According to an article published yesterday in the Los Angeles Times, the Obama administration is looking at a 19-month time line to withdraw a large number of U.S. soldiers from Iraq. The campaign had promised a 16-month time line, but had recently suggested that it was open to a longer time line.
During the campaign, Obama repeatedly promised that he was going to “end the war” and order the U.S. military to begin a withdrawal at his first meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs. However, he has not followed through on either promise.
Limited Withdrawal Plan would Leave 50,000 Troops in Iraq
According to the Los Angeles Times article, Obama’s plan would leave 50,000 troops in Iraq even after the 19-month deadline. There is also no mention of removing military contractors from Iraq.
We pointed out numerous times during the 2008 campaign that Obama wasn’t serious about ending the war, but unfortunately, there was little pressure on Obama to adopt a more aggressive time frame for withdrawal.
Because of this limited pressure–and decline of media coverage on Iraq–we’re now able to see quotes like this gem from a military officer cited in the Los Angeles Times article:
“When President Obama said we were going to get out within 16 months, some people heard, ‘get out,’ and everyone’s gone. But that is not going to happen.”
Status of Forces Agreement May Limit U.S. Presence
The Los Angeles Times article also mentions that U.S. troop presence may be extended by renegotiating a security agreement that mandates all U.S. troops leave by 2011. However, blogger Juan Cole who writes regularly on the Middle East, says that the Iraqi parliament is unlikely to support extending that agreement.