He announced today that they’re extending the tours of active-duty soldiers from 12 months to 15, which he claims is a way to make sure everyone has a full year at home when their tours are up. That imagines troops returning to Iraq in 2008 (or 2009), but that shouldn’t come as a surprise: all but the most dovish Democratic withdrawal plans provide for a substantial non-combat force in country to train the Iraqi army that’s going to disintegrate once we pull out.
Like I say, the formal announcement was today, but the informal announcement came two days ago when someone inside the building leaked it to ABC News. No particular reason why, as far as I can tell; they simply wanted to embarrass Bush by sandbagging the troops and their families with the news before they could be personally notified by their commanders. Which brings us to this vintage slow burn.
Apropos of nothing, I think the reporter who asked the question here was Pam Hess.