http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051224/ap_on_re_mi_ea/rumsfeld For reasons that should be apparent, I'm not so sure the adminstration shouldn't just say, 'Hey Congress, we got everyone in place and in jail. You take over from here. ' It's obvious that no one can do it right enough, fast enough, or appropriately enough. Links at site: Rumsfeld: U.S. to Reduce Troops in Iraq By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer 26 minutes ago Just days after Iraq's elections, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Friday announced the first of what is likely to be a series of U.S. combat troop drawdowns in Iraq in 2006. Rumsfeld, addressing U.S. troops at this former insurgent stronghold, said President Bush has authorized new cuts below the 138,000 level that has prevailed for most of this year. Rumsfeld did not reveal the exact size of the cut, but the Pentagon said the reductions would be about 7,000 troops, about the size of two combat brigades. The Pentagon has not announced a timetable for troop reductions, but indications are that the force could be cut significantly by the end of 2006. That could include substantial reductions well before the November midterm congressional elections, in which Bush's war policies seem certain to be a major issue. The announcement won praise from congressional Democrats, who also used it to prod President Bush to go even further. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was glad Bush was "beginning to hear the calls" of the American public and lawmakers who want more detail on the administration's objectives in Iraq. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she hoped the reduction "will quickly be followed by others that will result in all U.S. combat forces being redeployed from Iraq next year." Rumsfeld said two Army brigades that had been scheduled for combat tours one from Fort Riley, Kan., the other now in Kuwait would no longer deploy to Iraq. That would reduce the number of combat brigades in Iraq from 17 to 15. "The effect of these adjustments will reduce forces in Iraq by the spring of 2006 below the current high of 160,000 during the (Iraqi) election period to below the 138,000 baseline that had existed before the most recent elections," the defense secretary said. Under the plan, only portions of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division, now stationed at Fort Riley, would go to Iraq to provide security and help train the country's security forces, the Pentagon said. The 2nd Brigade of the 1st Armored Division, now in Kuwait, would remain there for an undetermined time, based on conditions in Iraq. Further reductions will be considered "at some point in 2006," after the new Iraqi government is in place and is prepared to discuss the future U.S. military presence, Rumsfeld added. The Pentagon sent an extra 20,000 troops to Iraq to bolster security during the recent elections, and Rumsfeld has previously said those 20,000 would be withdrawn in January to return U.S. force levels to a 138,000 baseline. Friday's announcement marks the first time Rumsfeld has said troop levels will dip below that baseline. Rumsfeld has said repeatedly that troop reductions depend on political progress in Iraq and improvements in Iraq's own security forces. Later, the defense secretary flew to Amman to visit a military training center outside the Jordanian capital where a small number of Iraqis are trained in commando skills. He watched Jordanian special operations soldiers in a mock assault on a building, using live ammunition, and then spoke to a group who are among the 92 undergoing training now. Rumsfeld told them their work is important to eventually allowing U.S. troops to leave their country. "The United States and the coalition countries are anxious to turn over the security responsibilities to the Iraqis as soon as we are able to do so," said Rumsfeld, who arrived in the country Thursday for his 11th visit since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Bush is under growing pressure from the Republican-run Congress to cut U.S. forces in Iraq. The conflict's acceptance by American voters has plummeted as the war's toll has mounted to more than 2,100 U.S. war dead and 15,000 wounded. Bush, Rumsfeld and other administration officials have said a withdrawal would begin when the U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces show sufficient signs of being able to defend the country against insurgents. There were 159,000 U.S. troops in Iraq on Thursday. Iraq on Oct. 15 held a constitutional referendum, and on Dec. 15 held elections for a full-term government. For the first time since the insurgency took hold in Iraq in midsummer 2003, Rumsfeld was spending the night in the country. He previously had made Iraq day trips but spent the night in other countries in the region.