Home>News Center>World
         
 

US leaders sound hopeful on Iraq troop cuts
(AP)
Updated: 2005-11-24 09:07

The Bush administration and military leaders are sounding optimistic notes about scaling back U.S. troops in Iraq next year, as public opposition to the war and congressional demands for withdrawal get louder.

Contingency plans for a phased withdrawal include proposals to further postpone or cancel the deployment of a Fort Riley, Kan., brigade and an option to put a combat brigade in nearby Kuwait in case it is needed, said a senior Pentagon official.

The Bush administration and military leaders are sounding optimistic notes about scaling back U.S. troops in Iraq next year, as public opposition to the war and congressional demands for withdrawal get louder.
In this picture released by the U.S. Marine Corps, and made available Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005, Albany, N.Y., native Lance Cpl. Paul J. Kolkhorst, an antitank assaultmen, left, stands ready to advance with the MarineS of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team - 2 during Steel Curtain operation, in Qaim, Iraq, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2005. [AP]

While military leaders would not confirm the size of possible withdrawals, conversations with defense officials and analysts suggest troop levels could drop below 100,000 next year, contingent on the progress of the Iraqi government and its security forces. There are currently about 155,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

The official, who asked not to be identified because plans are not final, said stresses on the National Guard and Reserves are also factors.

On Wednesday, Pentagon officials would not confirm any reduction plans. Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said there has been "very positive" development of Iraqi security forces, and he added that "we plan for every possible contingency," including a smaller coalition force.

President Bush has refused to set a withdrawal timetable, and the administration has consistently said U.S. troops will remain as long as needed. Led by Vice President Dick Cheney, the administration has strongly opposed last week's call by Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), D-Pa., for a U.S. withdrawal within six months.

Public support for the war has fallen in recent weeks, fed by events such as the 2,000th U.S. military death there and allegations of the secret imprisonment and torture of some Iraqi prisoners by the Iraqi government.

In recent days, some administration and military officials have made positive-sounding comments about a possible withdrawal.

Lt. Gen. John Vines, chief of the Multi-National Corps-Iraq, said Iraqi security forces which number about 212,000 now are making excellent progress, an oft-cited precondition for removing U.S. troops. He said 36 Iraqi battalions are responsible for their own areas of operation.
Page: 12



Ukraine marks 'orange revolution' anniversary
Merkel named first female chancellor in Germany
Anti-nuclear protesters in Germany
 
  Today's Top News     Top World News
 

Woman dies of bird flu, vaccine trials 'within days'

 

   
 

Chemical plant blast causes 'major pollution'

 

   
 

Beauty queen sparks ugly debate

 

   
 

Russian lawmakers may restrict groups

 

   
 

30% say OK to sex before marriage

 

   
 

Olympic mascot copyright protected

 

   
  Rice says conditions for US troop reduction in Iraq 'fairly soon'
   
  Iraq insurgents kill senior Sunni leader
   
  US, partners end North Korea nuke project
   
  South Korea urges Japan to face up to history amid shrine row
   
  Germany's Merkel signals continuity with Paris trip
   
  Iran president confirms retaliation if sent to UN
   
 
  Go to Another Section  
 
 
  Story Tools  
   
  News Talk  
  Are the Republicans exploiting the memory of 9/11?  
Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.
Advertisement