WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is expected to advise President Bush to reduce the U.S. force in Iraq next year by almost half, potentially creating a rift with top White House officials and other military commanders over the course of the war.
Administration and military officials say Marine Gen. Peter Pace is likely to convey concerns by the Joint Chiefs that keeping well in excess of 100,000 troops in Iraq through 2008 will severely strain the military. This assessment could collide with one being prepared by the U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, calling for the U.S. to maintain higher troop levels for 2008 and beyond.
Petraeus is expected to support a White House view that the absence of widespread political progress in Iraq requires several more months of the U.S. troop buildup before force levels are decreased to their pre-buildup numbers sometime next year.
Of course Bush won’t listen, but this is Pace planting a flag in the ground saying our presence in Iraq is hurting our chances for response to new threats…
According to administration and military officials, the Joint Chiefs believe it is of crucial strategic importance to reduce the size of the U.S. force in Iraq in order to bolster the military’s ability to respond to other threats, a view that is shared by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
Will Bush ignore his Defense Secretary too?
More as it develops…
Al Jazeera is reporting that Pace hasn’t made up his mind yet…
The most senior military officer in the US has denied a report saying he has decided to recommend a reduction in US troops serving in Iraq.
Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was expected to recommend to George Bush that troops be reduced to less than 100,000 next year, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
“The story is wrong. It is speculative. I have not made nor decided on any recommendation yet,” Pace said in a statement.
This doesn’t mean he won’t recommend what the LA Times reported, but it’s an interesting development.
I wonder who leaked the info about Pace in the first place?