Pentagon urges no more troop drawdowns

Sept. 6, 2008 at 9:03 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Defense is urging President George Bush to delay further drawdowns of U.S. troops in Iraq, White House officials said.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates delivered the recommendations to Bush this week, in which military officials say security gains in Iraq are too tenuous to continue a troop withdrawal that began earlier this year, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

The recommendation came as a compromise between those who wanted to continue the withdrawals and those, such as Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, who were worried by the postponement of provincial elections initially scheduled for this month, lingering sectarian conflicts and other Iraqi problems, the Post said.

Under the plan, up to 7,500 of the 146,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq could be removed by the time Bush leaves office in January, but they would likely be re-deployed to Afghanistan, sources said.

"The president is now considering his options," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

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