The US Army has plans that would keep the current level of troops in Iraq, about 15 brigades, through 2010, the top Army officer said Wednesday.
The Army chief of staff, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, cautioned that people not read too much into the planning, because it is easier to pull back forces than to get units prepared and deployed at the last minute.
"This is not a prediction that things are going poorly or better," Schoomaker told reporters. "It's just that I have to have enough ammo in the magazine that I can continue to shoot as long as they want us to shoot."
President George W. Bush acknowledged in a news conference Wednesday that "these are tough times" in Iraq, where sectarian violence has surged recently. But, he added, "It is in our interests that Iraq succeed."