Shays, long a supporter of the war and previously an opponent of withdrawal timetables, said he hopes to offer a specific time frame after he holds congressional hearings on Iraq next month. Few other congressional Republicans have supported setting a timeline.
"Our troops cannot be there indefinitely," Shays said Thursday from London during a telephone conference call with reporters after his 14th visit to Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
"We should be able to tell the American people what kind of timeline we can have to begin to draw down our troops," he said. "It may be a timeline the American people don't want to hear. It may not be something that brings them out quickly."
Shays has come under fire for his support of the Iraq war from Democratic challenger Diane Farrell in a race widely seen as a showdown on the war.
"I don't think Chris needed to go to Iraq 14 times to know it's a mess," she said. "To have a time line, there needs to be an exit plan. There's no exit strategy."
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