US Still Not Planning Major Iraq Troop Cuts Until Next Year

General Says New Assessment Will Be Made After January Vote

Updating the lack of progress on President Obama’s promised US pullout from Iraq, Brigadier General Stephen Lanza laid out again what officials are presenting as a “responsible drawdown,” which is to say a continued delay.

The comments were largely in keeping with what Brigadier General Heidi Brown laid out in August, noting that the military isn’t planning for any major troop cuts until well after the January 2010 Iraqi election.

Gen. Lanza said there was still a possibility that the troop level could be reduced to 50,000 by August of 2010 (though Gen. Brown made it clear that the goal was now between 50,000 and 75,000), but that any decision on the matter would be made in a new assessment after the vote.

Which, the recent history of the region suggests, does not auger well. August’s election in Afghanistan, which the US had likewise touted as a stabilizing event until it actually happened, was an unmitigated disaster that has only strained the situation in the nation more. The June election in neighboring Iran was also marred by fraud and left the country a much less stable place.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.