Iraq Tours to be Cut Even if Troop Reductions are Suspended

A U.S. army soldier from Apache Troop, 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division using night-vision goggles stands guard in the area of Haleel, south of Baghdad, Iraq, late Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
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Capitol Hill (AP) Even if President Bush decides to suspend troop reductions for the second half of the year, the army's top general says he hopes to reduce combat tours for soldiers in Iraq.

General George Casey today told a senate panel that he hopes to reduce the tours from 15 months to 12 months this summer. He says the army has been left “out of balance” from years of war-fighting and must reduce the length of combat tours as soon as possible.

Casey says he anticipates the service can cut combat tours from 15 months to 12 months this summer, as long as the president reduces the number of active-duty army brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan to 15 units by July, as planned.