There are alot of stories floating around online like this.
However, they never mention in the same breath these facts:
BLITZER: So what is a realistic number for the spring -- 139,000 going down to what?
AL-RUBAIE: Let me give you some, well, figures or approximate figures. Of course, these figures are going to be condition-based. Because until and unless the right conditions are created in some of these areas, the multinational forces will not leave, and the Iraqi government will not ask them to leave.
But if we create -- and we are working very hard to create these conditions in some of these provinces and some of the regions as well as districts -- when these conditions are right, then we will ask the multinational forces to leave these areas.
I would have a guess of a very good number in tens of thousands will leave in the first part, in the first half of next year. And a considerable number of the multinational forces will probably leave Iraq before the end of next year.
BLITZER: So, in other words, it would go down from 139,000 to what, let's say, by next summer, a year from now? What would be a realistic number?
AL-RUBAIE: I wouldn't like to guess a figure because I think this will play into the terrorists hands, as well as it's unfair.
There are so many factors who are playing in this process. And one of it is the training of our Iraqi security forces, and the other is the level of insurgency and the level of violence and the terrorism, our evaluation of our enemies and our Iraqi security forces.
There are so many factors who are variables. There are so many are variables in this process. I don't think we should guess numbers here.
BLITZER: The vice chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, who will become the new chairman, said this past week, he said, "Only a small number of Iraqi security forces are taking on the insurgents and terrorists by themselves" -- a small percentage.
How many Iraqi troops and police forces are fully capable of operating right now without U.S. or multinational coalition assistance?
AL-RUBAIE: Admittedly the number -- I wouldn't go into percentages. But let me tell you something. By December, we will have a total number of our Iraqi security forces including Iraqi policemen, a new Iraqi army, and counterterrorism, special forces. They're going to be in the region of 200,000-plus.
BLITZER: But of that 200,000-plus, how many of them are fully capable right now to operate without U.S. assistance?
AL-RUBAIE: We hope by the end of the year probably more than a third of this security force, Iraqi security force, are going to be able to operate independently. And obviously, you will need the multinational forces to stay over the horizon, just in case they need the help, and they would get the help.
So, it looks like PROGESS IN IRAQ. Permanent U.S. bases in Iraq may not even be necessary. Looks like the left wing kooks, even by their own admission, were WRONG.