Associated Press - September 11, 2007 6:33 AM ET
PENTAGON (AP) - General David Petraeus is not the first Iraq war commander to spell out a wind-down plan.
Just over a year ago, his predecessor, General George Casey, was forced to scrap a planned troop reduction and the surge soon followed.
Although Petraeus is saying that 6,000 troops could be home by Christmas, getting back to the pre-surge level will take until next summer.
Some 168,000 troops now in Iraq represent the highest level of the war. And active-duty soldiers are serving 15-month tours -- the longest of the war.
Petraeus says the strain on the military, with thousands of troops having served multiple combat tours, helped "inform" his decision to recommend to President Bush that force levels be reduced.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.