Troop levels should remain steady in Iraq once they return to pre-surge levels in July, Gen. David Petraeus told President Bush today. Petraeus urged a period of “consolidation and evaluation,” with monthly reviews of ground conditions—meaning Bush would likely leave major troop reductions to his successor, the New York Times reports.
Petraeus’ measured words avoided the term “pause,” which has been popular on Capital Hill lately, and echoed the “consolidation and evaluation” phrase Robert Gates test drove in last month. Both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Democrats are clamoring for a swift withdrawal. Petraeus’ monthly review plan seems designed to eliminate the lengthy debates between the current 6-month reviews.