[ 2007-05 -26 00:15 ]
By デーヴィッド・サンガー／デーヴィッド・クラウド ｜ ニューヨークタイムズ 2007年5月26日第１面
Bush Signs Iraq Bill: Strategy Shift Next?
The very first indication of the turning direction by White House
President reportedly eyes steep troop draw-down by mid-2008
By David E. Sanger, David S. Cloud ｜ New York Times — MAY 26, 2007
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is developing what are described as concepts for reducing American combat forces in Iraq by as much as half next year, according to senior administration officials in the midst of the internal debate. It is the first indication that growing political pressure is forcing the White House to turn its attention to what happens after the current troop increase runs its course.
MAY 26, 2007 ｜ 米 流 時 評 ｜ ブログ雑誌『 楽 園 通 信』デイリー版
N e w Y o r k T i m e s
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1. Cutting U.S. forces as half by mid-2008
The concepts call for a reduction in forces that could lower troop levels by the midst of the 2008 presidential election to roughly 100,000, from about 146,000, the latest available figure, which the military reported on May 1. They would also greatly scale back the mission that President Bush set for the American military when he ordered it in January to win back control of Baghdad and Anbar Province. The mission would instead focus on the training of Iraqi troops and fighting Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, while removing Americans from many of the counterinsurgency efforts inside Baghdad.
Officials say proponents of reducing the troops and scaling back their mission next year appear to include Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. They have been joined by generals at the Pentagon and elsewhere who have long been skeptical that the Iraqi government would use the opportunity created by the troop increase to reach genuine political accommodations.
During his own news conference, Mr. Bush referred on four separate occasions to the report of the Iraq Study Group, headed by the former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and the former Congressman Lee H. Hamilton. That report, about which Mr. Bush appeared distinctly unenthusiastic when it was issued in December, called for the withdrawal of all American combat troops by the end of March 2008. Mr. Gates was a member of the study group, though he resigned to take up his current post before the report was written.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell predicted a change, and said Bush would show the way. “I think that the handwriting is on the wall that we are going in a different direction in the fall, and I expect the president to lead it,” McConnell said. “In other words, I think he, himself, has certainly indicated he’s not happy with where we are. And I think we are looking for a new direction in the fall.” McConnell also emphasized that the Iraqis need to make progress. “We’ve given the Iraqi government an opportunity here to have a normal country. And so far, they’ve been a great disappointment to members of the Senate on both sides,” he said.
The war spending bill provides about $95 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through Sept. 30 and billions in domestic projects, including more than $6 billion for hurricane relief. The House voted 280-142 Thursday night to pass the bill, followed by a 80-14 vote in the Senate. The Senate will go first when it considers a defense policy bill authorizing $649 billion in military spending in 2008. The proposed bill, approved this week by the Senate Armed Services Committee, cut $12 billion from the administration’s $142 billion war-related request to fund other programs, including an increase in the size of the Army and the Marine Corps. The U.S. has spent more than $300 billion on Iraq military operations so far, according to the congressional Government Accountability Office.
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