Iraq Study group will recommend "pull back"

From NYT:

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group reached a consensus on Wednesday on a final report that will call for a gradual pullback of the 15 American combat brigades now in Iraq but stop short of setting a firm timetable for their withdrawal, according to people familiar with the panel’s deliberations.

The report, unanimously approved by the 10-member panel, led by James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, is to be delivered to President Bush next week. It is a compromise between distinct paths that the group has debated since March, avoiding a specific timetable, which has been opposed by Mr. Bush, but making it clear that the American troop commitment should not be open-ended. The recommendations of the group, formed at the request of members of Congress, are nonbinding.

A person who participated in the commission’s debate said that unless the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki believed that Mr. Bush was under pressure to pull back troops in the near future, “there will be zero sense of urgency to reach the political settlement that needs to be reached.”

The report recommends that Mr. Bush make it clear that he intends to start the withdrawal relatively soon, and people familiar with the debate over the final language said the implicit message was that the process should begin sometime next year.

The report leaves unstated whether the 15 combat brigades that are the bulk of American fighting forces in Iraq would be brought home, or simply pulled back to bases in Iraq or in neighboring countries. (A brigade typically consists of 3,000 to 5,000 troops.) From those bases, they would still be responsible for protecting a substantial number of American troops who would remain in Iraq, including 70,000 or more American trainers, logistics experts and members of a rapid reaction force.  more

US settles in wrongful arrest

From CNN.com:

An Oregon lawyer wrongly arrested and accused of involvement in the 2004 Madrid train bombings has settled a lawsuit against the U.S. government for $2 million, attorneys told CNN on Wednesday.

Brandon Mayfield was arrested in Portland, Oregon, on a material witness warrant in May 2004, less than two months after the train bombings.

The settlement was confirmed by both sides. It was reached Tuesday during a conference with a federal judge, attorneys said.

The FBI identified Mayfield’s fingerprint on a blue plastic bag containing detonators found in a van used by the bombers. However, the FBI’s fingerprint identification was wrong and Mayfield was released several days later.

Mayfield and his family later sued the U.S. government for damages. The Portland-area attorney contended that he was a victim of profiling because he is a Muslim convert. more