Rumsfeld: Bush OKs troop reduction in Iraq
President Bush has approved new cuts in U.S. troops in Iraq, below the 138,000 level that prevailed for most of this year, US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld revealed Friday.
Speaking to American soldiers in Iraq, Rumsfeld did not specify the exact size of the troop reduction, but Pentagon officials have said it could be as much as 7,000 combat troops. "The effect of these adjustments will reduce forces in Iraq by the spring of 2006 below the current high of 160,000 during the (Iraqi) election period to below the 138,000 baseline that had existed before the most recent elections," Rumsfeld said.
Further reductions will be considered "at some point in 2006," after the new Iraqi government is in place and is ready to review the future U.S. military presence, Rumsfeld stated.