Friday, 5 September 2008
Again, because of the administration's confusion about Islam, it is unclear what we are trying to achieve in Afghanistan.
New Duranty: WASHINGTON — The United States would carry out a modest shift of American forces from Iraq to Afghanistan by early next year under a confidential recommendation to President Bush by the Pentagon’s top civilian and military leaders, according to Bush administration officials.
The number of American combat brigades in Iraq would shrink to 14 in February from 15, according to the recommendation. All told, the number of American forces in Iraq, currently about 146,000, would drop by nearly 8,000 by March.
The reduction is smaller than some officials had earlier suggested might be possible before President Bush leaves office in January, given the significant decline in violence in Iraq. But it reflects the caution of Gen. David H. Petraeus, who is leaving his post as the senior American commander in Iraq this month, about the still-unsettled situation in Iraq.
The recommendation on the troop shift was presented to Mr. Bush on Wednesday in a video conference by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. American officials said the recommendation was the product of extensive consultations between the Pentagon officials and General Petraeus.
Under the proposal, an Army brigade and a Marine battalion would be sent to Afghanistan by early next year, adding about 4,500 troops to American forces there. They would represent a partial but still significant move toward meeting repeated requests from American commanders in Afghanistan for three more brigades, a reinforcement that the commanders say is necessary to carry out the mission there and to combat a resurgent Taliban.
The recommendation indicates that the next president will inherit a force in Iraq that has slightly more troops than in January 2007, when President Bush announced his troop reinforcement plan. Some administration officials voiced hope in July that the additional troop withdrawals by the end of Mr. Bush’s term could amount to as many as three brigades...
Posted on 09/05/2008 7:55 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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