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Dempsey: Violence in Iraq does not detract from troops' successes

Jun. 19, 2014 - 12:42PM   |  
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey is assuring troops who served in Iraq that the rapid deterioration of security there does not reflect on their service and sacrifice.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey is assuring troops who served in Iraq that the rapid deterioration of security there does not reflect on their service and sacrifice. (Army)
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The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is assuring troops who served in Iraq that the rapid deterioration of security there does not reflect on their service and sacrifice.

“I'm proud of what we, along with our Iraqi and coalition partners, accomplished,” Army Gen. Martin Dempsey said in a Facebook message to currently serving troops and veterans. “We provided the Iraqi people an historic opportunity for a better future. Nothing will diminish that accomplishment.”

Dempsey commanded the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad from June 2003 to August 2004. He went on to serve as head of the effort to train Iraqi security forces from August 2005 until August 2007.

During his time in Iraq, Dempsey “lost many good soldiers,” he wrote in the Facebook message.

“Like many of you, I was disappointed at how quickly the situation in Iraq deteriorated as well as the rapid collapse of many Iraqi units,” he wrote, referring to events in northern Iraq, where thousands of Iraqi troops and police have been routed by a vastly smaller number of Sunni insurgents.

The violence convulsing Iraq is part of tectonic shifts in the Middle East and comes as a result of “poor political choices by Iraq’s political leaders” that have stoked longstanding sectarian tensions within Iraq, he wrote.

“The path forward will not be easy,” Dempsey wrote. “And, as always, we in the military are preparing options for the president to consider in addressing the emerging threats there.”

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