As expected, President Bush announced today that tours of duty for American forces in Iraq would be shortened to 12 months from 15. But he gave no indication that there would be significant troop withdrawals before he left office, predicting more sacrifices “for some time to come.” Earlier today, former Secretary of State Colin Powell echoed recent concerns of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (noted in our editorial today) that high troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot be sustained without hurting military readiness. Powell said that whichever candidate becomes president next year “will face a military force that cannot continue to sustain 140,000 people deployed in Iraq and the 20 (thousand) odd or 25,000 people we have deployed in Afghanistan and our other deployments.”
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