American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are to have their combat tours cut from 15 months to 12 beginning late this summer. The White House plans a formal announcement next week, an insider told the AP. Tours were lengthened last year to boost troop levels in Iraq, and the Army has warned that the "unsustainable" extended deployments are wearing down its soldiers.
There are now 18 combat brigades in Iraq—down from a peak of 20—and Gen. David Petraeus will update Congress next week on the chances of further withdrawals this year if Iraq remains relatively stable. House Democrats urged President Bush to consider a complete overhaul of Iraq policy rather than bequeath the status quo to his successor.