Petreaus to ask for 6 Months Before Troop Decisions are Made

Rick Moran
General Petreaus is expected to ask Congress for 6 months before deliberations on troop withdrawals begin:

 

General Petraeus, whose long-awaited testimony before Congress will begin Monday, has informed President Bush that troop cuts may begin in mid-December, with the withdrawal of one of the 20 American combat brigades in Iraq, about 4,000 troops.

By August, the American force in Iraq would be down to 15 combat brigades, the force level before Mr. Bush’s troop reinforcement plan. The precise timing of such reductions, which would leave about 130,000 troops in Iraq, could vary, depending on conditions in the country.

But the general has also said that it is too soon to present recommendations on reducing American forces below that level because the situation in Iraq is in flux. He has suggested that he wait until March to outline proposals on that question.
There are a half dozen options being floated around Congress and the Pentagon for the drawdown of troops but Petreaus is saying he needs the overwhelming majority of his force through March of next year.

Is he likely to get it? And is the debate over troop numbers likely to be put off until the spring of next year?

The former is probable, the latter is impossible. More likely is the Democrats will insist on revisiting the issue in January where they will once again threaten funding for the war effort. But that won't matter very much as far as the numbers of troops in Iraq through March. So Petreaus, whose tactics appear to be working in many places, will probably win the day.

But not before the Democrats have their say. And President Bush is expected to address the nation sometime this week, pleading for more support from the American people to keep the troop levels where they are now.

For all the buildup the Petreaus report has generated, its outlines (as well as opposition to it) could have been predicted several weeks ago. An anti-climactic end to a political firestorm indeed.
General Petreaus is expected to ask Congress for 6 months before deliberations on troop withdrawals begin:

 

General Petraeus, whose long-awaited testimony before Congress will begin Monday, has informed President Bush that troop cuts may begin in mid-December, with the withdrawal of one of the 20 American combat brigades in Iraq, about 4,000 troops.

By August, the American force in Iraq would be down to 15 combat brigades, the force level before Mr. Bush’s troop reinforcement plan. The precise timing of such reductions, which would leave about 130,000 troops in Iraq, could vary, depending on conditions in the country.

But the general has also said that it is too soon to present recommendations on reducing American forces below that level because the situation in Iraq is in flux. He has suggested that he wait until March to outline proposals on that question.
There are a half dozen options being floated around Congress and the Pentagon for the drawdown of troops but Petreaus is saying he needs the overwhelming majority of his force through March of next year.

Is he likely to get it? And is the debate over troop numbers likely to be put off until the spring of next year?

The former is probable, the latter is impossible. More likely is the Democrats will insist on revisiting the issue in January where they will once again threaten funding for the war effort. But that won't matter very much as far as the numbers of troops in Iraq through March. So Petreaus, whose tactics appear to be working in many places, will probably win the day.

But not before the Democrats have their say. And President Bush is expected to address the nation sometime this week, pleading for more support from the American people to keep the troop levels where they are now.

For all the buildup the Petreaus report has generated, its outlines (as well as opposition to it) could have been predicted several weeks ago. An anti-climactic end to a political firestorm indeed.