The top US military commander in Iraq will ask President Bush to wait until as late as Depatember to decide when to bring home more troops than already scheduled. General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker are supposed to tell Congress next month their recommendations for how many soldiers will be returned home. Petraeus has ben talking about a “period of assessment” which would provide a clearer indication as to how many members of the military could safely be returned. An official who briefed reporters at the White House said Petraeus was talking about a four to six week additional period of waiting before he could make final recommendations.
Secretary of Defense Gates has also indicated he savors suspension in withdrawal plans. Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently commented; “We don’t know how long the pause is going to last.”
The unspoken words about withdrawal of troops from Iraq is whether or not there might be additional need for troops in Afghanistan. Several European nations have indicated growing weariness with the apparent confused campaign in Afghanistan and might withdraw troops. There are reports the German parliament will refuse to extend the commitment of 3,000 German troops. What then? Will American troops take their place?