Is There a Timetable For Withdrawing Troops?
A recently leaked British memo reveals that the United States is anticipating that about 100,000 troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by early 2006. The memo says the plan is just emerging but, if true, this would be the first indication that there is indeed a timetable for withdrawing forces from Iraq.
But don’t expect this timetable to be publicly acknowledged—an official timetable is simply not a strategic reality. The last thing you want to do is give the terrorists and insurgents a goal to work towards. Nor is it fair to the troops or the American people to announce a timetable that may not be feasible due to unforeseeable events.
Hopefully, we can significantly increase Iraq’s ability to secure and police itself over the next six months and can then begin brining home our troops. But all this memo tells us is what I hope everyone already knew—that our leaders are committed to bringing the troops home the minute the mission is complete. Unfortunately, that could very well take longer than six more months.