Democrat: Keep Iraq withdrawal date secret

March 27, 2007 at 12:25 PM

WASHINGTON, March 27 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., is proposing legislating a withdrawal date for U.S. troops from Iraq but keeping it secret.

The senate is working on a $122 billion war funding bill, and so far has set a withdrawal date of March 31, 2008, as the time to begin withdrawing troops. However, Republicans don't want any date put into law, and President George Bush has vowed to veto any bill with a mandated schedule, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Pryor said a classified plan would be provided by the president and then shared with Congress and Iraqi leaders.

There are fears setting a date would give insurgents time to build up arsenals and then plunge Iraq into even worse violence once U.S. troops leave.

Steven Kosiak of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a defense-related think tank, told the Post he doubted Pryor's withdrawal plan was workable.

"To have a major part of that classified would be unusual, probably unprecedented," Kosiak said.

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