIS in the region.
Ending the US troop presence in Iraq has been a longtime goal of non-interventionists like Ron Paul and his son, Rand.
That said, even without troops in Iraq, the US will still have plenty of capacity to bully Iran, and other other regional powers.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley and CIA director Gina Haspel are expected to brief the lawmakers on the situation early this week. For some unexplained reason, members of the Dem-controlled House will also attend a separate briefing (probably to go over all the possible ways that Trump's decision to kill General Suleimani could lead to the start of WWIII).
Of course, Trump has gone back on promises to pull troops before (remember Syria?), and, as we noted just moments earlier, other reports claim thousands of Marines are headed toward Iraq as we speak. In any event, over the past few years, Trump has become an expert at managing public opinion - after all he singlehandedly tweeted the market to new all time highs - and it's possible that this is simply more rhetoric. On the other hand, if the troops really do come home, it would beg the question: Was Trump playing 5-D chess after all?
We need the youth of Iraq to continue to rise up bring to the Parliament a person that speaks for the people of Iraq and not the "government" someone that speaks for them. DV we're at a major turning point