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WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is supporting a plan that would keep 3,000 to 4,000 American troops in Iraq after a deadline for their withdrawal at year’s end, but only to continue training security forces there, a senior military official said on Tuesday.
The recommendation would break a longstanding pledge by President Obama to withdraw all American forces from Iraq by the deadline. But it would still involve significantly fewer forces than proposals presented at the Pentagon in recent weeks by the senior American commander in Iraq, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, to keep as many as 14,000 to 18,000 troops there.
It also reflected the tension between Mr. Obama’s promise to bring all American forces home and the widely held view among commanders that Iraq is not yet able to provide for its own security.
Mr. Obama, it's time to kick the chicks out of the nest. They'll either plummet to the ground or fly on their own. But they are their own people. Let them live their own lives.