18 Months Ago, SecDef Nominee Gates Suggested U.S. Withdrawal ‘In A Year or Two’

GatesYesterday, President Bush nominated former CIA Director Robert Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense. Speaking at the Leon Panetta institute in May 2005, Gates expressed hope for a relatively rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops:

We all hope that it will be quick. That in a year or two the — this government in Iraq will be secure enough that they will be able to invite us to leave and we can do so, leaving behind us a government that can survive and that will be very different from what preceded it.

That was 18 months ago. Since that time, Iraq has formed a government. Gates has also been serving on the Iraq Study Group. The LA Times reports that group may recommend “withdrawing American troops in phases.”