In a joint press conference with his British counterpart, the President announced that both
governments will begin withdrawing troops from Iraq as early as this month. The phased
withdrawal calls for reducing the force level to around half its current strength by June,
culminating in a complete withdrawal by December. The announcement comes on the heels
of a statement from the Iraqi Prime Minister that he no longer feels that US forces are
needed in most of his provinces.
The withdrawal is officially being described as a "transition", focusing on US-trained Iraqi
security forces taking control of the country. Although there have been more than 5,000 US
servicemen lost since the war began in 2003, there has been sharp decline in fatalities in
the last few months, with only two deaths occurring in the last thirty days. A spokesman
for the Defense department said that it was expected that 70 percent of the Iraqi army was
expected to be in control of its own sectors by the end of the year.