“Any time you have a brand new administration, it has to find its balance,” he said. “The lesson that comes out of this is, governing is far different than campaigning. … If you’re the one sitting in the chair in the Oval Office, it’s a lot tougher than looking in from the outside.”
Much of the violence in Iraq is occurring in northeastern Baghdad, where hostile acts have occurred about once every other day.
On Monday, police officers reportedly were killed trying to defuse bombs, one under a car and another under a bridge. In anticipation of more violence, the Iraqi government has banned motorcycles in Baghdad and has increased ID checks and checkpoint security.
Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, also has expressed concern about the recent bombings, but said the average is about 10 to 15 a day, compared with 160 in June 2007.
The United States has about 130,000 military troops in Iraq, who will now be stationed outside major cities to train Iraqi police and provide protection for remaining allied forces. The Pentagon wants to reduce the number to 50,000 by the end of next summer and have all U.S. forces out of the country by the end of 2011.
Iraqi Gen. Abud Kambar al-Malliki warned militias earlier this month that his forces are ready to fight “if you attack our citizens.”
Gen. Odierno said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Iraqi forces are ready.
“They’ve been working toward this for a long time,” he said, “and security remains good. We’ve seen constant improvement in the security force; we’ve seen constant improvement in governance. And I believe this is the time for us to move out of the cities and for them to take ultimate responsibility.”
• Jon Ward contributed to this article.
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