Twelve members of the Senate Armed Services Committee are pressing for a hearing on the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq by year's end.

In a letter to Chairman Carl Levin on Wednesday, the lawmakers said the complete withdrawal of American troops likely will be seen as a "strategic victory by our enemies in the Middle East," especially Iran. They said military commanders have told them of the need for a U.S. presence in Iraq beyond this year. They asked for a hearing with administration officials.

Signing the letter was the panel's top Republican, Sen. John McCain, 10 other Republicans and independent Joe Lieberman.

President Barack Obama has announced that the long and costly war will be over by year's end, with some 40,000 U.S. troops returning home.