Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gates: Contingency plan for pullout 'is indeed taking place with my active involvement'; 'I consider this... to be a priority'

Above: Sleep overtakes a weary soldier, one of 10,000 involved in operation 'Arrowhead Ripper' in Baqubah in June.

The Pentagon is making contingency plans for a U.S. withdrawal of troops from Iraq, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who called the planning a "priority."

In a letter delivered on Tuesday to Sen. Hillary Clinton, a New York Democrat and presidential candidate who tangled with the Pentagon to learn whether such plans exist, Gates said he was actively involved in drafting them.

"You may rest assured that such planning is indeed taking place with my active involvement as well as that of senior military and civilian officials and our commanders in the field," Gates said in the letter obtained by Reuters.

"I consider this contingency planning to be a priority for this department," he said.

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet

Related Link:
Report: Bush Iraq exit plan calls for drawdown to 50-70,000 troops based away from cities, aided by carrier strike groups

Related Link:
Report: Internal White House debates raging over 'post-surge redeployment'; Gates pressing for pullback from Baghdad in 2008

Related Link:
Report: Gates seeks deal for 'long-term presence' in exchange for troop drawdown by 2009