According to the NY Times, the Pentagon to plan for significant troop reductions by early next year. It would appear that due to many positive circumstances happening in Iraq, the Pentagon feels confident that it is OK to begin reductions in US troops. Funny, last time I checked the MSM they seem to be reporting only negative stories. Seems like this would be an admission by the NYT that positive one’s are occurring too.
But there is a consensus emerging among these top officers and other senior defense officials about several positive developing trends, although each carries a cautionary note.
Attacks on allied forces have dropped to 30 to 40 a day, down from an average daily peak of 140 in the prelude to the Jan. 30 elections but still roughly at the levels of a year ago.
Several top associates of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant whose network has claimed responsibility for many of the most deadly attacks, have been captured or killed in recent weeks.
Due to the lessened attacks on US forces in Iraq, this has enabled the US forces to concentrate on other productive areas in dealing with Iraq and training Iraqi soldiers.
The American military priority has shifted from waging offensive operations to training Iraqi troops and police officers. Iraqi forces now oversee sections of Baghdad and Mosul, with American forces on call nearby to help in a crisis. More than 2,000 American military advisers are working directly with Iraqi forces.
George W. Bush and The Pentagon are handling the US troop reduction in a steady and intelligent manner. Not swayed by polls or election results to make their decisions. Both Bush and the Pentagon know that Iraq must show certain qualities in order for the protection of the US military to be withdrawn .
Precisely when and how many American forces withdraw from Iraq hinges on several factors, including the security situation, the size and competence of newly trained Iraqi forces, and the wishes of the new Iraqi government. Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top commander in Iraq, told CNN two weeks ago that if all went well, “we should be able to take some fairly substantial reductions in the size of our forces” by this time next year.
It is obvious for many years to come the US will most likely have a military presence in Iraq; however, major troop presence looks like it will be decreased in the not too distant future. It will also be done in its proper time when Iraq can protect itself with its own security forces and military. This is a far cry from the cynical MSM’s cries that GWB would reduce troops for political gain or because polls supporting the war were falling. GWB has acted true to his word in how he would deal with this war and has remained steadfast.