Despite much being made of the so-called August timetable that would spell an end to “combat” missions in Iraq and cut the US forces to about 50,000, SOCOM head Admiral Eric Olson today announced that this would not affect his troops, which are involved in some of the heaviest combat.
“The special operations forces are not experiencing a drawdown in Iraq,” Olson insisted, adding that the 50,000 troops scheduled to stay behind would have a “continuing mission” to support their operations.
The admiral gave no indication that there was a separate drawdown timetable at all for the 4,500 SOCOM forces in Iraq, saying that his conversations with Gens. Petraeus and Odierno suggested that they were planning to sustain that level going forward.
There have been discussions for months that the August drawdown would be slowed or even stopped altogether amid rising violence in the nation, but the comments by Admiral Olson today suggest that the speculative drawdown strategy had never included his forces, and that the administration never had any intention of stopping combat operations in August.