The Realities of "Getting Out of Iraq" in Global Forecast: the Top Security Challenges of 2008
November 14, 2007
The long-awaited “Petraeus report” is now in Washington’s rearview mirror and it does not appear to have changed many minds in Washington about the merits of the U.S. approach in Iraq. While September 2007 did not prove to be the turning point that many argued it would or should be, a significant drawdown of U.S. forces seems inevitable in light of political and military realities. The implications of a drawdown in Iraq for the United States are significant and depend to a large degree on what kind of drawdown takes place, how fast it happens, and what military forces, if any, remain in Iraq after the drawdown is complete.
For both political and military reasons, a drawdown of some kind will probably begin no later than shortly after a new president takes office. Public support in the United States for the war is low, and the war is already a centerpiece in the presidential campaign. With more than 160,000 military personnel in Iraq, a decision in 2007 to extend Army deployments to 15 months, and many soldiers on their second or third tour, American ground forces are under tremendous strain. Many senior military officials are pushing to reduce the number of troops in Iraq, both to restore the force in terms of equipment and readiness and to ensure that the country has sufficient combat-ready military forces available to address other potential national security challenges.
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