The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Monday, July 11, 2005


I'm a little late to the game on this one, but here's the story on the latest leaked British memo:
The United States and Britain are drawing up plans to withdraw the majority of their troops from Iraq by the middle of next year, according to a secret memo written for British Prime Minister Tony Blair by Defense Secretary John Reid.

The paper, which is marked "Secret -- UK Eyes Only," said "emerging U.S. plans assume that 14 out of 18 provinces could be handed over to Iraqi control by early 2006," allowing a reduction in overall U.S.-led forces in Iraq to 66,000 troops. The troop level is now at about 160,000, including 138,000 American troops, according to a military spokesman in Baghdad.

Reid on Sunday did not dispute the authenticity of the document, but said that no decision on troop levels had been made. In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman said officials there had not seen the document.

The undated memo, which was reported in the newspaper The Mail on Sunday, stated that "current U.S. political military thinking is still evolving. But there is a strong U.S. military desire for significant force reductions to bring relief to overall U.S. commitment levels."
Of course, I'm not opposed to the withdrawl of troops from Iraq; in fact, if we're serious about democracy promotion there it would make a pretty useful motivational tool. If we're there indefinitely, "flypaper"-ing it up (to no avail, as London and Madrid have shown) for years and years, it would be even more destabilizing in a lot of important ways.

That said, if this memo proves authentic -- and since these things keep popping up, one can't help but think as much -- Rummy and his 12-year last throe might want to know about it.


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