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Pace may urge cut in Iraq troop strength

Aug. 24, 2007 at 12:34 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Gen. Peter Pace may warn the Bush administration that keeping U.S. troops at current levels in Iraq could strain the military, The Los Angeles Times said.

Pace, a Marine who is leaving as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is expected to advise President George W. Bush to cut troop levels by about half next year, the newspaper said, citing sources in the administration and military. That would likely put Pace at odds with Gen. David Petraeus, the commander in Iraq, who is expected to recommend in September that the additional troops sent to Iraq remain there into next year.

There are 162,000 U.S. military personnel in Iraq.

U.S. Sen. John Warner, R-Va., asked the Bush administration Thursday to begin drawing down the U.S. force this year, sending some soldiers home for Christmas.

The Joint Chiefs reportedly fear that the Iraq effort has become so great a strain on the military that it cannot respond to other threats. While Petraeus' recommendations are likely to be part of a public report and testimony before Congress, Pace is expected to make his behind the scenes, the newspaper said.

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