Study Argues US Troops Can Be Withdrawn From Iraq Safely in One Year

A study from the Center for American Progress projects that US troops can be withdrawn from Iraq in about one year:

Most U.S. troops can be withdrawn safely from Iraq in roughly one year and the Bush administration should begin planning the pullout immediately, according to a study released Wednesday.

With the exception mostly of two brigades of about 8,000 troops who would remain in the touchy Kurdish region in the north for a year to guard against conflict with Turkey, the U.S. troops would be moved to Kuwait initially, says the study by the Center for American Progress, a self-described ”progressive think tank” headed by John D. Podesta, a former chief of staff to former President Clinton.

A brigade and an air wing of some 70 to 80 planes would remain in the Persian Gulf country indefinitely. Meanwhile, the withdrawal would give the United States leeway to add 20,000 troops to the 25,000 in Afghanistan trying to counter Taliban and al Qaida forces.

How fast the troops depart from Iraq and go home depends largely on how much essential equipment goes along with the withdrawal, according to the study.

The troops could be out of Iraq in no more than three months if the equipment is left behind, a course not proposed in the study.

On the other hand, ”if the United States does not set a specific timetable, our military forces and our overall national security will remain hostage to events on the ground in Iraq,” the report said.

Even worse, an all-out civil war could compel a withdrawal of the U.S. troops, now numbering about 160,000, in three months’ time, which would force leaving valuable equipment behind and preventing control of an orderly exodus, the report said.

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