Iraq Troop Levels to Hold Steady Under Bush

But numbers will increase in Afghanistan
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 9, 2008 6:46 AM CDT
US Maj. Gen. Jeffery J. Schloesser, right, shakes hands with Afghan soldiers after arriving at a US base in Nuristan province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday, Sept. 1, 2008.    (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
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(Newser) – Troop levels in Iraq won't change until after George Bush leaves office, the president will announce in a speech today, leaving further withdrawals as an immediate matter for his successor —although Bush will oversee what amounts to a transfer of US troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. The announcement likely represents his last major decision in the pair of wars, the Washington Post reports.

“As we learned in Iraq, the best way to restore the confidence of the people is to restore basic security —and that requires more troops,” Bush will say of Afghanistan as he lauds improvements in Iraq which 2 years ago were “virtually unimaginable.” The speech salutes a withdrawal compromise among military leaders. Nearly half of Bush’s remarks will focus on Afghanistan, where “enemies of a free” nation have “refused to give up the fight."