Beyond "Stay the Course" and "Cut and Run"

Updated November 30, 2006

On September 29, 2005 the Center for American Progress released a report titled Strategic Redeployment, which proposed a specific course of action in Iraq, the Middle East, and beyond. Prepared by Lawrence Korb, who was an Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration, and Brian Katulis, who held staff positions at the National Security Council and in the State Department during the Clinton administration, the proposals sought to "minimize the damage to the United States in the short term, mitigate the drawbacks of our eventual withdrawal from Iraq, and secure our interests in the long term."

The Bush policy in Iraq is based on false assumptions, Korb and Katulis asserted:

  • "America must fight our enemies abroad so we do not have to face them here at home."
    Korb and Katulis suggested it is not an "either/or" proposition. Attacks in London and Madrid show that we cannot disproportionately allocate our resources to fighting enemies abroad as has occurred with the war in Iraq.
  • "The United States must focus on Iraq because it is the central front in the war on terror."
    This, in a sense, is a circular argument. While there may be up to 3,000 terrorists in Iraq, it is Bush administration policies that have made Iraq a haven for terrorists. As we've noted elsewhere in The Dubya Report, American troop presence in Iraq has forged an alliance that did not exist previously between fanatical Islamic extremists and trained military from Saddam Hussein's secular regime.
  • "The US military presence is making Iraq safer."
    As currently deployed, US troop presence has not slowed the increase in attacks from Iraqi insurgents. The authors' view was echoed by Army Gen. George W. Casey, the top US commander in Iraq, who testified before congress that the presence of "coalition forces as an occupying force" was "one of the elements that fuels the insurgency." A US-government sponsored poll found that a majority of Iraqis feel less safe when foreign troops patrol their neighborhood.
  • "The US troop presence is helping Iraq's political transition."
    Noting that "the only time Iraq has achieved progress on the political transition was when a timetable with deadlines was set," Korb and Katulis posited that an open-ended commitment of US troops may discourage Iraqi leaders from making internal political compromises necessary to achieve self government.
  • "The current size of the US troop presence in Iraq is necessary to complete the training of Iraqi forces."
    Korb and Katulis suggested that the current discussion of Iraqi training, which focuses on combat skills, misses the key component that is motivation. US presence, they argue, "creates a disincentive for the Iraqi military and police to step up and take ownership of their security."

On November 17 Pennsylvania congressman John Murtha, a well-known hawk and supporter of the Iraq war declared the US presence in Iraq "a catalyst for violence," and that it was time to bring the troops home. Whether or not Murtha was influenced by Strategic Deployment, the resolution he introduced in the House was essentially a condensed version of the Strategic Redeployment proposals, calling for US military deployment in Iraq to be "hereby terminated and the forces involved redeployed at the earliest practicable date."

That date, Korb and Katulis had suggested, is January 2006 immediately after the Iraqi elections. Calling it the best of a bad set of options, the authors asserted that "The Bush administration has left us with no better choice." The key components of Strategic Redeployment are:

  • Military realignment. Drawdown of 80,000 troops by the end of 2006; redeployment from urban areas to reduce the number of insurgents motivated y US presence, and to allow remaining troops to focus on training Iraqi forces, improving border security, and supplying logistical and air support to Iraqi forces. Most of the remaining US forces in Iraq would draw down during 2007, with the exception of a small contingent of Marines at the US embassy, military advisors to the Iraqi government, and counterterrorist units working closely with Iraqi forces.
      The 80,000 troops leaving Iraq in 2006 would be redeployed:

    • Guard and Reserve troops demobilize and return to the US to focus on homeland security.
    • Up to two brigades (approx. 20,000 troops) deploy to Afghanistan and to support counterterrorist operations in Asia and Africa.
    • The remaining 14,000 troops would deploy to Kuwait or in the Persian Gulf, ready to conduct anti-terrorist operations, or oppose major actions threatening regional stability.
    • Army and Marine forces resume the long-standing policy of spending at least two months at home for every month deployed abroad.
  • Communications Campaign. Rather than gestures targeted at the mass media, such as Karen Hughes' "listening tour" earlier this year, use diplomatic and other channels to promote the message that the US "supports and respects Iraq's unity and independence and that it will withdraw its troops within a short period of time. The core message should be that the United States seeks stability and prosperity for all Iraqis, but that Iraqis must take ultimate responsibility for their political transition." Essential to this effort is an unambiguous statement from Bush that the US will not build permanent bases in Iraq.
  • New regional diplomatic initiatives. Working with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and other Persian Gulf nations, use diplomacy to bring together countries with and interest in a stable Iraq. If a multilateral initiative is too difficult, work with the parties bilaterally. Engage the government of Iran in a regional initiative similar to what is underway with North Korea.
  • Smarter support for Iraq's reconstruction. Less meddling in Iraqi political processes; discontinue funding political parties. Support continued involvement from the UN and non-governmental organizations in the political transition in IRAQ, including the development of the Iraqi constitution, and training local councils. Create a peace dividend for the Iraqi people by targeting reconstruction efforts at local communities; award contracts to Iraqis as much as possible, and when not possible require maximum employment of Iraqis; ensure greater transparency and oversight in reconstruction projects. Follow up on funding pledges made at the international conference on Iraq held in Brussels in June 2005.

The initial White House reaction to Murtha's declaration, as expressed by press weenie Scott McClellan was bafflement that Murtha was "endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party." McClellan's characterization seemed inappropriate, given Murtha's background. The congressman, now in his seventies, earned two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star in Vietnam, and visited the violence-torn Anbar province in Iraq before making his statement.

Subsequent rebuttals by Bush and Cheney began by acknowledging Murtha's patriotism, but typically adopted the tone of Cheney's speech on November 21, 2005, in which he declared, "It is a dangerous illusion to suppose that another retreat by the civilized world would satisfy the appetite of the terrorists and get them to leave us alone."

As a recent op-ed in The Economist noted, there is some truth to both points of view. If the US were truly to "cut and run," as the administration characterizes its opponents' proposals, al-Qaeda could well regard it as a victory. At the same time, (1) some insurgents are indeed motivated by resentment of the 160,000 US troops occupying their country, and (2) the powerful US military presence reduces the incentive for the Iraqi government to protect itself and the urgency to create a political system that can stand on its own.

The administration has attempted to frame the debate over the war as a choice between "stay the course," which presumably we are supposed to assume is the administration's policy, vs. "cut and run," which the administration would like us to believe is the policy of anyone who disagrees with it. There are many layers to this deception, not least of which is its failure to acknowledge that on November 7, 2005 the Pentagon quietly announced what is effectively a force reduction in Iraq from approximately 140,000 to 92,000. On November 18, NBC news reported that a proposal to withdraw more than 60,000 troops, drafted by Gen. John Abizaid and Gen. George Casey, the two top US commanders of the war, was circulating on Capitol Hill. The generals' plan is reportedly predicated on successful Iraqi elections, and on the ability of Iraqi forces to take over their own security.

On November 20, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced plans to withdraw 20,000 troops after the December 15 elections (approximately the number of additional troops deployed to support the elections).

Meeting in Cairo on November 21, leaders of Iraq's Shiite, Kurdish, and Sunni factions called for a timetable for the withdrawal of US-led forces, and said that Iraqis had a "legitimate right" to resistance. The final communique issued by the conferees excluded attacks on US or coalition forces from their definition of terrorism, which they condemned.

The next day Secretary of State Rice told Fox News that Iraqi forces were growing "more and more capable," and that she did "not think that American forces need to be there in the numbers that they are now for very much longer." Then on November 23, the Washington Post published a formula that military planners in Baghdad have developed to measure the impact that progress in the readiness of Iraqi security forces might have on the number of US troops. As reported by the Post:

The formula estimates that for every three Iraqi battalions and one Iraqi brigade headquarters achieving a readiness rating of level two, a US battalion can be dropped. A level two rating, on a scale of one to four, indicates that a unit is able to take the lead in operations but still requires some US military support.

The planners emphasized to the Post that the formula was intended as a planning tool, and not a "definitive predictor of how many US forces were likely to leave or when."

Responding to pressure from the public (68% of respondents in a December 5 New York Time/CBS News poll said they did not believe Bush had "a clear plan for victory in Iraq"), liberal, conservative and moderate politicians, and editorial voices in the media -- mainstream and otherwise -- the administration repackaged a handful of its past pronouncements on Iraq under the grandiose title "National Strategy for Iraq," which it released on November 30. Observers have suggested that while publicly dismissing calls to set a deadline to begin withdrawing troops Bush's timetable is to begin to draw down troops before the US congressional elections. Thus while claiming that opponents want to "cut and run," Bush's strategy is, in Howard Fineman's words, to "Trim and Tiptoe."

W. Andrew Terrill and Conrad C. Crane of the Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) had warned in October:

If the public views the Iraq conflict as showing little or no progress, the conflict may become redefined by many US citizens as a quagmire, and pressure to withdraw would become nearly irresistible. Moreover, while many hopeful signs of progress exist in Iraq, it is not clear that the public will find them compelling if such progress does not lead to a situation where the United States can begin withdrawing troops.

Another key factor in the administration's change in attitude may have been concern about the strains that long term deployments have caused on the US military. Speaking to the LA Times, Andrew Krepinevich, a former Pentagon official who heads the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, an independent defense research group in Washington, noted that the Iraq experience has sharply cut the flow of recruits into the military, while increasing the attrition rate. "I think the administration will yield to the reality of an Army that is apparently beginning to buckle...," Krepinevich said. His concern echoed that of Terrill and Crane, who noted that:

A series of problems in recruiting (but not retention) started to appear in 2004 with the Army Reserve and National Guard and later spread to the regular Army. The most immediate impact of these problems involves a shortfall of newly enlisted recruits, but there are other less visible and longer term effects should the United States accept large numbers of only marginally qualified applicants, and these individuals remain in the military as professional soldiers.

As The Economist implied, with the title of its op-ed piece, the real question to be debated is "Not whether, but how, to withdraw." Or as Korb and Katulis phrased it "...[W]hen and how do we begin redeploying our troops to make the American people safer?"

Writing in the November SSI newsletter, W. Andrew Terrill commented on a statement made in June 2003 that was used as the epigraph of the Bush "National Iraq Strategy." "We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed—and not a day longer." Bush's statement, Terrill argued, should be interpreted as a commitment not to retain military bases in Iraq indefinitely. US military presence in Iraq "after the majority of US troops have withdrawn" can be justified as support for Iraqi forces and to address "insurgency related issues."

Nevertheless, the reasons for staying will, in most circumstances, be strongly outweighed by the disadvantages associated with such a policy if they involve US military assets that remain in the country after US forces are no longer necessary to cope with the insurgency or if they involve a military presence that is clearly not directed at the Iraqi insurgents.

Any US expressions of interest in long-term bases may seriously hurt the already fragile legitimacy of the Iraqi government, which the United States must seek to support. Resistance to basing rights by Western powers traditionally has been a central characteristic of Arab nationalist thought which is sensitive about issues of sovereignty and Western domination. In the current Iraqi political environment, such concerns cannot be casually disregarded by key Iraqi leaders. Even moderate Iraqi politicians fear that the United States may seek to dominate the post-Saddam Iraqi government.

Terrill and SSI colleague Conrad C. Crane suggested in their monograph "Precedents, Variables, and Options in Planning a US Military Disengagement Strategy from Iraq," that US past experiences as occupiers are "worthy of remembering." "... [T]he United States has sometimes had to distinguish between optimal and acceptable end states in the countries being occupied, because the optimal end state is not always attainable...," the authors wrote.

The study cited several historical examples of US postwar reconstruction efforts, starting with the US Civil War. After the Spanish-American War, the authors noted, President McKinley promised in 1898 that military occupation of Cuba would continue until "'complete tranquility and a stable government' had been achieved." Political control was returned to Cuban authorities in 1902. American troops returned to quell insurrections in 1906, 1912, and 1917; coups and revolutions continued until the advent of Fidel Castro.

Woodrow Wilson's failure to obtain Allied approval for his ambitious agenda after World War I is well known. Terrill and Crane described Wilson's sacrifice of "most of his Fourteen Points to get Allied approval for his League of Nations, which failed to be ratified by the US Senate due to Republican intransigence and his own stubbornness." The failure of Allied leaders to acknowledge the strength of anti-democratic forces in Europe helped create the conditions that led to the World War II, the authors suggested. Terrill and Crane described US occupation policies in Europe as "incoherent," and noted that a recent conference in Austria concluded that democracy emerged there after World War II in spite of US policies, not because of them.

In Vietnam, the SSI scholars observed, the US "was not deeply concerned with with advancing democracy. Rather, it sought to prop up an existing government and military rather than create a new one from the ashes of a deposed regime.... In that respect, the effort in Iraq is much more ambitious."

Balancing the goals of supporting stable Iraqi self-government, and withdrawing the majority of troops "what to the public is an acceptable time frame" may be "especially difficult," Terrill and Crane suggested. They recommended against establishing a fixed timetable for withdrawal of US troops, "unless Iraq's government fails and the situation becomes hopeless."

... [E]xit strategies following a military intervention often are notoriously difficult to implement Having shattered the previous government, a responsible occupying power must seriously attempt to create a new political system acceptable to the citizens of that defeated power after the occupier departs. In Iraq, it may be especially difficult to
discern the optimal time to leave. Balancing the goals of supporting
stable Iraqi self-government and leaving Iraq in a timely manner has emerged as a central challenge of US regional policy.


The same liberal democratic system that seems so worth transplanting also hinders such states from conducting the long-term occupations necessary to make it stick. And even after extended reconstructions, the endstate will still most likely be more a result of local realities than imposed structures. The best course of action appears to be to recognize these trends, and aim for generic peace and stability with unique regional characteristics rather than more specific reforms. This leads to quicker withdrawals and fewer heartaches, even if the result will not be as ideologically tidy as exporting US types of democratic institutions.

The US must be prepared to accept solutions in Iraq that fall short of American style democracy, Terrill and Crane warned. One possible outcome is a nominal democracy controlled by religious Shiites without "any deep commitment to those aspects of democracy that involve rule of law and minority rights." Another possibility is a government structure similar to that of Yemen, where there is an elected president and parliament, but where "opponents of
the regime in Yemen may find themselves with substantially less
than the full range of constitutional protections found in Western
Europe or the United States, and Yemeni security forces operate
without many of the constraints found in a more liberal system."

A third possibility, supported by the Iraqi Kurds, is a loosed federation or confederation of states, each of which maintains its own militias. Terrill and Crane suggested that any of these alternatives should be considered more acceptable than, say, a less oppressive dictatorship, which they termed "Saddam lite," or "an Islamic regime that adopts nondemocratic means." They noted, however, that a "friendly but undemocratic Iraq that does not engage in massive human rights violations would look very similar to an array of current US allies in the region," and would be more acceptable than civil war.

Terrill and Crane proposed in conclusion

  • The US will have achieved its key objectives if an achieve its key objectives once the Iraqi government is viewed by the majority of its people, regardless of sect or ethnicity, as a legitimate government that is worth fighting and dying for; and the Iraqi security forces have the training, know-how, and equipment to put these convictions into practice.
  • The United States must develop detailed plans for
    implementing a withdrawal of significant numbers of troops under
    a variety of much less than optimal conditions.

  • US military and intelligence leaders must be painfully honest in addressing the question of when Iraqi security forces will be able to function without a coalition troop presence to prop them up.
  • Senior US military leaders must resist the view that they
    are "grading themselves" when they are asked to train the security forces and to evaluate Iraqi readiness to assume more expanded duties for military and security operations.

  • The United States must not establish a timetable to withdraw from Iraq so long as US leaders consider the situation in Iraq to be redeemable.
  • As a last resort for preventing near-term civil war, the United
    States may have to swallow the bitter pill of allowing local militias
    to retain a significant and ongoing role in Iraqi politics if the Iraqi
    government is interested in pursuing this option and if the Iraqi
    security forces cannot take full responsibility for the nation's

  • The United States needs to renounce interest in permanent
    bases in Iraq on a strong and continuing basis.

  • The United States needs to deemphasize rhetoric that may
    cause Iraqi citizens to believe their government has been put
    in place to wage war on US enemies in the Muslim World and
    otherwise serve US interests.

  • US leadership must recognize that it may still continue
    to support democracy after US forces are withdrawn from Iraq,
    providing that the nation is stable when it leaves.

  • US leaders should continually note the courage,
    commitment, and sacrifice of our troops in the field, while realizing
    that these same qualities are reasons to safeguard their lives even
    more carefully.

"The long-term dilemma of the US position in Iraq," Terrill and Crane suggested, "can perhaps
best be summarized as 'We can't stay, we can't leave, and we can't fail.'"

Lt. Gen. William Odom (Ret.), who served as director of the National Security Agency in the Reagan administration, has emerged as a prominent supporter of an early withdrawal from Iraq. Appearing on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews on December 6, Odom said:

The longer we stay, the bigger mess we create. Once we invaded, we set in motion a group of forces that inexplicably has taken us to this point. We can‘t change that by staying longer. We can make it worse.

We essentially invaded for other peoples‘ interests without understanding it. We made Iraq safe for al Qaeda, therefore, we really encouraged or pleased Osama bin Laden.

The Iranians detested Saddam‘s regime. He had invaded them and fought them for eight years. Therefore, seeing Saddam and his regime overthrown greatly pleased the Iranians.

It has also created a situation inside Iraq, fragmentation, that‘s leading to the creation of a regime that will almost inexplicably will be an Islamic republic much closer to Iran than to the US or anyone in the Arab world.

Odom told Matthews that he would rather be containing Saddam Hussein than in the situation the US finds itself currently in Iraq, but that it may be difficult to contain what he referred to as "this Shia government" -- meaning the emerging government in Iraq -- because we have alienated "so many allies." Unless we withdraw our troops "earlier rather than later," Odom asserted, the US will not be able to convince any European nations to join it in a common regional strategy.

Odom suggested that the new government in Iraq was more likely to be modeled after the political system in Iran than the western-style democracy Bush & Co. have envisioned. "That is not going to happen in that country in a decade or three decades," Odom said. "There is just no tradition of constitutional order in any Arab political culture. They may get there some day, but that is a very steep hill to climb." Odom suggested that once the US leaves, al-Qaeda is likely to be thrown out of Iraq. He rejected the Bush assertion that "it was better to fight them over there than over here," citing CIA testimony before congress that al-Qaeda is training recruits in Iraq, and then deploying them around the world."

MATTHEWS: What could we do now? What would you do if you were president of the United States right now, General? If you were advising the president?

ODOM: I would tell him to invite the secretary of defense, direct secretary of defense and chairman of the joint chiefs to come over, and I would tell them: I want within two to three weeks, some alternatives on what it would take to pull US troops out of Iraq as soon as possible.

MATTHEWS: And that will give us a better future in that region than staying a couple of more years?

ODOM: Absolutely. And the second thing I would do—would try to arrange a meeting with key European countries under some kind of cover and privately I would tell them, “I made a strategic decision to get out. You‘re going to be worse off to this than we are. I admit that this was a strategic error, I‘m sorry. I know I don‘t have much credibility with you, but I‘m saying if you want to do something jointly with me, I‘m open to your suggestions.”

And I would come home and the third thing I would do is to push very hard through any channels I could, to get an opening to Iran. Iran is the one country that really could help us stabilize the region and particularly Iraq.P

The Bush administration may have particular difficulty with the SSI recommendations about evaluating the readiness of Iraqi security personnel. In the December issue of The Atlantic, national correspondent James Fallows reported that "... [I]f American troops disappeared tomorrow, Iraq would have essentially no independent security force.... The moment when Iraqis can lift much of the burden from American troops is not yet in sight."

Over the summer, Pentagon officials announced that three Iraqi units out of 115 police and army battalions were capable of planning, executing, and maintaining counterinsurgency operations without external assistance. In September, General George Casey, US military commander in Iraq, lowered the estimate to one. Moreover, only a third of the units were deemed capable of fighting against insurgents even with US logistical and communications support. Fully two thirds of the Iraqi army units, and half of the police were classified as "incapable" of combating insurgents.

Although the US has recently developed improved approaches to training Iraqi troops, the insurgency has worsened. A Marine officer wrote Fallows "The current situation will never allow for an effective [Iraqi Security Force (ISF)] to be created. We simply do not have enough people to train forces. If we shift personnel from security duties to training, we release newly trained ISF into ever-worsening environs."

The now familiar litany of US errors leading up to and immediately after the invasion of Iraq contributed to problems training Iraqi security forces: unrealistic explanations of how Iraqis would welcome occupiers, an invading force one third the size of the army and police forces they were displacing, and little familiarity with Arabic language or culture. "The military has one duty in a situation like this," Lieutenant General Jim Mattis told Fallows. "And that is to provide security for the indigenous people. It's the windbreak behind which everything else can happen." Before the war Mattis had advocated preparing teams of civic advisers -- mayors and police chiefs from Europe and North America to work with their Iraqi counterparts, to help ensure public order. "But we didn't do it," Mattis observed, "and the bottom line was the loss of security."

Retired general Jay Garner, who was the first head of US civilian operations in Iraq, had planned to incorporate much of the Iraqi rank-and-file military into postwar reconstruction effort. When Garner was replaced by Paul Bremer, however, Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2 was issued, to dissolve the Iraqi military, and, as Fallows said, "send them home without pay." The decision was made without consulting Garner or his liaison to the Iraqi military, Paul Hughes. "My Iraqi friends tell me that this decision was what really spurred the nationalists to join the infant insurgency," Hughes told Fallows. "We advertised ourselves as liberators and turned on these people without so much as a second thought."

Perhaps not surprisingly, then, throughout the occupation, but particularly in the early months, training Iraqi forces was a secondary objective, at best. It was not until early 2004 that the administration decided to make training "more explicitly part of the US mission in Iraq." The decision was followed by a realization of how difficult that mission would be, particularly collective training. Compounding the inherent logistical challenges in running an army were ethnic and tribal divisions in Iraqi society. Moreover, it became impossible to separate training from combat, as is common in the US military, because trainees were under attack from the insurgency "from the moment they sign up." Finally, among members of the administration in the US, training had become what Fallows called "a boring issue." "President Bush placed no emphasis on it in his speeches. Donald Rumsfeld, according to those around him, was bored by Iraq in general and this tedious process in particular...."

One way the administration attitude manifested itself was in equipment shortages. A GAO report in the spring of 2004 found that the Iraqi police had significant shortages of vehicles, radios, and protective gear. "Iraqis within the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps felt the multinational force never took them seriously, as exhibited by what they perceived as the broken promises and the lack of trust of the multinational force," the reported stated. An internal Pentagon report found that in 2004 Iraqi infantry battalions were being sent into combat without complete equipment. "Absent without leave rates among regular army units were in double digits and remained so for the rest of the year," it said.

By March of 2004 training methods changed, with more emphasis on US advisers embedded with Iraqi troops. Live fire exercises were introduced -- a novelty to Iraqis who had rarely fired live ammunition during Saddam Hussein's regime. Ambassador John Negroponte reallocated $2 billion from other reconstruction projects to training. But the changes may have come too late. "As prospects have brightened inside the training program, they have darkened across the country," Fallows wrote. "There is still no sense of urgency," T.X. Hammes, former Marine colonel and the author of The Sling and the Stone, told Fallows. "From the President on down there is no urgency at all."

"America's hopes today for an orderly exit from Iraq depend completely on the emergence of a viable Iraqi security force. There is no indication that such a force is about to emerge," Fallows concluded.


Mazetti, Mark "US Generals Now See Virtues of a Smaller Troop Presence in Iraq" LA Times 1 Oct. 2005

Korb. Lawrence J. and Brian KatulisStrategic Redeployment: A Progressive Plan for Iraq and the Struggle Against Violent Extremists Center for American Progress. 29 Sep. 2005

"DoD Announces Units for Next Operation Iraqi Freedom Rotation" News Release. US Department of Defense. 7 Nov. 2005 [Thanks to Noah Schachtman of for spotting this. -- Ed.]

"Murtha In Full" The Stakeholder. 17 Nov. 2005.

"Not whether, but how, to withdraw" The Economist 24 Nov. 2005

Miklaszewski, Jim "Pentagon plans for troop drawdown in Iraq" 18 Nov. 2005

Graham, Bradley and Robin Wright "3 Brigades May Be Cut in Iraq Early in 2006" Washington Post. 23 Nov. 2005

Sanger, David E. and Thom Shanker"As Calls for an Iraq Pullout Rise, 2 Political Calendars Loom Large" NY Times 28 Nov. 2005

Fineman, Howard "Trim and Tiptoe" Newsweek Web-exclusive Commentary. 30 Nov. 2005

Nasrawi, Salah "Iraqi Leaders Call for Pullout Timetable" Associated Press. 22 Nov. 2005

Richter, Paul and Tyler Marshall "US Starts Laying Groundwork for Significant Troop Pullout From Iraq" LA Times 26 Nov. 2005

Terrill, W. Andrew "The Danger of Seeking Permanent US Military Bases in Iraq" Newsletter. Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College. Nov. 2005

Terrill, W. Andre and Conrad C. Crane "Precedents, Variables, and Options in Planning a US Military Disengagement Strategy from Iraq" Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College. Oct. 2005.

Fallows, James. "Why Iraq Has No Army" The Atlantic Dec. 2005

Toner, Robin and Marjorie Connelly "Economy Lifts Bush's Support in Latest Poll" NY Times 8 Dec. 2005

Hardball Mod. Chris Matthews. MSNBC. 5 Dec. 2005

See also:

· US bases in Iraq: a costly legacy (Christian Science Monitor, April 3, 2006)

· 15 Brigades Would Gradually Stand Down Under Plan (NY Times, November 30, 2006)