No Timetable for Iraq Withdrawal from Petraeus

April 09, 2008 02:00 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker are on Capitol Hill this week reporting on Iraq. As expected, Petraeus has not recommended a withdrawal timetable.

30-Second Summary

Come July, troop numbers will fall below pre-surge levels to less than 140,000. Gen David H. Petraeus was not prepared to define a  timetable for withdrawal that would extend beyond that point. 

His recommendation did not come as a surprise. Most analysts and media outlets predicted that Petraeus, the commander of the multinational force in Iraq, would recommend little change from the current course of action.

"Petraeus called security in Iraq 'significantly better' than before last year's troop buildup but still 'fragile and reversible,'" reports The Washington Post.

The recent fighting in Basra is one of several factors contributing to heightened instability in Iraq.

Also, new data indicates that since the United States began reducing its troop presence in Iraq three months ago, several key indicators of violence have risen.

The Pentagon has withdrawn about 5,700 U.S. soldiers and Marines, and the remaining 24,000 troops are set to return home by July. According to The Boston Globe, that will leave about 140,000 combat and support troops in the country.

The hearing Tuesday featured "many Republicans who praised the progress in Iraq and skeptical Democrats who pushed for a faster pullout of U.S. troops," reports USA Today.

The three remaining presidential candidates questioned Petraeus, as well. According to The Chicago Tribune's blog The Swamp, John McCain, who was the first candidate to speak, "sounded very much like a commander-in-chief asking his top field commander for a battlefield assessment."

Headline Links: Petraeus recommends 'pause' in withdrawals

Video: Petraeus-Crocker hearings live

Reaction: John McCain

Related Topics: Recent violence in Basra

‘Grilling Petraeus’

Opinion & Analysis: Criticism of the Bush administration and Democrats

Background: Last year’s testimony

Petraeus said that achieving security objectives in Iraq would be “neither quick nor easy” when he testified before Congress in September. But he also said U.S. forces could be reduced to pre-surge levels the following summer. Watch the footage on CBC news.
Predictions about this year's testimony

Reference: Iraqi Body Count


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