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Gen. Jones: ‘Yes,’ we can begin to withdraw from Iraq.

In a House Armed Services Committee hearing this afternoon, Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) asked Gen. James Jones to comment on his report’s recommendation that the U.S. should reduce its footprint in Iraq. The Jones report suggests “significant reductions” in the “size of our national footprint in Iraq.” Skelton asked Jones if this is a call to reduce troop levels, and Jones answered yes:

JONES: [W]e can consider taking a look at our footprint, taking a look at how many people we have in Iraq, how many bases we have, how many locations we have, and begin to think about ways in which we can realign the force, retask the force, and even remission it, so that we can gradually adjust our footprint and our military commanders can do it.

SKELTON: Does that mean reduce?

JONES: Sir?

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SKELTON: Does that mean reduce our force?

JONES: It means — it means finding efficiencies and it means — yes, it means making a candid assessment of who’s over there, who absolutely needs to be there, critically, and making sure that we are operating at peak efficiency and don’t have excessive capacity simply over there because it’s their time to go.

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