Voice of America is the only news source stating that General Petraeus has NOT made any definitive statements regarding troop withdrawals from Iraq.
A senior U.S. military officer is disputing reports in two major U.S. newspapers, which said Friday that the U.S. commander in Iraq may be willing to send several thousands of his troops home by January. VOA's Al Pessin reports from the Pentagon.
However, the VOA report says
During a brief visit to Iraq on Monday, President Bush said General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker told him if current trends continue it will be possible to reduce the U.S. troop level in Iraq, but he did not say when that might happen.The Petraeus and Crocker reports are just two of several assessments being made public this week and next week.
A retired General James Jones who heads up a commission of retired military and police officers favors a change in the mission of U.S. forces in Iraq as soon as possible, away from daily combat to a support role.
"The force footprint should be adjusted, in our view, to represent an expeditionary capability, and to combat the permanent force image of today's presence," he said. Pressed by a senator, General Jones said that change could include consolidations, realignments and reductions.
Also this week, the Congress' Government Accountability Office issued a highly critical report, questioning military claims of reduced violence in Iraq following the surge of U.S. forces earlier this year.
While I would like to believe that The New York Times and The Washington Post are right in reporting that Petraeus has indeed said he'd like to reduce troops by a brigade (4,000 troops) by January, I realize I'll have to take a wait and see attitude. :(