Petreaus expects more troop cuts this fall

Rick Moran
General David Petreus, Commander of American forces in Iraq, said yesterday that he expects to bhe able to recommend additional troop cuts in Iraq by September:

"My sense is I will be able to make a recommendation at that time for further reductions," Petraeus said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday on his nomination to the post that would put him in charge of U.S. military operations from the Horn of Africa to Central Asia.

Petraeus declined to estimate the size of a troop cut. "I don't want to imply that that means a BCT [brigade combat team] or major combat formation, although it could," he said, referring to units that could total as many as several thousand troops. U.S. troop strength peaked in Iraq last year at about 165,000. Recent and already approved drawdowns are expected to bring the level to about 133,000 by the end of July.

The hearing was surprisingly low-key and relatively brief, in sharp contrast to Petraeus's last two appearances on Capitol Hill -- in September and last month -- to assess the situation in Iraq. Among those absent from the sparsely attended session was Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the committee's ranking minority member and the likely Republican presidential nominee, who was campaigning in California. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), competing for the Democratic nomination, made a brief appearance at the end of the hearing.

Note the "low key" nature of the hearing. Couple this with the passage yesterday in the Senate of a troop funding bill for Iraq and Afghanistan with no timeline attached and you have the reason why the Democrats don't want to make a fuss over Petreaus's ascension to CIC of Central Command; the general is being proved right in his strategy and the Democrats are being proved wrong in their criticism.

No wonder the Democrats don't want to draw attention to their utter failure to affect Iraq policy.

Some Republicans see a plus for McCain with the drawdown. Unfortunately, this is not likely to be the case. The troop cuts will likely be modest and could even be seen as politically motivated. Besides, Iraq is becoming less and less and issue with the American people as opposition to the government peters out and strides are made toward a modest reconciliation. Good news in Iraq means no news about it here in the states.

So despite the fact that McCain will be somewhat vindicated in his stand on the war, the economy will probably be the overwhelming issue by November.
General David Petreus, Commander of American forces in Iraq, said yesterday that he expects to bhe able to recommend additional troop cuts in Iraq by September:

"My sense is I will be able to make a recommendation at that time for further reductions," Petraeus said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday on his nomination to the post that would put him in charge of U.S. military operations from the Horn of Africa to Central Asia.

Petraeus declined to estimate the size of a troop cut. "I don't want to imply that that means a BCT [brigade combat team] or major combat formation, although it could," he said, referring to units that could total as many as several thousand troops. U.S. troop strength peaked in Iraq last year at about 165,000. Recent and already approved drawdowns are expected to bring the level to about 133,000 by the end of July.

The hearing was surprisingly low-key and relatively brief, in sharp contrast to Petraeus's last two appearances on Capitol Hill -- in September and last month -- to assess the situation in Iraq. Among those absent from the sparsely attended session was Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the committee's ranking minority member and the likely Republican presidential nominee, who was campaigning in California. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), competing for the Democratic nomination, made a brief appearance at the end of the hearing.

Note the "low key" nature of the hearing. Couple this with the passage yesterday in the Senate of a troop funding bill for Iraq and Afghanistan with no timeline attached and you have the reason why the Democrats don't want to make a fuss over Petreaus's ascension to CIC of Central Command; the general is being proved right in his strategy and the Democrats are being proved wrong in their criticism.

No wonder the Democrats don't want to draw attention to their utter failure to affect Iraq policy.

Some Republicans see a plus for McCain with the drawdown. Unfortunately, this is not likely to be the case. The troop cuts will likely be modest and could even be seen as politically motivated. Besides, Iraq is becoming less and less and issue with the American people as opposition to the government peters out and strides are made toward a modest reconciliation. Good news in Iraq means no news about it here in the states.

So despite the fact that McCain will be somewhat vindicated in his stand on the war, the economy will probably be the overwhelming issue by November.