Hope and change: Obama to withdraw combat troops from Iraq by August 2010

posted at 5:00 pm on February 24, 2009 by Allahpundit

And so the great “timetable vs. conditions-based” debate finally ends, with security having improved so much as to make it largely irrelevant.

The United States will withdraw most of its troops from Iraq by August 2010, 19 months after President Barack Obama’s inauguration day, according to administration officials who expect Obama to make the announcement this week…

The U.S. military would leave behind a residual force, between 30,000 and 50,000 troops, to continue advising and training Iraqi security forces. Also staying beyond the 19 months would be intelligence and surveillance specialists and their equipment, including unmanned aircraft, according to two administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has not been made public…

The 19-month strategy is a compromise between commanders and advisers who are worried that security gains could backslide in Iraq and those who think the bulk of U.S. combat work is long since done.

Everyone will be out by 2011 per the SOFA between the U.S. and Iraq, unless security deteriorates in the interim. In that case, no doubt the agreement will be hastily amended and The One’s plans elegantly finessed, probably by slowing down the pace of withdrawal and tasking combat troops in the theater with nominal training duties so that they can be recharacterized as “residual” and he can claim to be keeping his promise. Obama’s “timetable” has always been conditions-based, at least with respect to residual troops, which helps explain why he and the Pentagon settled on the happy middle option in the game of multiple choice they were playing with respect to withdrawal deadlines. 19 months seems like a reasonable compromise and that’s what’s important now — the appearance of prudence, halfway between fulfilling his pledge to the left to get out and to the right not to get out too hastily. Exit question: To what extent is the speed of withdrawal tied to the economic recovery? If things bounce back quickly, the public will be forgiving about The One breaking his promise and pouring more money into a sustained presence in Iraq. If not…


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I guess we know where the jihadists will be vacationing during the summer of 2010.

HornetSting on February 24, 2009 at 5:03 PM

Notice the timing…right before the 2010 election. He is trying to get the satisfy code pink elements of the GOP. This is blanently politcal move and a sarchastic remark by me.

WashJeff on February 24, 2009 at 5:04 PM

that’s what’s important now — the appearance of prudence

The epee of wit

Vashta.Nerada on February 24, 2009 at 5:05 PM

It seems there’s a merit-based argument for it, so I don’t have too much of a problem, although I find the August 2010 timing suspicious (labor day ticker-tape parades across across America to tip-off the 2010 mid-term campaign, anyone?).

The real question is how many of our Armed Forces are redeployed to Afghanistan.

Robert_Paulson on February 24, 2009 at 5:07 PM

Wow…right in time for the mid-term elections. How could anybody believe there was anything even remotely political about it. He will most likely talk about all the security gains he made and how his superb leadership of forces made this all possible. He might even say that this is why he voted for the surge. :)

txaggie on February 24, 2009 at 5:07 PM

Also staying beyond the 19 months would be intelligence and surveillance specialists and their equipment, including unmanned aircraft, according to two administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has not been made public…

WTF!!! You don’t care if you tip our hand and let the bad guys know we still have troops and surveillance there but “you” want anonymity?

Grrr

hawkdriver on February 24, 2009 at 5:08 PM

All the above comments about timing…

The war to the Democrats was never anything except politics. Defense and victory meant nothing.

Bush won Iraq.

hawkdriver on February 24, 2009 at 5:11 PM

Maybe the troops will be home just in time for the civil war.

My collie says:

Whose side do you suppose that they will be on?

Hopefully? — God’s side.

CyberCipher on February 24, 2009 at 5:11 PM

This must be a gamble on his part, election not withstanding. If Iraq goes bad, and the chances of this happening are great–I wonder how he’ll wriggle out. That he will wriggle out though is for sure.

jeanie on February 24, 2009 at 5:12 PM

Democrats in May 2007:

HR 2237 “Requires within 90 days to commence the redeployment; and to complete such redeployment within 180 days after its commencement”

“This war is a terrible tragedy, and it is time to bring it to an end. This is a straightforward bill to redeploy our military forces from Iraq and to end the war in Iraq.” -May 2007

mankai on February 24, 2009 at 5:13 PM

a compromise between commanders and advisers

kinda makes you wonder what the advisers wanted…Im sure the looks on the commanders faces when they heard the suggestions was priceless.

RiteWingFascist on February 24, 2009 at 5:13 PM

No matter what the economy does, BO will have to appease his far left supporters… and staying in Iraq for two years or more ain’t gonna appease them.

bloggless on February 24, 2009 at 5:15 PM

Maybe now Barry can use the troops to secure Chicago.

DeweyWins on February 24, 2009 at 5:16 PM

I don’t suppose this has anything to do with his 2010 budget, either….

Wethal on February 24, 2009 at 5:16 PM

Our educational system will be (or is now) teaching Barack Obama’s historic victory in Iraq.

Star20 on February 24, 2009 at 5:17 PM

I think George Clooney had something to do with this.

bloggless on February 24, 2009 at 5:19 PM

He’s worse than the NY Slimes. How can you tell the enemy when troops will leave? Just hand Iran some more details. God help America and Iraq. We have an imbecile in the White House.

jencab on February 24, 2009 at 5:20 PM

Well, if the moron does it, you know it will hurt the country.

He sends troops to Afghanistan, where they will die in vain, and withdraws them from the most important country in the Middle East, which will then be overrun by Iran.

It’s far too obvious to think even an idiot like him can’t figure it out.

So it’s deliberate.

It’s 100% clear he has destroyed the economy, in just the first month. This new move is a stong indication that he wants to gut national security as well.

But you can’t call it a mistake when it’s done for a purpose.

notagool on February 24, 2009 at 5:21 PM

Obama to withdraw combat troops

needs an asterisk since 30-50,000 will remain in country… that is about 1 out of every 3 or 4 troops in place now…

Math rounding errors you can believe in

gatorboy on February 24, 2009 at 5:21 PM

Anyone wanna bet this is going to ake longer then 2010?

upinak on February 24, 2009 at 5:22 PM

From a centcom press release today

Violence in Iraq at lowest level in six years
WASHINGTON (Feb. 23, 2009) – Violent attacks in Iraq are at their lowest levels since August 2003, a U.S. commander in Iraq said Sunday.

Army Maj. Gen. David Perkins, director for strategic effects with Multi-National Force – Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad the downtick in violence marks a 90-percent decrease since the surge of U.S. troops began in 2007.

rob verdi on February 24, 2009 at 5:26 PM

needs an asterisk since 30-50,000 will remain in country… that is about 1 out of every 3 or 4 troops in place now…

Math rounding errors you can believe in

gatorboy on February 24, 2009 at 5:21 PM

like the MSM will report that tidbit, especially right before an election.

jp on February 24, 2009 at 5:26 PM

Who knows which country will be in worse shape by then, right Barry?

profitsbeard on February 24, 2009 at 5:28 PM

Is Obama required by law to show this plan to the enemy?

Christien on February 24, 2009 at 5:28 PM

We won the Iraq war, and created a real solution to prevent future 9/11 level attacks. Pres. Bush was right, the far-left was wrong. End of story.

Jason on February 24, 2009 at 5:29 PM

Somewhat O/T,

Doesn’t Barry get his reports for Afghanistan in April? Kind of late, in light of the new WOO pact.

Christien on February 24, 2009 at 5:31 PM

Oh, BTW lefties, this was Bush’s exit strategy:

Win then leave.

It seems to be working out pretty well.

29Victor on February 24, 2009 at 5:34 PM

I question the timing.

Why not Dec 2010 or right now? What’s so special about August 2010, other than the exquisitley, purely coincidental two-months of congressional campaigning in which the Democrats will try declaring that they “won” Iraq for America?

Good Lt on February 24, 2009 at 5:34 PM

The real question is how many of our Armed Forces are redeployed to Afghanistan.

The real question is how many of our Armed Forces are redeployed to AfghanistanManhatten, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, New Orleans, etc, etc…….

izoneguy on February 24, 2009 at 5:35 PM

Date: February 24, 1943
To: Emperor Hirohito/Adolf Hitler/Benito Mussolini

Dear Sirs:

Please be advised that the armed forces of the United States of America will quit the war at precisely 11:00 A.M., on November 11, 1943.

Wishing you a Happy and Merry Christmas.

Signed,
Franklin Delano Roosevelt,
President of the United States of America

OhEssYouCowboys on February 24, 2009 at 5:36 PM

Obama is aware of the ongoing logistics back pull going on thru Kuwait (saturated, can’t handle the load), Jordan, overland to Aqaba, also limited in ability to handle cargo) and Turkey, (we had to build a couple heavy-load bridges before we started moving equipment into Turkey to portside) and all the rest of the necessary parts of the drawdown, right? And airlift, air mission cycles and costs for all that involves? And compressing the time factor leads to inflated costs all up and down the chain.

Rhetorical question, of course, since, no, Obama has no concept of what is involved.

We cannot just leave all the tracks and tanks, commo and support equipment and other ash and trash in Iraq.

Several reasons…some of it can be put to use immediately elsewhere, some of it can be sent to Anniston and other depots or Lima, Ohio, for re-hab and re-issue, will save money in the short and long run. It’s all about the money…Obama said so.

We can’t have all sorts of munitions and such laying around Iraq…where do you think all those wonderful IED’s initially came from? We can’t give it all to the Iraqis…they haven’t the training, nor need for most of it. Can’t leave it laying around…Iran would really like to score a couple major depots…bring their army up to the 20th century.

All of this has to be executed right the first time. The port charges at any normal port are astronomical…Kuwait and Aqaba aren’t doing this for free. It will take a year to two years before the present anticipated load on their facilities by our drawdown can be moved onward by sea.

For the enviro-nuts out there…every single piece of equipment has to be washed and sterilized prior to shipping, even the tanks and tracks. That takes time, too.

The Turkish routes, besides the bridges our Army engineers had to build, have a limited road base, and so forth. Going to take time and money to set that right.

And there is the need for route security all along the process. Would be nice for the People’s Liberation Front of Palestine, or is it the Palestine Peoples Front for Liberation…have to ask the Monty Python folks on that one…anyway would be nice to get their hands on a couple Bradley’s or Striker’s, or a conex full of ammunition. Convoys make such easy targets.

I am reminded of Stalin’s red grease pencil mark from Moscow to Berlin…with Stalin having no idea at all of the conditions on the ground. The Soviet Army, fearing the wrath of Stalin, based their central front attack on Berlin around that grease pencil arrow…and lost a million troops in the Pripyat Marshes before finding more solid ground.

Obama can “want” anything he desires…but even The One, The Messiah, the Annointed Obama cannot defy the laws of physics.

coldwarrior on February 24, 2009 at 5:36 PM

Come on, guys, O’Bonehead obviously has no choice in this matter. He needs the money we’ve been spending on these troops, so he can redirect it to Gaza and Darfur.

Did you think this stuff grows on trees?

Jaibones on February 24, 2009 at 5:38 PM

dear coldwarriof “Obama can “want” anything he desires…but even The One, The Messiah, the Annointed Obama cannot defy the laws of physics.”

Guys like you and Petraeus can handle the details. Leave the strategy to the smartest man of all time.

notagool on February 24, 2009 at 5:39 PM

You guys are missing the point, He is not withdrawling all troops, just the combat ones and yes there is a difference. Just because the combat troops are gone doesn’t mean we wont have troops there. It’s like Korea, we have no combat troops there but we are still there. I bet you in 18 months we will still have troops there but you wont hear about it anymore. My husband isn’t a combat troop but can still be sent there, would he be in combat possibly, but he is not considered a combat troop.

Brat4life on February 24, 2009 at 5:42 PM

When is Barry going to start sportin’ a huge service cap and a chest full of ribbons? He do have some General Robert Mugabe in em. I’m only speaking for the white community in this regard.

JohnBissell on February 24, 2009 at 5:43 PM

The press conference with Gibbs should be entertaining on this:

“Do you think telling Iran, the Baathists in Syria and al Qaeda when we’re going to pull combat troops might cause them to lay low until we leave and then regroup and attack?

Wethal on February 24, 2009 at 5:43 PM

Brat4life on February 24, 2009 at 5:42 PM

The guys in the Second ID up at Camp Red Cloud, in Uijongbu, would differ with you on no combat troops in Korea.

coldwarrior on February 24, 2009 at 5:44 PM

The guys in the Second ID up at Camp Red Cloud, in Uijongbu, would differ with you on no combat troops in Korea.

coldwarrior on February 24, 2009 at 5:44 PM

Combat troops are usually first on the ground. Their main purpose is to fight the war. I am not saying that the troops in Korea aren’t used for combat or first on the ground, while over there, they are not used for combat.

Brat4life on February 24, 2009 at 5:46 PM

I mean combat in Korea, they may be sent away to fight but that is not their purpose in Korea.

Brat4life on February 24, 2009 at 5:46 PM

Did we WIN ?
MSM never repoted a victory . . . or is that being saved for e month before the 2010 elections ?

JayTee on February 24, 2009 at 5:48 PM

Brat4life on February 24, 2009 at 5:46 PM

No, the Second Infantry is not shootin’ and movin’ every day…but they are there, and are a combat unit, a division, approximately 20,000 soldiers, and their mission 24/7 is to be a roadblock for the NK Army until reinforcements arrive.

First on the ground?

coldwarrior on February 24, 2009 at 5:49 PM

JohnBissell:
You are either a far-left activist trying to discredit the right, or a racist idiot. There’s no such thing as ‘the right’ community. Pres. Obama isn’t anything like Mugabe. Mugabe is a dictator, Pres. Obama is a simplyh a politician who believes in socialism.
Jason

Jason on February 24, 2009 at 5:50 PM

Did we WIN ?

JayTee on February 24, 2009 at 5:48 PM

We were winning when my son left. I’d prefer he didn’t have to go back and do it all over again.

coldwarrior on February 24, 2009 at 5:51 PM

I wonder how many nutroots expected all troops to be out, and didn’t quite get the “combat” troops nuance.

Are there any clips of the One just saying “all troops” out?

Wethal on February 24, 2009 at 5:55 PM

Jason; I’m only speaking for the “white” community, not the “right” community. And in regard to Commander Sotero, I said he had a “little” Mugabe in him, not a lot of Mugabe, big diff.

JohnBissell on February 24, 2009 at 5:55 PM

First on the ground?

coldwarrior on February 24, 2009 at 5:49 PM

Yes the first troops on the ground are usually called combat troops. It’s pretty much the Army and Marines.

Brat4life on February 24, 2009 at 5:57 PM

Brat4life on February 24, 2009 at 5:57 PM

The Second Infantry is already “on the ground” yet are not considered combat troops?

Combat troops are called combat troops because of the service branches involved…infantry, armor, artillery, air defense –the combat arms. Then there are combat support troops…engineers, signal corps, ordnance, and so forth, those troops whose primary mission is to furnish operational assistance for the combat elements. Then there are service support troops…transportation, quartermaster, finance, medical, admin. In the present day, any of these can become “combat troops” the minute the bad guys get inside the wire.

Only the Marine Corps officially recognizes this, hence all Marines, officers and enlisted, are infantry-trained first.

coldwarrior on February 24, 2009 at 6:03 PM

Well, hopefully we will know by 2010 whether Obama is even Constitutionally eligible to be making these decisions and is a natural born citizen.

I’m glad Drudge is finally deciding this may be an issue with his link to the soldier questioning Obama’s eligibility to be the Commander in Chief. Also, Michelle finally decides it could be an issue. She links to the story at Stop the ACLU: http://www.stoptheaclu.com/archives/2009/02/24/us-army-officer-wants-proof-of-obamas-presidential-eligibility/

Expect a snarky “obligatory” post by AllahPundit about the soldier questioning Obama’s birth certificate soon.

Gabe on February 24, 2009 at 6:04 PM

JohnBissell:
I don’t think there’s anything like the ‘white’ community anymore than there is the ‘black’ community. Why not divide humanity into ‘light-haired’ and ‘dark-haired’? The concept of races is not supported by biologic science. The concept of ‘race’ is artificial. We are all humans. Any other differences are philosophical.

Jason on February 24, 2009 at 6:05 PM

Gabe on February 24, 2009 at 6:04 PM

Already been discussed on an earlier thread. (I’m waiting for the Article 32 investigation to commence and a violation of Article 88 being announced. Hard to ignore something like that.)

coldwarrior on February 24, 2009 at 6:07 PM

“The concept of race” as you so fuzzily put it got Field Marshall Obama elected, so let’s see how that artificial construct pans out and what the consequences are. Go look for a guitar and campfire would ya.

JohnBissell on February 24, 2009 at 6:14 PM

Yeah…. only 30-50 THOUSAND troops will still be there…

Hmmmm… or about 1/15 to 1/10 of the Total US Army.

or 1/4 to 1/3 of the troops there now.

Romeo13 on February 24, 2009 at 6:15 PM

one can say what they will about Bush . At least he did not hurt the effort by pulling troops in time for elections. It should be about victory on the battlefield not at the polls.

Jamson64 on February 24, 2009 at 6:43 PM

50K troops left

That’s about as many troops as we have in Afghanistan

bnelson44 on February 24, 2009 at 6:47 PM

Exit question: To what extent is the speed of withdrawal tied to the economic recovery?

Here’s another question – how will pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq impact the economy as a whole? I work in the defense industry (for the Federal Government, in fact, as an aircraft mechanic), and things are already getting tight. Cut our workload, and we’ll be making major cutbacks in short order. If it happens here, it’ll happen at every facility and defense contractor in the country.

uncivilized on February 24, 2009 at 7:05 PM

uncivilized on February 24, 2009 at 7:05 PM

Interesting point. Serious point, too,

Fortunately, unless there is a resultant major draw down in the Army, and a BRACC 3.0, the impact of returning soldiers from Iraq will not have a major impact on the economy…at least not right away.

But, if the “workload” as you refer is cut back, will there be a call for a cutback on units, contractors, related services and so forth? Obama has called for a 10% cut in defense spending, and has cited Iraq and Afghanistan as places that some of that cut will come. Have seen a few estimates of upwards toward 18% cuts in defense spending.

Should those cuts go into effect…then…then we will see a major impact on the economy. From the companies that build the aircraft and provide the ammunition and ordnance, to the guys who build the desks and in/out boxes, and all the related service jobs…if there is suddenly no longer a need for desks and in/out boxes and other things, then there will be no contracts let, and jobs will vanish.

And these folks will have to compete with everyone else for all those promised new jobs.

coldwarrior on February 24, 2009 at 7:19 PM

Exit question: To what extent is the speed of withdrawal tied to the economic recovery?

Well, since Professor, sorry, CIC Obama plans to pay for much of his unprecedented expansion of government with what we’re not spending in Iraq, I’d say it’s all tied together. Also, it will be time for the 2010 congressional elections and the Dems will want to crow about how they ended the war.

The one question no one is asking O is how he will pay for his mega-entitlement programs if we happen to end up in another war theater in the future (beyond Afghanistan).

Buy Danish on February 24, 2009 at 7:22 PM

Hope that I don’t see UH-1s evacuating our allies off buildings in Baghdad.

jukin on February 24, 2009 at 7:22 PM

jukin on February 24, 2009 at 7:22 PM

Nope. Just Blackhawks. /s

coldwarrior on February 24, 2009 at 7:23 PM

Look, if you want to pull them out, pull them. Don’t dawdle, that’s what we did in Viet-Nam. We dawdled and thousands died for no reason other than cowardice of the Political Leaders to finally make a decision and finish what they had started, the loss of the war.

We can’t win wars with the Department of Defense. We can win wars with a War Department. We don’t fight to victory, we fight to the peace. That is asinine.

Snake307 on February 24, 2009 at 7:23 PM

An astoundingly intelligent decision, President Fustercluck

LimeyGeek on February 24, 2009 at 7:33 PM

Uh huh. Withdraw all troops… except for all the troops that will stay along with all the equipment and resources.

And of course none of this has anything remotely to do with the success of the surge or the success of Bush/ Petraeus initiatives or the fact that significant progress has been made in transitioning Iraq into a self-sustaining democracy.

Nope. It’s because Chimpy McBush and Darth Cheney started an illegal war and occupation of an otherwise peaceful land for the purpose of getting corrupt Haliburton contracts and tap the demonic nectar of capitalism- oil. We’re leaving because we are a terrorist occupation that bombs villages, rapes women and kills innocent children. Thank all that is sacred that our Messiah has descended from Mt. Olympus to lead our wayward soldiers (who were forced into sadistic action by corporate greed) out of the Utopian cradle of civilization and return them home to face the consequences of their war crimes.

Yup, and no residual force; and by that I mean we’re leaving slightly less than pre-surge levels of troops there.

And BTW- there is nothing political about this decision.

Yeah…

Damiano on February 24, 2009 at 7:35 PM

This sounds pretty much like the South Korean model, which is exactly what McCain and most Republicans referred to as a long-term engagement model for Iraq.

When do we get some acknowledgement from Obama and the media that all of his campaign words were BS and that we were right all along?

The Principal Chair on February 24, 2009 at 7:35 PM

Know for a fact some are training now and going at the beginning of 2010.

Coastal Paradise on February 24, 2009 at 7:53 PM

If I wanted to do maximum damage to the U.S.A.; costing the maximum damage and expense, I would wait till about 75% of the troops had left and the military is in full return mode. Then I would try to inflict a major blow to those troops when levels of manpower are low, tactical assets, Supplies and equipment, reserves, everything is low during the hottest time of the year.

Of course, I would need to have my enemy announce when his troop withdraw would reach that level…..

GunRunner on February 24, 2009 at 7:54 PM

Everyone will be out by 2011 per the SOFA between the U.S. and Iraq, unless security deteriorates in the interim. In that case, no doubt the agreement will be hastily amended and The One’s plans elegantly finessed, probably by slowing down the pace of withdrawal and tasking combat troops in the theater with nominal training duties so that they can be recharacterized as “residual” and he can claim to be keeping his promise.

Dead wrong. Obama is committed to bring those troops home regardless of conditions. 1) He needs to appease his left-wing base, and 2) He needs to cut down the financial commitment in order to free up some money for his social programs.

An uptick in violence is, like all things for Obama, a political problem. He will look for a solution to the political fallout which means he’ll continue the draw-down and blame the violence on Bush and the Republicans. His supporters will back him and the media will provide the cover. The Republicans, wary of starting the whole Iraq debate again, will run for cover.

But one thing he won’t due is try to respond to a deteriorating situation with U.S. and renewed commitment. I mean, where’s the political advantage of that? And for Obama everything is politics. It’s the only thing he knows and the only thing he’s over responded to.

PackerBronco on February 24, 2009 at 8:01 PM

Obama can define “combat troops” any way he wants.

He can leave 50,000 troops there and simply call them something else… border security, training and support.

He can have it both ways… as he always tries to.

Still-A-Neocon

stillaneocon on February 24, 2009 at 8:22 PM

The Principal Chair on February 24, 2009 at 7:35 PM

When do we get some acknowledgement from Obama and the media that all of his campaign words were BS and that we were right all along?

Sadly, never; No one on the left will acknowledge that, simply by following the current (working!) strategy, this war could be won, and the majority of currently deployed troups could come home.

Then, we will have a relatively stable Iraq, free of the tyranny of Sadaam and his sons, with at least a reasonable chance of becomming, over the long haul, a functioning democracy in the middle east.

Put another way; Obama’s winning strategy in Iraq could have been called “staying the course.” (Where have I heard that before?

massrighty on February 24, 2009 at 8:38 PM

Oh, BTW lefties, this was Bush’s exit strategy:

Win then leave.

It seems to be working out pretty well.

29Victor on February 24, 2009 at 5:34 PM

I saw a left winger crowing about this on another board. I couldn’t say McCain doesn’t withdraw troops in August 2010 he just would be less of a liar about how certain it was.

Nobody wants to stay forever for no reason. If things stay quite I don’t know who would want to stay past Aug 2010 with more than a residual force.

Conan on February 24, 2009 at 10:12 PM

And the anti-christ with the sign of the beast (666) has spoken. All the warriors will return to do his bidding and guard his college records and birth certificate with their very lives as locked away at Ft. Knox forever hidden from public view. Next move will be to declare the U.S. a sanctuary country, open the borders and let all his peeps come on in for a little “rough and tumble, Chi-Town style” while Rome burns. Welcome to the VideoDrome, long live the new messiah /sarc off/

GlocknRoll on February 24, 2009 at 10:50 PM

What a genius Obama is. Nothing like giving the enemy a time table. Now they can all go on vacation with their laptops and plan their attacks after our troops are pulled out. This is going to get real ugly and bloody for those living in Iraq. We should offer the illegals citizenship if they go to Iraq as a peace keeping force.

workingforpigs on February 25, 2009 at 10:21 AM