U.S. to Pull 15,000 Troops Out of Iraq

U.S. to Pull 15,000 Troops Out of Iraq (WaPo)

Buoyed by a higher turnout and less violence than expected in Sunday’s Iraqi elections, Pentagon authorities have decided to start reducing the level of U.S. forces in Iraq next month by about 15,000 troops, down to about 135,000, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz said yesterday. The reduction involves about three brigades of Army soldiers and Marines whose tours were extended last month to bolster security ahead of the elections, and an additional 1,500 airborne soldiers who were rushed to Iraq for a four-month stint.

“I think we’ll be able to come down to the level that was projected before this election,” Wolfowitz said. But testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Wolfowitz also warned of “a very difficult road ahead” in defeating Iraqi insurgents and indicated that no further drop in U.S. troops was planned this year. Another senior Pentagon official said after the hearing that the initial decrease did not reflect an improved security situation in Iraq but was simply a recognition that the forces kept specifically for the election were no longer needed and could leave as previously scheduled.

Makes sense to be. A good sign, in any case.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. BigFire says:

    Quite a few of those being ‘pull out’ are actually troops that were scheduled to be rotated out in November, but held over as extra protection during the Iraqi election. Now that the election is over, they really should get back to their original schedule.

  2. LJD says:

    Knew some one would find a way to make this negative. Less troops is less troops. Period.