100,000 U.S. troops could leave soon: Iraq president
By Susan Cornwell | October 7, 2007
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - At least 100,000 U.S. troops could return home from Iraq by the end of 2008, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said in an interview aired on Sunday, although he proposed that several American military bases stay in Iraq.
Speaking on CNN television, Talabani envisioned faster U.S. troop reductions than U.S. commanders have discussed in public. But he stressed that the pace of withdrawal was up to those commanders and did not explain w hy he foresaw a faster pullout.
Probably the Kurds just want us out of there [Talabani is Kurdish] because they are gearing up to start pumping and [more importantly] selling oil. They've already signed several prodution sharing agreements, and expect to sign more of them shortly. The rest of Iraq has been recalcitrant about signing onto the BushCheney Oil Law -- PSAs for All! -- but the Kurds, who are living on top of about 40% of Iraq's oil, are gung ho on them. Perhaps the Bush administration is counting on a Kurdish President, one whose province is [soon to be] making money hand over fist, to sucker the rest of the Iraqis into following suit.
It would certainly help the Republican Party in the 2008 elections if all that happened.
Of course, the part that I hate is that my little project of the past week has now been scooped [but you get to hear about it anyway].
Just how fast could we leave Iraq?
Not so long ago, the Democratic candidates were all tripping over each other to be the one who was least precipitous. Three months! No, six months! No, a year! No, two years! We can't possibly move 150,000 troops in anything less than a [pick one] time frame.
I call horsefeathers. Some nice round numbers for ya: we have 160,000 troops in Iraq, we can move 4000 troops/day [3000-3500 regularly, nearly 5000 if we try harder] = 40 days. And that's bringing a few hundred tons of cargo along for the ride each time too.
According to all those daily airpower summaries, Air Force C-17s [of which there are 150 total] and C-130s [314 total] have been doing all the heavy lifting [!], but the Air Force has also got 111 C-5s. That's 575 big fat aircraft, each of which can carry, give or take, 100 troops at a time. Plus, the Navy's got some C-130s, though they're not saying how many. That's 57,500+ people in one swell foop.
So, if we really got in a hurry, if we decided to cut and run and leave a lot of stuff behind, if we pressed each one of those aircraft into service, and if each one flew once every 24 hours, we could be out of there in 2-3 days.
I'm just sayin'.
And just in case you were wondering: the Multi-National Force - Iraq has an official website.