George W. Bush has gone on national television to announce he is bringing 5700 troops home from Iraq by Christmas. The president’s decision follows the testimony to congress earlier this week of the Commander of the Allied Forces in Iraq. President Bush said: “General Petraeus believes that we have now reached the point where we can maintain our security gains with fewer American forces. Because of the measure of success we are seeing in Iraq we can begin seeing troops come home.”
The US Congress is agitating for a full troop pull-out. But Bush insists the US will not abandon Iraq. He has ordered an update report from Petraeus in March. Petraeus told Congress it should be possible to withdraw 20,000 troops home by next summer and reduce the US presence in Iraq to pre-surge levels without jeopardising the security gains.
The limited troop reduction is being seen as an attempt by President Bush to play for time. Bush mentioned Iran’s involvement in the Iraq conflict a number of times. He talked of the need to “cower Iran” which he said was undermining the Iraqi government.