General says Iraq troop reductions may quicken

General says Iraq troop reductions may quicken

The senior American commander in Iraq said Tuesday that he could reduce American forces to 50,000 troops even before the end of next summer if the expected January elections in Iraq went smoothly.

That could ease the strain across the American armed forces and free up extra combat units for duty in the Afghanistan war, which has become a priority for the Obama administration.

In an interview at the Pentagon, the commander, Gen. Ray Odierno, said he had already ordered some service members and equipment diverted from the Iraq mission to Afghanistan, in particular surveillance aircraft and units known as “combat enablers,” which include engineers for clearing roadside bombs and military police officers for training Afghan forces. [continued…]

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