"Still a dangerous place to be"
A U.S. army soldier checks his list as he stands in front of a military vehicle ready to be shipped out of Iraq
November 17th, 2011
05:01 PM ET

"Still a dangerous place to be"

By Senior National Security Producer Charley Keyes

The war in Iraq may be out of the headlines as U.S. forces head for the exits, but they are still in the fight and facing a deadly toll, said the commander overseeing the withdrawal.

"Unfortunately, we did lose a soldier (on Monday)," Maj. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux said Thursday. "This is still a dangerous place to be."

The Pentagon had announced earlier that 23-year old Army Spc. David Hickman of Greensboro, North Carolina, was killed by an improvised explosive device Monday.

"The security situation is still, obviously, still demanding," Champoux said in a video briefing from Iraq with reporters at the Pentagon. He commands U.S. Division-Center and the 25th Infantry Division in support of U.S. Forces-Iraq, overseeing the withdrawal of American troops by December 31.

About 24,000 personnel remain in Iraq, but Champoux predicted that thanks to "a deliberate, thoughtful and synchronized plan," most of them will be out well before Christmas.

In addition to roadside bombs, some U.S. bases are still taking fire. Champoux said that insurgents, including some under the influence of Iran, remain a threat to American military and Iraqi security forces, despite improvements in Iraqi capabilities.

"Unfortunately, there are still extremist groups, some of them are Iranian-backed militias," Champoux said. "There are other violent extremist organizations that are operating inside Iraq" that will continue to challenge U.S. forces.

Champoux predicted that Iraqis will still need assistance standing up to threats coming from outside the country.

"I think there still is an opportunity to build their capability to address external threats," the general said. "I think that is a potential role for us in the future, to build that capability."

The Obama administration announced all troops would be leaving after talks with Iraq broke down over keeping thousands of U.S. forces beyond the end-of-year deadline. At issue was immunity for the remaining troops who could have been used both for training and security.

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Filed under: Iraq • Military • Operation New Dawn
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. justin

    Dangerous Iraq? damn so much for the vaction i was planning with my wife & kids.

    November 18, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  2. jerry

    when we pulled out of vietnam the NVA an VC murdered hundreds of thousands..men, women, and children. When will we learn? This is horrible and a win for our enemies who would enslave us if they could and if BO had his way they would.

    November 18, 2011 at 10:54 am | Reply
  3. AlaskaPalin

    Why fight war if we are not going to take spoils. Case in point iraq- oil rich and we speak about not financing the war. If we had brought up the pumping capacity to 6 million barrels per day- war would have been paid for; price of oil would have fallen then we leave. Instead we go in, we fight and the chinese gets the profit.

    November 18, 2011 at 10:01 am | Reply
    • justin

      yeah i guess when Bush invaded Iraq to steal its oil it was all for nothing. Ive seen your posts before you GOP scum.

      November 18, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  4. Mr.Squish

    I would like to know the awnser to that question too.

    November 17, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  5. Mike

    Now are those vehicles heading to Mogadishu along with our Ft. Bragg soldiers next month, or will they take their own???

    November 17, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Reply

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