Gates Eyes Deeper Troop Cuts

Defense Sec hopes to have US Iraq forces down to 100,000 by end of 2008
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2007 7:06 AM CDT
Defense Secretary Robert Gates answers a question during a Pentagon briefing, Friday, Sept. 14, 2007. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – On the heels of President Bush's announcement of limited drawbacks in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed confidence yesterday that a bigger pullout would be possible. Gates said yesterday that he hopes for more cuts than Bush and Gen. David Petraeus were willing to commit to, bringing troop levels down to 100,000 by the end of 2008, the Washington Post reports.

The same day, Gates said on PBS' "News Hour With Jim Lehrer" that he wants "a significantly smaller American presence in Iraq" by the end of the Bush administration, and spoke of reducing 20 brigades to 10. The comments, which an aide stressed were his "personal views," demonstrate the continuing rift within the White House over the size of the US troop presence in Iraq.