Det britiske forsvarsdepartementet skriver i et memo at amerikanerne og britene har planer om å halvere styrken i Irak ved midten av 2006.

The Mail on Sunday memo, apparently written by Defence Secretary John Reid, said Britain would cut its force to 3,000 from 8,500 and Washington planned to cut its forces to 66,000.
«Emerging U.S. plans assume 14 out of 18 provinces could be handed over to Iraqi control by early 2006,» the memo said.
«There is, however, a debate between the Pentagon/Centcom, who favour a relatively bold reduction in force numbers and the multinational force in Iraq, whose approach is more cautious.»
President George W. Bush has responded to opinion polls showing falling popularity for his Iraq policy by telling voters that U.S. forces will stand down «as Iraqis stand up».
U.S. commanders on the ground say they are pleased with the progress of Iraqi forces but caution training will take time.
Reid said in response to the report: «We have made it absolutely plain we will stay in Iraq for as long as is needed».
In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant-Commander Joe Carpenter, said: «I am not aware of any decided-upon timeline».(reuters)

Bush-administrasjonen opererer med oppblåste tall på antall opplærte militære/politi. Det er allment antatt at det vil gå minst to år før irakerne er istand til å overta hovedansvaret for sikkerheten. I dagens situasjon vil en slik lekkasje kunne oppfattes som «cut and run», og vil kunne inspirere jihadistene.

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