We believe at some point, in order to break this dependence on the ... coalition, you simply have to back off and let the Iraqis step forward. You have to undercut the perception of occupation in Iraq. It's very difficult to do that when you have 150,000-plus, largely western, foreign troops occupying the country.
... I will tell you this, as the operation officer of Centcom, if a year from now I've got to call on all those army troops that General Schoomaker [US army chief of staff, who said his office was planning so troop levels could be maintained until 2009] is prepared to provide, I won't feel real good about myself.
-- Maj Gen Douglas Lute, newly-appointed War Czar, then-director of operations at US Central Command, Financial Times, August 24, 2005