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Shell game anyone..?
President George W. Bush said on Thursday he would suspend U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq this summer but cut the length of tours of duty, as he defended his war policy that will leave any resolution of the conflict to his successor.
Bush endorsed a recommendation by his commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, to complete a limited withdrawal of combat forces by July but then impose a 45-day freeze on the total number of troops at about 140,000 to assess the security situation before considering more cuts.
“I’ve told him he’ll have all the time he needs,” Bush said.
Hmmm… Apparently Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki disagrees..
A U.S. airstrike targeted a building in Baghdad’s Sadr City on Thursday, hours after American soldiers clashed with Shiite militants in fighting that left 15 people dead, police and the U.S. military said.
The renewed violence coincided with the Congressional testimony of the Bush administration’s top two officials in Iraq _ Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. Petraeus recommended a pause in drawing down U.S. troops in Iraq while the security situation remains unstable and President Bush is expected to follow his recommendation.
But Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki disagreed with Petraeus’ proposal to delay further U.S. troop withdrawals, citing the growing capabilities of Iraq’s own security forces.
Petraeus wants the U.S. to complete by the end of July the withdrawal of the 20,000 troops that were sent to Iraq last year, leaving about 140,000 in the country. Beyond that, the general proposed a 45-day evaluation period to be followed by an indefinite period of assessment before any further pullouts.
Al-Maliki, however, has said he disagrees with that decision.