Report: Joint Chiefs Chairman Pace Wants Big Troops Cuts in Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) The Bush administration and the Pentagon could be headed for a showdown over troops level in Iraq.

The Los Angeles Times says Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace wants to cut the number of Americans forces in Iraq next year by nearly half.

There are currently more than 160,000 U.S. troops there.

Government and military officials cited by the paper say the Pentagon's top brass agree that the Army is under too much of a strain. But they are also described as reluctant to pick a fight with either the president or commanders in Iraq.

The Army's David Petraeus, the top general there, delivers a progress report to Congress next month. It's expected he'll call for a heavy troop commitment even after the current 30,000 troop surge ends.

One senior administration official quoted by the LA Times says if the U.S. can't afford to ``walk away,'' it's going to have to get itself ``structured for the long haul.''

Republican Senator John Warner is adding to pressure on the White House, proposing that at least some of the troops be brought home by Christmas. He says Iraq's government needs to know the U.S. commitment is not open-ended.


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