Representative Tom Udall, a Democrat, said the United States should "redeploy" troops to positions outside Iraq by the end of the year, sending a strong message to the Iraqis that they are responsible for their own government and security.
Visiting Iraq with a group that included Senator John McCain and Senator Russell Feingold, Udall told reporters on a conference call Saturday that the Iraqis have made significant progress. But the US has become "bogged down in Iraq," and he is very concerned about how long troops will be needed in the country if they are not removed soon.
"The longer we say, as President Bush did this week, that we're going to be there until 2009, what incentive is there for the Iraqis to step forward?" said Udall, who voted against going to war and who has advocated rapid troop withdrawal for many months.
On Saturday, Udall used the term "redeploy" instead of "withdraw," explaining US forces should be moved to Kuwait and nearby nations to "get the best result for our troops and the Iraqis."