Obama Announces Iraq Withdrawal Plans

Making good on his campaign promise, today President Obama announced that all U. S. troops will have been withdrawn from Iraq by August 2011 and all “combat bridades” will have been withdrawn by August 2010:

In remarks prepared for delivery at Camp Lejeune, Mr. Obama said, “Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.

“As we carry out this drawdown, my highest priority will be the safety and security of our troops and civilians in Iraq,” he said . “We will proceed carefully, and I will consult closely with my military commanders on the ground and with the Iraqi government. There will surely be difficult periods and tactical adjustments. But our enemies should be left with no doubt: this plan gives our military the forces and the flexibility they need to support our Iraqi partners, and to succeed.”

He added: “Under the Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government, I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. We will complete this transition to Iraqi responsibility, and we will bring our troops home with the honor that they have earned.”

I think that’s appropriate. Casualty levels among U. S. troops in Iraq and among Iraqi civilians have fallen dramatically over the last year and a half. Indeed, current U. S. military casualty levels in Iraq aren’t enormously higher than the casualties that the Pentagon would expect in a force of its size stateside (75/year/100K). The country is undeniably calmer than it was. And it’s time for us to start leaving.

We’ll have to wait to see how “combat brigades” is defined, if the country remains stable as U. S. forces draw down, and whether troops are redeployed stateside, to Afghanistan, or to some other location.

Meanwhile, I think I should remind everyone of the story of the caliph, the grand vizier, and the donkey.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. mike says:

    I have seen too many promises for too long – I will believe it when I see it. I think that we will reduce but not this low – some “condition on the ground” will cause him to back off as the deadline nears.

  2. jeanette says:

    There are 50,000 troops that will be staying on in Iraq long after the troop withdrawel, Obama lies again.

  3. tom p says:

    Remember the good old days? Like 4 months ago, when the word from the right was “Obama would rather lose a war, than lose an election.”

    Strange how nobody on the right is making that claim now. Hell!, even John “100 years” McCain likes the plan!

    There are 50,000 troops that will be staying on in Iraq long after the troop withdrawel, Obama lies again.

    They (the Obama people) say this is exactly what he said all along and I seem to recall something similar (but maybe I am wrong), but I have very little desire to spend the time necessary to prove him a liar. Maybe, seeing as you are so quick to make an unfounded accusation, you would like to do the necessary research to back it up?

  4. Brett says:

    Interesting parable – is the moral of the story that promises amounting to something happening 10-15 years down the road are more or less nothing more than empty wind?

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    I think that it has two morals. The first is that a lot can happen in a year. The second is that it’s better to view the future with equanimity rather than to stew about it.