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Memo says US, UK preparing for Iraq pullout


Sydney Morning Herald

A leaked document from Britain's Defence Ministry says the British and US governments are planning to reduce their troop levels in Iraq by more than half by mid-2006, the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported.

The memo, reportedly written by the Defence Minister, John Reid, said Britain would reduce its troop numbers to 3,000 from 8,500 by the middle of next year.

"We have a commitment to hand over to Iraqi control in Al Muthanna and Maysan provinces [two of the four provinces under British control in southern Iraq] in October 2005 and in the other two, Dhi Qar and Basra, in April 2006," the memo was reported to have said.

Australia also has troops stationed in Al Muthanna province to train Iraqi forces and guard a Japanese contingent working on reconstruction projects.

The British memo said Washington planned to cut its forces in Iraq to 66,000 from about 140,000 by early 2006.

"Emerging US plans assume 14 out of 18 provinces could be handed over to Iraqi control by early 2006," the memo said.

The United States and Britain have the two largest contingents of foreign forces in Iraq and the memo described the impact a reduction of US and British forces might have on other allied troops.

"The Japanese will be reluctant to stay if protection is solely provided by the Iraqis. The Australian position may also be uncertain."

The United States is training Iraqi forces to take over the country's defence in the face of an insurgency involving allies of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and foreign militants allied to al-Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

But critics say Iraqi troops are not ready to take charge of security in their country.

"There is, however, a debate between the Pentagon/Centcom, who favour a relatively bold reduction in force numbers and the multi-national force in Iraq, whose approach is more cautious," read the memo.

Reid said in a statement in response the article:

"We have made it absolutely plain we will stay in Iraq for as long as is needed. No decision on the future force posture of UK forces has been taken.

"We have always said it is our intention to hand over the lead in fighting terrorists to Iraqi security forces as their capability increases.

"We therefore continually produce papers outlining possible options and contingencies. This is but one of a number of such papers produced over recent months covering various scenarios. This is prudent planning."

The memo said reducing British troop levels in Iraq would save about £1 billion ($2.4 billion) per year.

Reuters, AAP

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I was just thinking last week that, despite the worsening conditions in Iraq, it wouldn't surprise me if, for purposes of the 2006 elections, the Bush administration pulled out a significant chunk of forces. The claim, for purposes of the 2006 elections, would be 'See, we are making progress, and soon all US troops will be out'. Such a claim will be applauded in MSM, and folks will happily say that the GOP is doing a good job. Of course, it won't be long after the elections that more news will emerge: 'Well, it turns out that Iraq needs a bit more help, and so we'll leave a few troops there, and we may even add a few more'. And so it will go, or at least so I conjectured last week.

Despite such 'predictions', I am slightly surprised by the given leak. I guess I shouldn't have been. What I hope will happen is that the MSM will at least pose the question: 'Is not the timing of such a pre-ordained pull-out somewhat suspect?'

NOTE: One clue on how bad things are getting in Iraq is that my brother-in-law, a chaplain in the Army, wrote to request anti-bacterial soap. (No, Bush won't provide a sufficient amount, since he has better uses for our tax dollars.) Why anti-bacterial soap? The answer: because the water can no longer be drunk! Military people are getting dysentery! My brother-in-law said that his friend merely used tap water to brush her teeth, but otherwise she drank bottled water. Just brushing her teeth with tap water was sufficient for dysentery; the poor woman is now very sick. You can imagine what Iraqis are going through! They don't even have sufficient bottled water, let alone anti-bacterial soap. (Yes, of course, Iraq is getting much, much better. 2006 seems like a perfect time to split, since we've clearly helped them achieve the wonders of American democracy.)

This is just too convenient of a leak.

Downing Street Memoes/US UK troop withdrawal.

Discredit one, you can discredit all.

By putting out this propaganda, when they don't bring home the troops they can always say, "we never said that."

And in denying that memo they can deny the Downing Street memoes with same lame excuse.

Am I too cynical?

Not enough. They can deny all they want. Tony Blair has already admitted to the authenticity of the first minutes and memos. I don't buy the second one either. As a ploy, it's pretty lame and aimed at buying time to let them come up with better lies.

From The Times on Line:

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi is speaking his mind.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1687910,00.html

It does not look very good for most of us, one way or the other.

You probably have nailed it on the head.

Convincing argument.

Funny, but I don't think twice about suspecting THIS memo. I won't believe anything positive about this situation anymore until I SEE it. Why just part? why not all? Let someone else oversee the rebuilding of Iraq. A neutral third party...who will take some of the 80 billion dollars that band of pirates bilked congress out of (with majority cooperation, I might add) to pay for its rebuilding. They didn't go to war with MY consent. And the consent they managed to sell Congress and the people who ACTUALLY foot the bill was based on lies of such magnitude that they look like treason to me. It's time to appoint the best and most ethical special prosecutor we can find (not one of their pets)who would report to the Justice Department who, in turn, would report to the people of this country and the world. If it IS treason, let the justice department freeze and seize the assets of the perpetrators as reparation for this monstrous crime against the world Let the assets that they have stolen on whim from people all over the world be released (if they haven't spent it all), with a firm and clear warning to all concerned that they'd be best served to use their funds for their own countries and peaceful purposes. Let our war, if any, be a war against terrorists, not against developing nations, in REAL partnership with other governments of the world.

Further, if there are any of you out there who own stock in any of these businesses who are profiting so hugely from this illegal action, and if you are sickened by the evidence coming to light against this administration, I encourage you to contact the board of directors and call for an accounting. If they ignore you as most of our so-called leaders and the press are ignoring the rest of us, I urge you to dump the stock and let them buy it who will. At least then, we can separate the sheep from the goats.

Stock transactions are a matter of public record, aren't they?

stock in the major media too

I'm somewhat more hopeful about half the troops coming home...all our blogging and emails starting to pay off? Cindy Sheehan's eloquent voice too...

There are companies out there who do NOT support this administration. If you want to own stock, invest in them...

Maybe Bush & Co. think if they mention pull-out, all the talk of Downing Street Minutes and impeachment will die down. Maybe he's trying to get out because he sees the tide turning against him and this war. It could be to save face. (I'm having a hard time believing this considering his lack of intelligence and common sense, but stranger things have happened.)

Or maybe Blair realized, after the London bombings, that he would have a harder time selling this war to his own people. Maybe he decided pull-out was necessary to keep his job. (In the past, a vote of no confidence from parliament has compelled prime ministers to resign.) Without Great Britain, it would be difficult for Bush to justify this war.

More than likely it's a combination of these possibilities and everything else everyone has said. I just don't think Bush should be allowed to get away with what he's done. We need to support an investigation of the Downing Street Minutes even if we do pull out of Iraq. And maybe this new memo is just a rumor.

Congress , President , or both?

The president decides if we pull out. His decision is usually based on what military advisors tell him. But I've thought all along that Bush was just the dumb puppet and others, like Cheney & Rumsfeld, were pulling the strings.

I'm not sure Rumsfeld would go along with pull-out. Or Rice. I think if Rumsfeld & Rice agree, then that's an indication things are really, really bad.

This could begin to get very interesting. The fact that both Rice and Rummy, who stated that twelve years from now we could still possibly be fighting the insurgents, might not go along with a pull-out of troops from Iraq, while at the same time Blair's and Bush's poll numbers continue to flounder as bombs are bursting in London. I thought if fought them in Iraq, we wouldn't have to fight them here? Sounded good though didn't it!

Meanwhile Bush and his poodle need to "save face" and fast. Pulling troups from this quagmire in Iraq isn't the answer, besides, it flys in the face of the PNAC's plan! However, knowing that some of our men and woman were comimg home from I-raq would sure as hell make the masses happy here at home and abroad now wouldn't it? I can see it now! The Main Stream Media would cover this story like white on rice. And Downing Street memo? It'd just be an after thought.

However this plays out I sense a bit of dissention brewing amongst the Bush cabal. But what would happen if Bush no longer had his Brain, Rove to confide? What would he do!

Congress controls the money. When they say we're out, we're out.

In smaller countries, they teach, what the Right-Wing have been teaching their kids all along.

If you Trick someone smarter than you, you become smarter than them.

It won't change what they are, Pure Evil, Bush, Rove, DeLay, all of them, have been raised to destroy this country. Neo-Con, New-Con.

As long as they get away with what they do, and have done, nothing changes. We must demand justice for our future, put them in Jail and take all the money they stole back. Make them drink dirty water and tell them they have no health coverage.

They will be running Scared now.

Elections in 2006? You're kidding, right?

Like the Geneva Conventions, Democratic Elections are just another quaint concept for the new Dictator and his thugs.

The US will NEVER pull out of Iraq. America attacked itself on 9/11 as a pretext for taking over all of the major oil supplies in the middle east.

http://www.oilempire.us/911.html

Bin Laden does not exist. Zarkawi does not exist. They are creations of the NeoCONS to put a human (Arab) face on their evil doing.

The terrorists are US.

The bombing in London was right on schedule to take the heat off the criminals and change the subject back from Jailing Rove and Impeaching Bush and exposing AIPAC as the spy organization that it is...and placing it back to the WAR ON TERROR, which was created from whole cloth by those who proclaim to be fighting against it. They continue to invent the war with every step they take.

Wake up. Exposing the truth of 9/11 is the only way to get people to jail these criminals. Read the PNAC - tell all your friends. 9/11 was SELECTED as the New Pearl Harbor and the essential pretext for implementation of the plan.

THE BIG LIE is 9/11

Expose THE BIG LIE. Everything else will take care of itself.

DEMAND IT OF EVERY CONGRESSMAN AND SENATOR

DEMAND IT OF THE MEDIA

FOCUS ON IT.

Elections in 2006? You're kidding, right?

Like the Geneva Conventions, Democratic Elections are just another quaint concept for the new Dictator and his thugs.

The US will NEVER pull out of Iraq. America attacked itself on 9/11 as a pretext for taking over all of the major oil supplies in the middle east.

http://www.oilempire.us/911.html

Bin Laden does not exist. Zarkawi does not exist. They are creations of the NeoCONS to put a human (Arab) face on their evil doing.

The terrorists are US.

The bombing in London was right on schedule to take the heat off the criminals and change the subject back from Jailing Rove and Impeaching Bush and exposing AIPAC as the spy organization that it is...and placing it back to the WAR ON TERROR, which was created from whole cloth by those who proclaim to be fighting against it. They continue to invent the war with every step they take.

Wake up. Exposing the truth of 9/11 is the only way to get people to jail these criminals. Read the PNAC - tell all your friends. 9/11 was SELECTED as the New Pearl Harbor and the essential pretext for implementation of the plan.

THE BIG LIE is 9/11

Expose THE BIG LIE. Everything else will take care of itself.

DEMAND IT OF EVERY CONGRESSMAN AND SENATOR

DEMAND IT OF THE MEDIA

FOCUS ON IT.

First I wanted to comment on this leak of a pull out.Are these not the same people who got us into a war a LIES.
As most Americans and Brits want out of the war and the poll numbers are speaking what a convenient report to have leaked.
How many permenant bases has Bush built in Iraq!

Oh Congress:

I'm addressing you!
It is your responsibilty to work for Americans and we have the following issues that need attention.

We have a serious National Security breach coming out of the Whitehouse.I do believe it's Karl Rove.
What other National Security issues has he and others leaked!

We have a president that started war on a LIE,and men are dying.

We have millions of people wanting an investigation into 9/11.

We have many $$$$$$$$$$$$$ missing from the war and other dept.of government.

The matter of our National Elections!

These are charges of treasons and criminal activity.
And it's your responsibilty to have these matters investigated.
Now you make be willing to sit back and let these matters go by the way side,but Americans won't
And it appears that's what your doing.

But the American people can get you ejected,and we will.
I wonder how many of you have criminal activity in your life!
As you think this activity is acceptable one can conclude you have similair activity in your lives.
I do believe the FBI needs to investigate each and every one of you to find out why your ignoring your responsibiltiy.

As an American I'm scared thinking my whitehouse is giving out National Security,that they started a war on a LIE,and that they may be involved in 9/11.

And as there is a growing mistrust of this administration every day,and as this is still the country called American,and as you won't do your duty to country,I think the FBI needs to investigate why you think this acitivity should be unchecked.

A conclusion can be made that you think this activity is alright.

Well it's not, and American's want these matters investigated by the courts and if you don't do your job will put people in place that will.
Like I said,I think many of you can be investigated for criminal activity.

Maybe Americans can't do anything about the MSM not doing there job,but we can do something about you not doing your job!

And as you think it's okay to cover up this acitivity,one has to think that you have no B*lls or your corrupt.
It's time for the FBI to find out which it is!
I think I'm correct in stating the following:The FBI only has to suspect criminal acitvity and they can investigate.
And I do believe they become more powerful than a president.

America still frowns on criminal activity and treasons,especially out of our whitehouse,so if you won't do your job then will put people in place that will.
America isn't going to wait for elections on these matters,America wants immediate action to these matters.

I think all authority of the president should be halted until further investigation.
I don't think a whitehouse that has treasons and criminal activity at there door step should be allowed further decision!

The situation to watch in any troop withdrawal talk is whether this Administration and the Iraqi government intend to negotiate a Status of Forces agreement. Such agreements set out the terms and conditions that allow for the continued presence of U.S. troops and bases on foreign soil. Examples are Germany, Italy, Korea etc.
The question is does withdrawal really mean withdrawal?

The Nashville Tennessean today ran a front page story on this memo. This is a great sign as they are a Gannett paper and are usually obsessive about controlling information. We're getting somewhere.

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