U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) today released the following statement regarding media reports that the Obama Administration has sharply reduced the number of U.S. troops it is considering for the post-2011 security force in Iraq:
"We are deeply troubled by media reports that the Obama Administration has sharply reduced the number of U.S. troops it is proposing for the post-2011 security force in Iraq to approximately 3,000. This is dramatically lower than what our military leaders have consistently told us over the course of repeated visits to Iraq that they require, and that is needed to support Iraq in safeguarding the hard-won gains that our two nations have achieved at such great cost. In particular, we are very concerned by the prospect that a follow-on force might lack the capabilities and authorities necessary to help Iraqis ensure stability across the disputed territories in northern Iraq, which we consider an essential mission. We urge the Administration to work urgently with Iraqi authorities to reach an agreement that reflects the best military advice of U.S. commanders on the ground and allows the U.S. to safeguard our national interest in Iraq's stability."