8,000 Surge Troops to Stay Put

More than a quarter of surge troops ordered to stick it out
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2008 6:38 AM CST
Army Lt. Gen. Carter Ham, director for Operations, meets with reporters during a news conference at the Pentagon. (AP Photo/Heesoon Yim)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – More than a quarter of the extra troops sent to Iraq during the surge will stay in the war zone and not return to the US this summer as previously planned, the Pentagon has revealed. Some 8,000 of the 30,000 surge troops—including helicopter crews, supply units, headquarters staff, and military guards for Iraqi prisons—will be ordered to stay behind, leaving the total number of troops in Iraq at 140,000, reports CNN.

The decision does not reflect negatively on the success of the surge, said the chief of operations. "There is an opportunity now to take advantage of the security that has been established by the five surge brigades," he said. "And you want to sustain that and not jeopardize the gains that have been achieved." But one lawmaker asked, "If we've had so much success, then why are our commanders concerned about pulling troops down?"