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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Odierno: US to Withdraw 4,000 More Troops from Iraq

By VOA News
30 September 2009

The U.S. commander in Iraq plans to tell Congress the military is sending 4,000 more troops home from Iraq next month.

Army General Ray Odierno is scheduled to testify Wednesday to the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee about the transition of security responsibilities from the U.S. military to Iraqi forces ahead of a planned U.S. combat force withdrawal next year.

In a prepared remarks for Wednesday's testimony, General Odierno says the U.S. will reduce the number of troops in Iraq from 124,000 to 120,000. He says the deliberate reduction will not sacrifice security in the country.

His testimony comes as members of Congress are increasingly worried about the ability of Iraq's military and police to handle the security burden.

Earlier this month, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill, addressed lawmakers who questioned whether Iraqi military forces have matured enough to handle the security responsibilities. Hill expressed confidence in the capabilities of Iraq's military.

Speaking during a visit to Iraq earlier this month, Vice President Joe Biden described General Odierno as "optimistic" for thinking that Iraqi forces will be ready to take over from U.S. troops.

A U.S. military surge in Iraq, ordered by former President George W. Bush, is credited with bringing about a period of stability, particularly in Baghdad and other cities. Violence has fallen significantly in Iraq since then, although insurgent attacks still are common.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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