Steven E. Yorgason claims al-Qaida has gotten stronger in Iraq because it is recruiting Iraqis in response to the American presence (Readers' Forum, June 3). This is not what has occurred.
While serving in Iraq in 2006 and attending weekly update briefings given to the Iraqi minister of defense, I learned that most of the Iraqi al-Qaida had been reduced or eliminated. Reports were given every week of Iranian al-Qaida crossing the border with explosives and weapons to pose as Iraqi al-Qaida. The bulk of the terrorism the last three years has been by Iranians.In addition, when I arrived in Iraq at the beginning of 2006, all of Iraq was under coalition protection. Now 60 percent of Iraq is protected by the Iraqi military.