Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, speaking to local and Savannah news media Thursday, said “We are most concerned in Iraq about getting the word out back here at home that we are succeeding.”
Lynch is frequently critical of the national news media, saying people tend to receive only news of U.S. casualties or setbacks in Iraq, not reporting of successes.
Lynch, commander of the Third Infantry Division and Multi National Division-South, is in the United States for two weeks of rest that all deployed soldiers receive. He has been visiting wounded soldiers at various locations and Thursday attended Warriors Walk and Purple Heart award ceremonies at Fort Stewart.
In a brief description of the situation in his area of responsibility in Iraq, Lynch said the enemy is more aggressive now, “because he’s on the run, he’s on the ropes.”
“The enemy is more lethal now,” Lynch said, “because he is in the final throes. We are taking the terrain and the initiative away from the enemy.”
The general said he was afraid we are a nation with a short-term memory and twice quoted an Al Qaida chief who said we are using Iraq as a place to train terrorists to attack the United States.
Asked if the American people would support a long war in Iraq, Lynch said, “If they are informed properly, they will be supportive.”
In reply to a question, about supporting U.S. soldiers, but not supporting the war, Lynch said, “That’s silly.”
He said one reason he is “absolutely convinced” of eventual success is that the Iraqi population has decided, “Enough is enough.”
Lynch described an 80-year-old man defending his neighborhood against terrorists with a knife.
As commander of Task Force Marne, Lynch commands brigades from divisions besides the Third, and he noted the “Marne Sentry” operation now beginning will bring him another brigade — one with an ironic name: Georgians.
The former Soviet Union Republic of Georgia, now an independent nation, is furnishing 2,000 soldiers for Task Force Marne.
The general said he works with brigades of the Iraqi Army which are “as good as can be expected . . .”
However, he said some Iraqi police units are still corrupt, incompetent or making sectarian decisions.