Gates Predicts Steady Iraq Withdrawals

If security gains hold, defense chief predicts 100K troops by Jan '09
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2007 3:17 PM CST
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright, gestures during a news conference at the Pentagon, Friday, Dec. 21, 2007. (AP Photo/Heesson Yim)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today the US is on track to have 100,000 troops, or 10 brigades, in Iraq by the end of the Bush administration, the Chicago Tribune reports. Recent security gains in Iraq have allowed Gen. David Petraeus to begin to enact his plan of removing one brigade a month from the current level of 158,000.

If security in Iraq holds, Gates said, “that would bring us down by the end of the administration to about 10 brigade combat teams.” He also criticized the Democratic-led Congress for passing only a stopgap measure of $70 billion in war funds, half of what President Bush asked for. “It requires us to make short-term plans and short-term solutions," Gates said.