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Like Deja Vu All Over Again, All Over Again

Kagro X of The Daily Kos adds another entry to an increasingly long string of empty promises:


US may reduce forces in Iraq by spring

By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer Fri Jun 22, 6:52 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The U.S. may be able to reduce combat forces in Iraq by next spring if Iraq's own security forces continue to grow and improve, a senior American commander said Friday. He denied reports the U.S. is arming Sunni insurgent groups to help in the fight against al-Qaida.

Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the top day-to-day commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, did not predict any reductions in U.S. forces but said such redeployments may be feasible by spring. There are currently 156,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

A year ago:

U.S. general in Iraq outlines troop cuts Michael R. Gordon The New York Times

Published: June 25, 2006

WASHINGTON The top American commander in Iraq has drafted a plan that projects sharp reductions in the United States military presence there by the end of 2007, with the first cuts coming this September, American officials say.

. . .American officials emphasized that any withdrawals would depend on continued progress, including the development of competent Iraqi security forces, a reduction in Sunni Arab hostility toward the new Iraqi government and the assumption that the insurgency will not expand beyond Iraq's six central provinces. Even so, the projected troop withdrawals in 2007 are more significant than many experts had expected.

. . .Two years ago:

U.S. Signals Spring Start for Pullout General Restates Position, Noting Contingencies, During Rumsfeld Visit to Baghdad

By Ann Scott Tyson and Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, July 28, 2005; Page A18

BAGHDAD, July 27 -- The top U.S. military leader in Iraq said Wednesday there could be substantial withdrawals of some of the 135,000 U.S. troops in the country as early as next spring.

. . ."If the political process continues to go positively, and if the development of the security forces continues to go as it is going, I do believe we'll still be able to take some fairly substantial reductions after these elections in the spring and summer," Casey said before meeting with Jafari.

. . .Three years ago:

Building Iraqi Security Forces Must Continue, Sanchez Says By John D. Banusiewicz American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2004 – The commander of coalition forces in Iraq said today that continuing to build Iraqi security forces is key to a successful transfer of sovereignty.

. . .Handing over security to the Iraqi people will depend upon the coalition's ability to quickly stand up Iraqi security forces, especially the police, the army and the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps.

. . .This involves building the security forces in small units and police stations to provide the law and order in the cities, he said, and also giving Iraq the external security capacity it will need over the next couple of years. "I think it's going to take us awhile," he said, "but we're committed to it, and we'll be here until that's done."

Sanchez said the 129,000 U.S. service members currently in Iraq are an adequate number, "and we'll manage their redeployment as the operational and tactical situation dictates."

They are missing one entry:

Four years ago:

U.S. Plans to Reduce Forces In Iraq, With Help of Allies


Published: May 3, 2003

The Bush administration is planning to withdraw most United States combat forces from Iraq over the next several months and wants to shrink the American military presence to less than two divisions by the fall, senior allied officials said today.

The United States currently has more than five divisions in Iraq, troops that fought their way into the country and units that were added in an attempt to stabilize it. But the Bush administration is trying to establish a new military structure in which American troops would continue to secure Baghdad while the majority of the forces in Iraq would be from other nations.

. . .The administration does not want substantial numbers of American forces to be tied down in Iraq. It is eager to avoid the specter of American occupation, and it is hoping to shift much of the peacekeeping burden of stabilizing Iraq to other governments.

If the administration plan is carried out, the effect would be to reduce the number of American troops in Iraq from over 130,000 soldiers and marines at present to 30,000 troops or fewer by the fall.