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Obama to pull combat troops from Iraq by August 2010 - Non Combat Troops Will Stay

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Obama told congressional leaders Thursday he's planning to pull all combat troops out of Iraq by August 2010, which falls short of his campaign promise to bring all combat forces home within 16 months, according to three congressional officials.

President Obama says he plans to keep up to 50,000 support troops in Iraq after combat troops leave in 2010.

President Obama says he plans to keep up to 50,000 support troops in Iraq after combat troops leave in 2010.

Under this scenario, all combat troops will be withdrawn within 19 months of Obama's January inauguration, three months longer than his promise on the campaign trail.

In a meeting at the White House Thursday evening, Obama also told lawmakers that he plans to keep a range of 35,000 to 50,000 support troops on the ground in Iraq after combat troops are out, the officials said.

All U.S. troops have to be out of Iraq by December 31, 2011, under an agreement the Bush administration signed with the Iraqi government last year.

White House officials confirmed the president will deliver a speech about Iraq to troops at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina on Friday, his first visit to a military base since being sworn into office.

The officials refused to comment on the details of Obama's plan.

While liberals may be frustrated that Obama is not keeping his campaign promise to the letter, the president could win credit from lawmakers in both parties for giving military commanders more time and flexibility to finish the mission.

What may turn out to be more controversial is the number of noncombat troops that will remain in Iraq under Obama's plan.

Military officials have stressed that residual, noncombat forces would focus on supplies and logistics to protect U.S. interests in the region. But senior Democrats such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have expressed concern over such a large number of troops staying in Iraq after combat forces have left.

One source familiar with the discussion told CNN that Democratic lawmakers complained in private to the president about the remaining troops just as they have in public.

"That's a little higher number than I expected," Reid said Thursday before the White House meeting.

Sen. Richard Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat and a close Obama ally, said before the White House meeting that he's anxious to get troops home. But he defended the administration, saying it is "trying to strike the right balance" between ending the war and maintaining stability in Iraq.

A spokeswoman for Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Arms Services committee and an attendee at the White House meeting, told CNN that McCain supports the plan to leave 50,000 troops in Iraq.

Rep. John McHugh, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said after the White House meeting that Obama assured him the plan to withdraw all combat forces will be revisited if conditions on the ground in Iraq deteriorate.

"The president's objective to withdraw U.S. combat troops from Iraq is one we should pray for, plan for, and work toward," McHugh said in a written statement.

"However, I remain concerned that the security situation in Iraq is fragile, and we should work to mitigate any risks to our troops and their mission. I specifically raised these points with the president this evening, and he assured me that he will revisit his plan if the situation on the ground deteriorates and violence increases," he said.

"Our commanders must have the flexibility they need in order to respond to these challenges, and President Obama assured me that there is a 'Plan B,'" McHugh said.

by on Feb. 27, 2009 at 1:29 AM
Replies (21-22):
by on Mar. 1, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Well, I know for a fact that the troops did AMAZING stuff in Iraq - Kids can now go to school, people can go to the markets to get food, they do not live in terror that Saddam's henchmen will come knocking on their doors in the middle of the night - Saddam's perverted, mentally challenged, violent sons are no longer cruising the school halls looking for female companionship.

But the next time the liberals start screaming that SOMETHING needs to be done somewhere.. OH the humanity, type of thing...  send the liberals.. I am so tired of hearing about how AWFUL our system treats their prisoners, having people having ANYTHING less than glowing praise for our men and women who sacrificed everything to go to these godforsaken pits in the world. Meanwhile we have Obama happily chopping up everything that military families get (and that is not too much) Our retirement, our pay right now, our pay next year, our health coverage. Either sends the liberal shits over to whatever "crisis" they believe need fixing or drop a nuke -  makes NO DIFFERENCE to me anymore - we are getting out.

by on Mar. 2, 2009 at 10:19 AM

Quoting robinann7777:

Hi, I do have a 19 year old son in the marines on his way by ship to afgh. so i think this is all just a smoke screen to make it look like he is doing the right thing....troops are being sent over there son tells me whats going on and he gets it first hand so i believe him over all this bs...he will be one of the ones that will relieve the ones already there and it will be awhile till he comes say prayers please and support our troops always..thanks...Robin

please thank your son for his service, and i will keep him in my prayers, i do support our troops always....   

                                           yellow ribbon


owner, Care Packages Unlimited


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