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Gates Says Maintain Troop Levels After Surge

From those famous supporters of the troops at the New York Times:


Defense Secretary Robert Gates (C) visits a joint security station in Baghdad, June 16, 2007.

Gates Endorses Pause in Troop Withdrawals From Iraq

By THOM SHANKER
February 12, 2008

BAGHDAD — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Monday publicly endorsed the concept of holding steady the troop levels in Iraq, at least temporarily, after the departure this summer of five extra combat brigades sent last year as part of “the surge.”

After meeting with top American commanders, Mr. Gates said for the first time that he supported the idea of ordering a pause in troop reductions until the impact on security of the lower force levels could be assessed.

“I think that the notion of a brief period of consolidation and evaluation probably does make sense,” Mr. Gates said. His comments were another strong indication that American troop numbers in Iraq were unlikely to drop far below 130,000 this year, and certainly not to the 100,000 level advocated by some military officials and analysts worried about strain on the army…

Mr. Gates met for two hours Monday with General Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, who leaves in coming days after 15 months as the No. 2 commander in Iraq.

After that meeting, Mr. Gates acknowledged that his assessment on whether to recommend Mr. Bush put off additional troop withdrawals had been developing at the same time and along the same lines as that of the commanders’…

But the defense secretary cautioned that significant questions are still to be decided, including “how long is that period” of a pause in troop cuts, and “what happens after that.”

Mr. Gates stressed that the president still had made no decisions, and that Mr. Bush would receive separate assessments from General Petraeus, from commanders responsible for the broader Middle East, and from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who would evaluate strain on the force and global threats.

Officials worried about stress on the ground forces had expressed hopes that American troop levels in Iraq could begin dropping toward 100,000 this year.

Although Mr. Bush has indicated that he would order no further troop reductions if security gains might be undermined, decisions on the American commitment to Iraq will pass to a new president in January…

Note how this story (and the countless others which slavishly follow the lead of the New York Times) makes it sound as if the “withdrawals” were already carved in stone.

Of course they never were.

And this is all speculation about what will be done after ending the “surge” will have already reduced the number of troops in Iraq by a third.

But The Times never misses a chance to sew confusion, dissension and defeatism.

Officials worried about stress on the ground forces had expressed hopes that American troop levels in Iraq could begin dropping toward 100,000 this year.

And by “officials” they mean the military strategists at the New York Times, who will clutch at any tactic to bring about our eventual defeat.

They are such impatient children. They can’t wait until January.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, February 11th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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