The notion put forth by the administration that there would be a greater reduction of troops beyond those involved in the surge is now over. This should not come as any surprise. This had been standard operating procedure of the Bush Administration since the beginning of the was. Always the promise of a reduction in troops but somehow it just never happen.
Gates told reporters traveling with him in Baghdad that he was leaning toward recommending "a brief period of consolidation and evaluation" before further reducing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, according to a Defense Department release.It means there will be 130,000 or so troops in Iraq at the end of Bush's term. The exact same number that were there over a year ago. One can only hope that the next president will bring the rest of them home as quickly as possible.
Estimates of how long such a pause would last have varied from 30 to 90 days. The amount of time needed to withdraw a brigade -- as many as 75 days -- would effectively mean that troop levels would remain steady from late summer until the end of President Bush's term in January 2009.