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Obama Calls for Troop Reduction in Iraq
Obama Calls for Troop Reduction in Iraq By ANNA JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer
12 minutes ago
CHICAGO - Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday called for a troop reduction in Iraq and criticized the Bush administration for questioning the patriotism of people who have spoken out against the war.
"I believe that U.S. forces are still a part of the solution in Iraq," the Illinois Democrat said during a speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. "The strategic goals should be to allow for a limited drawdown of U.S. troops, coupled with a shift to a more effective counter-insurgency strategy that puts the Iraqi security forces in the lead and intensifies our efforts to train Iraqi forces."
The debate over when to bring troops home has turned bitter since decorated Vietnam War vet Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), D-Pa., called last week for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. He was criticized by the Bush administration and other Republicans.
Obama defended Murtha and called any criticism of his patriotism "shameful." But he said it was inappropriate to pull troops out immediately.
Obama, who was elected last year and opposed the war, added that the administration and military need to provide a timetable for the reduction.
White House spokesman Allen Abney said the administration's policy has "always been for a conditions-based withdrawal" from Iraq. But he said the White House would not set an arbitrary timetable.