The commanding general of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq is backing off of a prediction he made two months ago that a substantial number of U.S. forces could be withdrawn from Iraq next year. The general made the statement after a private meeting at the U.S. Capitol with members of the Senate, some of whom were critical of what they see as a long-term U.S. commitment in Iraq.
In late July, General George Casey made this prediction.
“I do believe that if the political process continues to go positively, and if the development of the security forces continues to go as it is going, I do believe we’ll be able to take some fairly substantial reductions after these elections in the spring and summer of next year,” he says.
But asked Wednesday whether he still believes that is true, the commander of multi-national forces in Iraq was more cautious.
“I think right now we’re in a little greater period of uncertainty than when I was asked that question back in July and March,” General Casey says. “This constitutional referendum, and whether it is supported by the Sunnis to a large degree is something that we just have to watch and see how that comes out. So, until we’re done with this political process here, the referendum and the elections in December, I think it’s too soon to tell.”