Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Monday publicly endorsed the concept of ordering a pause in troop withdrawals from Iraq this summer after the departure of five extra brigades deployed last year as part of the force increase. |NY Times|
Three possible explanations:
- "...a brief period of consolidation and evaluation probably does make sense.” (Gates)
- Things are deteriorating again in Iraq.
- Things would almost certainly deteriorate in Iraq were more troops to be withdrawn, and keeping the troops there over the summer will help prevent the Democrats from making the election a referendum on a failed war.
Which explanation seems best?