WASHINGTON - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton prodded the Pentagon Wednesday to plan quickly for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq — a politically loaded contingency that military leaders have avoided discussing.
The Democratic presidential candidate, whose recent statements have made her own position murky on when the bulk of U.S. troops should leave Iraq, urged top military brass in a private meeting and a public letter to detail how they would bring forces home.
The New York senator met privately with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Peter Pace late Tuesday, and sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates urging military leaders to begin such planning if they haven't already.
The move by Clinton follows word from Baghdad that Iraqi military officials are drawing up plans for the possibility of a withdrawal of U.S. forces, and a failure by congressional Democrats to muster enough votes for legislation forcing a timed withdrawal.
Clinton now wants the Pentagon to brief lawmakers on their withdrawal contingency plans.
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