Officials: Defense Department to order 30,000 US troops to Iraq in 2009

The Associated Press has learned that the Defense Department is preparing to send roughly 30,000 troops to Iraq early next year. The move would replace troops in Iraq and allow the US to maintain 15 combat brigades in the country through 2009. That change, however, depending on whether Gen. David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq, decides later this year to further reduce troop levels in Iraq. Several officials familiar with the deployments spoke on condition of anonymity because the orders have not yet been made public.