President Obama is expected to announce this week that he will withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by August 2010, but reports say he will initially leave a residual force of 30,000 to 50,000 troops to “train the Iraqi military, conduct targeted counterterrorism operations and protect American personnel and assets.” Yesterday on the Rachel Maddow show, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made clear that she wanted far fewer residual troops than this:
MADDOW: Fifty thousand seem like an awful large residual force?
PELOSI: It does. It does. I completely agree with that. And I don’t — the president hasn’t made the statement. … And I don’t know the justification is for a presence of 50,000 troops in Iraq. I do think that there is a need for some, and I don’t know that all of them have to be in the country. They can be platformed outside. … I would think one-third of that, maybe 20,000, maybe more than one-third, 15,000 or 20,000.