Petraeus "Surge" So Successful Officials Ponder Accelerated Troop Withdrawals

Gen. David Petraeus's surge has been so successful in reducing violence that some officials at the Pentagon and the State Department, not to mention in the Democratic Congress are wondering whether Petraeus can accelerate his timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Petraeus summarized the good news about security in an interview Tuesday in his office in the Republican Palace. He described the remarkable improvements since the U.S. troop surge reached full strength over the summer. Behind him was a chart outlining his "anaconda strategy" against al-Qaeda. Like the giant snake, Petraeus said, the American military is destroying its prey by "squeezing, squeezing, squeezing."

The U.S. commander said the level of violence in Iraq is down about 60 percent from summer's peak in every major category overall attacks, U.S. casualties and Iraqi civilian casualties. In Anbar province, once the epicenter of the insurgency, the number of attacks has fallen from 1,350 in October 2006 to fewer than 100 per month. Last week, there were just 12 attacks in Anbar.

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