The Troops May Come Home Soon Version #9,824
Success in forming a new Iraqi government may let some U.S. troops leave the war zone within months, the top American military commander in Iraq said Wednesday. Paying a surprise visit, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld embraced the country's fledgling leaders as independent and focused on the future.Judging by Bush's approval rating, the dangling carrot appears to be getting a bit mossy at this point.
Army Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. military commander, said selection of government leaders marked a major step toward creating conditions that could allow a partial withdrawal.
"I'm still on my general timeline" for a possible withdrawal, he told reporters after meeting with Rumsfeld.
Casey used no figures. There are about 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, and military officials have spoken before of their hopes of reducing that number below 100,000 by the end of the year if the insurgency does not grow worse and if Iraq makes continued progress on political and security fronts.