The New York Times reports the Defense Department is supporting a plan that would keep up to 4,000 American troops in Iraq after a withdrawal deadline at the end of the year. That would go against a promise by the Obama Administration to have all forces out of the country by the deadline, but it also is a much lower level than the 14,000 troops that military commanders want on the ground.
South Carolina’s U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham took the Senate floor this afternoon to support the commanders
“I would just urge this administration to listen to our military leaders and finish this right. It would be a tragedy upon a tragedy for us to be inside the 10 yard line and fumble,” Graham told the Senate today.
“Having said that, I know most Americans want our troops to come home, include me in that group. We’re going to go to 50,000 to zero at the end of this year if something new doesn’t happen. I am confident that the Iraqis want our presence in a reasoned way,” he added.
The 4,000 troops plan is not finalized, but those soldiers would likely be involved in training Iraqi security forces.
Graham says they need help with intelligence, combat airplanes and training, as well as counter-terrorism.
Senators Graham, McCain and Lieberman teamed up on the Senate floor today to argue for continued troop and intelligence support in Iraq.