WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Associated Press has learned that President Bush plans to keep the number of U.S. troops in Iraq near the current level through the end of the year, then bring home up to 8,000 combat and support troops by mid-January.
In a speech on Tuesday, Bush is expected to announce that he will maintain the current U.S. forces -- that's roughly 145,000 troops, including 15 combat brigades and thousands of support forces -- through the final full year of his administration.
He is also expected to announce a further drawdown of troops, in the range of 7,500 to 8,000, in January.
Officials familiar with the president's expected announcement described it on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
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