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Shocker: Petraeus To Decide US Troop Levels

From an outraged New York Times:

President George W. Bush shakes hands with military personnel during a visit to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.

Bush Prepared to Slow Reduction of Forces in Iraq

By STEVEN LEE MYERS

Published: January 12, 2008

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait — President Bush said Saturday that he was prepared to slow or even halt further reductions of forces in Iraq, emphasizing that any decision depended on security and the stability of the Iraqi government.

After meeting with Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker here at a sprawling desert base in neighboring Kuwait, Mr. Bush noted the sharp reduction in attacks on American troops and Iraqi civilians in recent months, saying the decline in violence was too hard-won to be squandered.

“We cannot take the achievements of 2007 for granted,” he said. “We must do all we can to ensure that 2008 brings even greater progress for Iraq’s young democracy.”

With Congress returning to work on Tuesday and a presidential election campaign in full swing, Mr. Bush set the stage for a renewed political debate this year over the Iraq war.

As some brigades withdraw this spring and summer, the total number of troops in Iraq will remain at the level they have been almost from the beginning of the war in 2003, nearly five years ago.

Mr. Bush said that additional withdrawals would depend solely on conditions in Iraq, which are under review by General Petraeus. During an 80-minute meeting, the president instructed the general to make no recommendation that would jeopardize improvements in security.

“My attitude is, if he didn’t want to continue the drawdown, that’s fine with me in order to make sure we succeed, see,” Mr. Bush said to reporters inside a command center that oversees Army operations in a region stretching from Kenya to Kazakhstan. “I said to the general, ‘If you want to slow her down, fine. It’s up to you.’ ”

On General Petraeus’s recommendation, Mr. Bush approved in September the withdrawal of one Army brigade and one Marine expeditionary unit in December, or roughly 5,700 troops, and four more Army brigades and two more Marine battalions by July, effectively returning the American troop level to 130,000. About 160,000 troops are in Iraq now.

The war’s critics in Congress used the first anniversary of “the surge,” announced last Jan. 10, to renew their demands for a dramatic change in strategy, arguing that the military successes had not accomplished the goals the president himself had set.

Those included an Iraqi takeover of security by November, provincial elections and passage of legislation in Iraq intended to show reconciliation among the main ethnic and religious sects.

No amount of White House spin can hide the fact that the escalation’s chief objective of political reconciliation remains unmet,” the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, said in a statement on Wednesday…

Only an institution as out of touch with reality as the New York Times could be amazed at a President allowing such decisions as troop level to be made by the commander in the theater.

Of course it is probably manufactured outrage, just feigned to “stir the pot” of the lunatic left.

“No amount of White House spin can hide the fact that the escalation’s chief objective of political reconciliation remains unmet,” the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, said in a statement on Wednesday.

And of course it engendered the same old knee-jerk lies from the usual suspects.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, January 12th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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