July 2011 Deadline Might Bring Home Just ‘A Few Thousand’ Troops

By Evan Harris

Jul 18, 2010 9:00am

How many troops will come home from America’s longest war when we reach that July 2011 deadline for a “transition?” In an EXCLUSIVE interview with This Week anchor Jake Tapper, Vice President Biden said “It could be as few as a couple thousand troops.”

Tapper asked the Vice President about his remarks that appeared in Jonathan Alter’s new book, The Promise. “In July of 2011 you’re going to see a whole lot of people moving out. Bet on it,” the Vice President told Alter.

Biden clarified: “If you read three or four paragraphs above that, Jonathan was making a very valid point.  He was saying a lot in the military think they outmaneuvered the president to render the July date meaningless.  And I was saying that’s simply not true.”

“The military signed on.  Petraeus signed on.  Everybody signed onto not a deadline, but a transition, a beginning of a transition,” Biden said.

Tapper pressed him – but what did he mean when he said “a whole lot of people” would be “moving out” of Afghanistan?

“What I was responding to was the idea that the president had been outmaneuvered.  I was saying make it clear.  And so it — it wasn’t so much numbers I meant.  It could be as few as a couple thousand troops.  It could be more.  But there will be a transition,” Biden said.



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