Guatemala City: The White House has confirmed that Pentagon planners are preparing a plan for a phased pullout of US troops from Iraq in case the current “surge” strategy fails or is undercut by Congress.
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe cited Secretary of Defence Robert Gates saying it would be irresponsible for the US to not have considered a fallback plan if the current escalation in troop levels fails to achieve the goal of quelling violence in the country.
“Gates addressed this last week, that it would be negligent not to be thinking about various possible outcomes for the future,” he said.
Gates and the US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, “have addressed this repeatedly. We’re focused on the current plan that is just getting started. It will take several months before we are able to assess results”, he said.
Speaking from Guatemala, where President George W. Bush was on the latest stop of his Latin America tour, Johndroe was addressing a report in the Los Angeles Times that the US had developed an alternative pullout strategy based in part on the US experience in El Salvador in the 1980s.
During the 1981-92 El Salvador civil war, the US deployed a small contingent of 55 Special Forces Green Berets to aid the Salvadoran military in its fight against leftist rebels.