Yesterday, 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.”