Earlier this week, McClarthy Newspapers reported that the Obama administration is considering its options on a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and will come to a decision by mid-March. March is the sixth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.
According to an Obama administration spokesperson:
“We are in the midst of an aggressive, logical review. The review is designed to result in a comprehensive strategy that allows us to end the war while maintaining our interest in a stable Iraq.”
The administration has ordered the military to come up pros and cons of 16-month, 19-month, and 23-month withdrawal plans. A news report suggests that his administration is most closely looking at the 16 and 23-month plans.
Last month, MediaMouse.org reported that Obama had previously pledged to order commanders to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq at his first meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. At the meeting, Obama made no such order.
Pressure from the Pentagon?
Meanwhile, there are reports that the military is opposed to Obama’s plans. Gareth Porter wrote an article for IPS that cited several sources saying that US commanders including General Petraeus and Odierno are preparing a media campaign charging that Obama’s plan jeopardizes gains in Iraq. Instead:
“Petraeus, Gates, and Odierno had hoped to sell Obama on a plan that they formulated in the final months of the Bush administration that aimed at getting around a key provision of the U.S.-Iraqi withdrawal agreement signed envisioned re-categorizing large numbers of combat troops as support troops. That subterfuge was by the United States last November while ostensibly allowing Obama to deliver on his campaign promise.”
The article reports that they are still pushing the plan. Most recently, Ordierno was interviewed in the New York Times saying that Obama was “open to alternatives” and stating that it might take a year to develop a plan for withdrawal from Iraq.