All Combat Troops to be Out of Iraq in 19 Months

All Combat Troops to be Out of Iraq in 19 Months


Barack Obama’s early campaign was fueled, in part, by his opposition to the war in Iraq. Now, as president, he looks ready to live up to his promise to remove our troops from the nation we invaded almost six years ago.

Obama’s plan would pull out all combat troops 19 months after his inauguration, although he had promised repeatedly during the 2008 campaign that he would withdraw them 16 months after taking office. That schedule, based on removing roughly one brigade a month, was predicated on commanders determining that it would not endanger U.S. troops left behind or Iraq’s fragile security.

Really, I don’ t think Obama can be criticized by anti-war folk because he’s added three months onto his initial pledge. In fact, given that he now has access to information he lacked during the campaign, I’m surprised his withdrawal plan is so close to what he promised. I don’t know if this means the majority of commanders are in agreement that we can safely leave or if this means Obama is determined to follow through with removal of our troops, no matter the consequences.

I have always tried to view the Iraq situation in the present tense, looking at the situation as it is now and not as it was when we invaded or how I ardently wish it might be in the future. For a long time, I opposed withdrawal because I found the idea too reckless, more likely to cause greater turmoil than to bring any semblance of lasting peace. But with the success of the surge and other anti-insurgent policies (both American and Iraqi), we may have reached a point where the drawdown of our forces will not threaten Iraq’s or the greater region’s stability.

Once the redeployment of combat troops begins, we will get a better sense whether or not their absence is causing more problems than it’s solving. I hope to God we can get our men and women out of there without setting off another crisis. President Obama makes a good case that he knows what he is doing. I just hope he keeps a steady hand on the situation.

  • mw

    Excellent news. All good. But, as you know, this timetable was set by Maliki and Iraq last summer, and has little to do with Obama’s promise. But that is as it should be. They stood up. We stand down. Done and Done. I’m just glad we are getting out of there.

  • kaddie

    hooray, it’s almost over. thank god obama seems to be a man of his word so unlike the last president

  • ExiledIndependent

    How is this any different than the plan Bush had in place when he left? This isn’t execution of a new policy, this is another holdover from the Bush administration.

  • Scott Jones

    Ditto MW
    It’s all good.
    If we’re out by the time the next campaign for Prez ramps up, it will be a success.

  • Jimmy the Dhimmi

    These are combat troops, which have already been reduced substantially, and we will have a permanent military presence there like we do in Korea or Germany.

    Remember that Obama chastised McCain for suggesting this during the presidential campaign.

  • kranky kritter

    Jimmi, you beat me to it! Isn’t the 64k question how many “non-combat” troops will remain?

    Here’s what I want to know: how many of the TOTAL American troops now in Iraq will be leaving Iraq in the next 19 months? And of those, how many are coming home?