In a press release today, the Pentagon has announced troops rotations for the Iraq War starting in the fall and continuing through early 2010. The rotations consist of three division headquarters units and eight combat brigades, roughly 30,000 troops.
The announcement points out that, despite repeated administration promises of an eventual pullout, the Pentagon is operating under the assumption that they will maintain the current level of troops through at least the beginning of next year. They say this is to prove the “continued commitment of the United States to the security of the Iraqi people.”
At present, there are 131,000 troops in Iraq. The number has lowered slightly over the past several months, from 135,000 in March. General Ray Odierno had previously predicted that the level would be 120,000 by the end of this year, but today’s announcement suggests that already trivial pullback is now being treated as a best case scenario.
If there is one bright spot, it is that the announcement insists that the overall troop levels won’t actually increase in the next several months. Still with President Obama promising during the campaign to have all the troops out by May of 2010, the apparent halt to what little troop level reductions have happened already suggests that far from being almost over, the war will continue for the forseeable future.