Retired General Speaks Out on Gradual Troop Withdrawal

Lt. Gen. Donald Rosenblum (ret.)
Lt. Gen. Donald Rosenblum (ret.)

President Bush will address the nation tonight. He's expected to announce plans to withdraw the troop surge from Iraq by next summer. On Monday, top US commander Gen. David Petraeus recommended a gradual withdrawing of the forces the president had ordered in January.

Retired Fort Stewart commander Lt. Gen. Donald Rosenblum, who knows Petraeus personally, said he has faith in him, as well as 3rd ID commander Gen. Rick Lynch and the other commanders in Iraq. He stands by General Petraeus' call to withdraw more than 20,000 troops by July.

"If Gen. Petraeus sees that," he said, "he's a very bright guy. He's a very honorable guy. I would say that's probably what needs to be done."

Rosenblum said it's important to remember the troop surge was not designed to be permanent. He said scaling back their numbers doesn't bother him as much as much as those calling for a timetable to pull out, something he thinks could repeat what happened when the US did just that in Vietnam.

"We pulled out and our South Vietnamese allies and their people who worked with us were slaughtered by hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese," said Gen. Rosenblum. "[The] same thing is going to happen in Iraq. No question in my mind, if we precipitously pull out before it's proper for us to pull out."

But with a presidential campaign in full swing, is the heat on Petraeus and other military leaders?

"The senior guys--and I was one of them a long time ago," he said, " you might feel it, but you were never really pressured by anybody to do things or say things or make decisions based on political pressure."

He said the best thing now is for leaders to listen to the commanders in the field.

"You've got to understand that they're getting the best possible advice from people, senior people, who are on the ground who know what is going on out there and they have to have faith in the military and ambassadorial leadership that was put in place over there," said Rosenblum.

Reported by: Liz Flynn,