February 25th, 2009
11:18 AM ET

Withdrawal from Iraq in 19 months?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/25/obama.iraq/art.iraq.afp.gi.jpg caption="U.S. soldiers stand guard outside a mosque during a prisoner release Sunday in Baghdad, Iraq."]

Barbara Starr
Pentagon Correspondent

President Obama is expected to approve a proposal to withdraw most combat troops from Iraq within 19 months, Pentagon officials told CNN Wednesday.

Although no decision has been announced by the White House, "That's the way the wind is blowing," a Pentagon official said.

A White House spokesman said the president has made no final decisions about Iraq policy.

Obama's campaign pledge was to withdraw combat troops within 16 months. But shortly after taking office, he asked Pentagon and military commanders for an analysis of other time frames.

The Pentagon sent Obama options for withdrawals at 16, 19, and 23 months.

It is expected that the final plan will call for the majority of combat forces to be withdrawn, and keep as many as 50,000 in Iraq to serve mainly as military trainers or advisers.

U.S. military officials said even those residual forces could find themselves in combat.

For the last two months, the U.S. Central Command has been assessing how equipment and personnel will be withdrawn from Iraq, according to a U.S. military official. Video Watch what Obama said Tuesday night about Iraq.

The official did not want to be named because of the sensitivity of discussing withdrawal details before the president's announcement. However, he said the U.S. military is looking at exit routes through Jordan and Kuwait.

The military is trying to determine what equipment might be returned to the United States; transferred to the Iraqi or Jordanian government; sent to Afghanistan; or simply discarded.

Filed under: Barbara Starr • Iraq • President Barack Obama
soundoff (10 Responses)

    It may work depending on conditions 19 months from now. If things get worse in that time, then we will have to go back or allow Al Qaeda to take over Iraq.

    February 25, 2009 at 9:19 pm |
  2. Annie Kate

    And how many of the soldiers are going to end up in Afghanistan rather than home? We need to get out of there completely.

    February 25, 2009 at 9:06 pm |
  3. Joanne Pacicca, Solvay, NY

    I think announcing the withdrawal that is a tax-payer money suck, is very smart! Let the Iraqis get their act together...they need the wake up call.

    February 25, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  4. keaasu

    Withdrawing the soldiers from Iraq is going to gradually take time and effort. The troops that are in the Middle East have displayed the loyalty and honor to be proud American soldiers.Pesident Barack Obama is expected to order all U.S. combat troops to leave Iraq by August of next year, administration officials said, closing the door on a war that has led to the deaths of at least 4,250 members of the U.S. military.About 142,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq, roughly 14 brigades, about 11,000 more than the total in Iraq when President George W. Bush announced in January 2007 that he would "surge" the force to put down the insurgency. He sent an additional 21,000 combat troops to Baghdad and Anbar province.The U.S. Troops should have been evacuated since their were no more leads to the initial cause of the war in iraq that had suggested that there are weapons of mass destruction which still have not been found.

    February 25, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  5. Mike, Syracuse NY

    And another promise bites the dust.

    February 25, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  6. Lawrence Swallow

    It just amazes me how discussion around Iraq is everything but relevant. It was Republican spending and fear mongering that put us in the deepest debt without assurances of how we're to be paid back for re-construction and building a "Democracy" for them. What a Joke this has all been. Even the Generals don't want to bring them back because they all get extra income as Danger pay, on foreign soil, etc. The military should be utilized in the US to help re-build infrastructure, and those who have gotten Richer since the Bush era should be made to create jobs for people at the median income level or face imprisonment. There is no such thing as 'credit confidence' since you cannot create money out of thin air. It is Gold that provides the foundation for Credit and the value of the Dollar. The Gold was stolen from the Native Nations in this country. Where is their payback for what this country has gained by theft of their resources?????

    February 25, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  7. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    We will rob Peter (Iraq) only to expand in Afghanistan (Paul)--it is a wash--we need to get out of the area "totally."

    February 25, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  8. Alyzabeth

    Why has Iraq been enjoying a surplus of billions of dollars and have yet to have the trained forces to protect their country? If we continue to do it for them, when will they ever be ready to protect their own country? How long do we train our own soldiers before we put them in Iraq?

    February 25, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  9. Heather,ca

    I dont think publicly announcing to the world the time frame of our withdrawl is very smart. We dont publicly announce when we invade during war. I just hope that was a estimate. Regardless of the various views of being in Iraq, not announcing a time frame is better for the security of our forces and the Iraqi forces.

    February 25, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  10. Michael C. McHugh

    Iraq is sort of an artificial country created by the British after World War I, and mainly it has only been held together by a monarchy or a dictatorship. Maybe the US should ask the British if they can find are suitable royals to install in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I's be surprised if it held together very long after we're finally out, but at least Obama will be able to say we did our best. We didn't just cut and run in a few months.

    We will probably have to keep some force in what's left of Iraq after we're gone, just to make sure that Al Qaeda doesn't use it as a base against the West and to prevent genocide against the Kurds.

    I doubt that anyone at this late date really expects that Iraq or Afghanistan are ever going to become like Denmark. Historically speaking, it just isn't in the cards for places like these to become nice middle class democracies, although who knows what might happen in the generations ahead, long after we're gone from the scene?

    February 25, 2009 at 11:35 am |

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