New York City: U.S. May Bring Troops Home if Violence Low:
WASHINGTON -- U.S. forces in Iraq could begin coming home in significant numbers if insurgent violence is low through the general elections scheduled for the end of the year, a top general said Wednesday.
A larger and more capable insurgency, setbacks in the efforts to develop Iraq security forces, or missed deadlines by the transitional government could delay any significant drawdown, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Lance Smith.
Smith, the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, which has military authority over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, commented in an interview with reporters at the Pentagon.
'(If) the elections go O.K., violence stays down, then we ought to be able to make some recommendations ... for us to be able to bring our forces home,' Smith said.
Smith is the latest senior general to express conditional optimism about improvements in Iraq since the Jan. 30 elections. Previously, officials had spoken very little about prospects for withdrawal of the tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq. "