US Iraqi Troops Cut by 20%, Murtha Continues to Push Withdrawal
General John Abizaid, commander of the US Central Command, says the US cut troops in Iraq by 20% in the last two months:
General John Abizaid, commander of the US Central Command, told Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas in comments published on Saturday that further cut in forces depended on the degree of stability.
“We have reduced our forces already in Iraq by about 15 or 20% over the past couple of months,” Abizaid said.
“I would expect that they will continue to come down, but only based on the degree of stability that is achieved there. You wont see a rapid withdrawal of American forces,”
“You will see American forces starting to come down as Iraqi forces start to come up, but if there is a spike in the security situation that would send Iraq in a bad direction, we are also willing to put in additional forces. So, well judge it,” he said.
Abizaid has said that about 220,000 Iraqis are currently serving either in the police or in the armed forces that have “good capacity to ultimately defend Iraq and work against the insurgents and the terrorists.”
Meanwhile, Representative Murtha continues to push for a total withdrawal of troops from Iraq because of it has developed into a Civil War(?):
U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year due to political pressure in a Congressional election year, Rep. John Murtha predicted.
“Our troops are the target,” Murtha told the newspaper. “We’re not fighting terrorism in Iraq. We’re fighting a civil war in Iraq. We’ve got to give them an incentive. We fought our Civil War. Let them fight their civil war.”
Murtha, the senior Democrat on the House appropriations defense panel, said many Iraqis think “it’s all right to kill Americans” and that most Iraqis want U.S. troops out of the country.
“There is no reason in the world we couldn’t do what we’re doing (in Iraq) from the periphery,” Murtha said. “I’ve just come to the conclusion it’s going to happen and it’s just a matter of time.”
He wants U.S. troops to be redeployed to Kuwait and areas around Iraq. He predicted there will be fewer than 100,000 troops by midsummer and that the pullout by the end of the year.
Murtha has suggested redeploying American troops to Okinawa, Japan to fight the War on Terrorism.