'We are very close to success In Iraq'

'We are very close to success In Iraq'
FORT LEWIS, Wash. -- The recent news of more soldier deaths in Afghanistan hit hard with the top general at Fort Lewis. Lt. General Charles Jacoby is the No. 2 commander in all of Iraq, but the news out of Afghanistan hit him personally.

Lt. Gen. Jacoby is back from six months in the battle zone for a couple of weeks of rest and relaxation before heading back to Iraq. But he took a few moments to sit down and talk about the progress in Iraq and the challenges of Afghanistan.

"I think the Iraqi people are sick of the violence and they have turned their back on sectarian responses to violence," Jacoby said.

As the No. 2 commander in Iraq he sees it all. He took a thousand members of the 1st Corps command group from Ft. Lewis and they now oversee the combat and handing off responsibilities to Iraqi troops and police.

"So I think the partnership that 1st Corps has established and the example that we've set of our relationships with security forces is ground-breaking," he said.

He says the real test will come as they get closer to provincial elections in mid-January when they expect violence to escalate.

While here, Gen. Jacoby also paid his respects to the fallen soldiers of the 5th Stryker Brigade killed in Afghanistan.

"It is dangerous business and we've been heart-broken by the news of some of the casualties that they've taken," he said.

He said there's no truth to rumors that the Ft. Lewis 3rd and 4th Stryker Brigades could shift from Iraq to Afghanistan.

"No rumors of that," he said. "And I should be the first to know. So I'm glad I have the chance to say publicly that I have not heard any of that."

He says right now the mission of all 130,000 troops in Iraq is too important to leave.

"We are very close to success in Iraq," he said. "So now it's a question of having the will and the determination to finish the task."

In a short time, Gen. Jacoby will head back to be the second in command in Iraq through next March, when he and the First Corps can finally come home.