The Joint Chiefs of Staff, says its chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, has a “physics problem.”
According to a 2008 accord between the United States and Iraq, the US military is to be evacuated from Mesopotamia -- down to the last tank mechanic and dishwasher -- by the close of the calendar year. Lately, there have been hints that Iraq might want a “residual force” of as many as 12,000 troops to stay, but nothing firm.
Hence Mullen’s dilemma: How does the Pentagon plan for withdrawing its personnel and equipment when it doesn’t know for sure how many soldiers will be leaving? There are only so many C-130s to load and so much time in which to load them.