The recent explosion of violence in Iraq is forcing a debate inside the Pentagon about whether the U.S. military can proceed with plans to cut the number of troops in Iraq, Defense officials said Monday, The Los Angeles Times is set to frontpage in Tuesday editions, RAW STORY has learned. Excerpts:
The violence came at a crucial time for the U.S. military: Top
generals must decide within weeks whether to carry out a
long-anticipated reduction in American troops this summer. Threats of
civil war in the country have raised questions about the wisdom of a
troop drawdown in the next few months.
``One perspective certainly is that with so much turmoil, how can
you possibly think about drawing down at this point?'' said one senior
Defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity because decisions
on troop levels have yet to be made.
For nearly a year, senior commanders have said that political
progress in Baghdad and the development of new Iraqi army units could
lead to a substantial U.S. troop reduction this year. They have
pointed to mid-2006 as a pivotal period, making pending decisions on
troop levels a telling indicator of progress.
Defense officials said that Army Gens. John P. Abizaid and George
W. Casey, the top U.S. commanders in Iraq, soon will travel to
Washington to advise President Bush on future troop levels. Because
the moves under consideration will be critical to overall U.S.
progress in Iraq this year, Abizaid and Casey will travel to
Washington to brief the president in person, officials said.
``The president wants to hear it directly from the commanders, so
he can get the straight scoop,'' said the senior Defense official.