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Defense official: Rumsfeld given Iraq withdrawal plan

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/11/18/iraq.plan/index.html?section=cnn_latest Defense official: Rumsfeld given Iraq withdrawal plan Plan calls for troops
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 19, 2005

      Defense official: Rumsfeld given Iraq withdrawal plan

      Plan calls for troops to begin pulling out after
      December elections

      Friday, November 18, 2005; Posted: 11:34 p.m. EST
      (04:34 GMT)

      WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The top U.S. commander in Iraq has
      submitted a plan to the Pentagon for withdrawing
      troops in Iraq, according to a senior defense

      Gen. George Casey submitted the plan to Secretary of
      Defense Donald Rumsfeld. It includes numerous options
      and recommends that brigades -- usually made up of
      about 2,000 soldiers each -- begin pulling out of Iraq
      early next year.

      The proposal comes as tension grows in both Washington
      and Baghdad following a call by a senior House
      Democrat to bring U.S. troops home and the deaths of
      scores of people by suicide bombers in two Iraqi

      House Republicans were looking for a showdown Friday
      after Rep. John Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat and
      well-respected Vietnam veteran, presented a resolution
      that would force the president to withdraw the nearly
      160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq "at the earliest
      predictable date."

      Murtha on Thursday called the administration's
      management of the conflict "a flawed policy wrapped in
      illusion" that is "uniting the enemy against us."

      "It's time to bring the troops home," he said.

      Republicans were looking to lock horns with Democrats
      after Murtha's remarks.

      Rather than distancing themselves from Friday's
      resolution, House majority leader Roy Blunt,
      R-Missouri, welcomed a debate and vote, forcing
      Democrats to stand alongside Murtha or go on record
      against the withdrawal.

      Meanwhile, at least 90 people were killed in two
      suicide bombings in Iraq, according to hospital
      officials. The U.S. military put the casualties at
      150, without giving a breakdown.

      The deadliest of the attacks took place in Khanaqin, a
      Shiite-Kurdish town about 60 miles (100 kilometers)
      northeast of Baquba. Two suicide bombers detonated
      bombs near or inside Shiite Muslim mosques, destroying
      both of the structures, Iraqi and U.S. authorities

      Scores of people were killed.

      The attacks came during midday prayer services, when
      the mosques were full of worshippers, many of them
      children, the Khanaqin mayor said.

      Also Friday, two suicide car bombings in Baghdad
      killed at least six people near a hotel, police said.

      The hotel is near the Iraqi Interior Ministry
      compound, where about 170 detainees were found last
      weekend, some with signs of torture, according to
      Iraqi officials. There were no reports of damage to
      the compound, and the U.S. military said the hotel was
      the target of the attack.

      Rumsfeld has yet to sign Casey's withdrawal plan but,
      the senior defense official said, implementation of
      the plan, if approved, would start after the December
      15 Iraqi elections so as not to discourage voters from
      going to the polls.

      The plan, which would withdraw a limited amount of
      troops during 2006, requires that a host of milestones
      be reached before troops are withdrawn.

      Top Pentagon officials have repeatedly discussed some
      of those milestones: Iraqi troops must demonstrate
      that they can handle security without U.S. help; the
      country's political process must be strong; and
      reconstruction and economic conditions must show signs
      of stability.

      CNN's Dana Bash, Arwa Damon, Enes Dulami and Mohammed
      Tawfeeq contributed to this report.
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