U.S. Considers Increasing Pace of Iraq Pullout
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is considering the withdrawal of additional combat forces from Iraq beginning in September, according to administration and military officials, raising the prospect of a far more ambitious plan than expected only months ago.
Such a withdrawal would be a striking reversal from the nadir of the war in 2006 and 2007.
One factor in the consideration is the pressing need for additional American troops in Afghanistan, where the Taliban and other fighters have intensified their insurgency and inflicted a growing number of casualties on Afghans and American-led forces there.
More American and allied troops died in Afghanistan than in Iraq in May and June, a trend that has continued this month.
Although no decision has been made, by the time President Bush leaves office on Jan. 20, at least one and as many as 3 of the 15 combat brigades now in Iraq could be withdrawn or at least scheduled for withdrawal, the officials said.
The desire to move more quickly reflects the view of many in the Pentagon who want to ease the strain on the military but also to free more troops for Afghanistan and potentially other missions.
The most optimistic course of events would still leave 120,000 to 130,000 American troops in Iraq, down from the peak of 170,000 late last year after Mr. Bush ordered what became known as the “surge” of additional forces. Any troop reductions announced in the heat of the presidential election could blur the sharp differences between the candidates, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, over how long to stay in Iraq. But the political benefit might go more to Mr. McCain than Mr. Obama. Mr. McCain is an avid supporter of the current strategy in Iraq. Any reduction would indicate that that strategy has worked and could defuse antiwar sentiment among voters.
Even as the two candidates argue over the wisdom of the war and keeping American troops there, security in Iraq has improved vastly, as has the confidence of Iraq’s government and military and police, raising the prospect of additional reductions that were barely conceivable a year ago. While officials caution that the relative calm is fragile, violence and attacks on American-led forces have dropped to the lowest levels since early 2004.
Honestly, this (dis)information is coming from the New York Times. Think about that. For a while, independent analysts have been expecting an Iraqi "withdrawal" deployment to Afghanistan where American forces could execute a pincer movement against Iran using air and ground forces. All the while, Fox News will be telling the American public that we are pulling out of Iraq.
- Function: noun
- Date: 19381 : a military attack by two coordinated forces that close in on an enemy position from different directions
2 : a combination of two forces acting against an opposing force
What the New York Times failed to mention in this article is that Blackwater has 150,000 mercenaries deployed in Iraq that they aren't even counting as "American forces."
What it also failed to mention is that the relative calm in Iraq has been created by an Iraq-Iran cooperative agreement to decrease anti-American hostilities among the Shiite forces over which both have influence. And with this calm has come both the appearance of increasing competence of Iraqi forces and demands by Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki for the withdrawal of American forces.
Of course General David Petraeus knows very well the conditions on the ground and perhaps he's decided to coordinate a ruse of his own involving Afghanistan.
But then, George Bush and Richard Cheney wouldn't lie to you would they?