NEWS: Gates wants to leave at least 35,000 American troops in Iraq

U.S. needs ‘long-term presence’ in Iraq, Gates says

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told Congress on Wednesday that he envisioned keeping five combat brigades in Iraq as a “long-term presence.”

Mr. Gates told the Senate Appropriations Committee, “When I speak of a long-term presence, I’m thinking of a very modest U.S. presence with no permanent bases, where we can continue to go after Al Qaeda in Iraq and help the Iraqi forces.”

He added that “in my head” he envisioned a force as a quarter of the current combat brigades. [complete article]

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