Well, not exactly a real pullout, but a plan to be announced by the Obama administration on Friday is expected to withdraw “combat” troops from Iraq by Aug. 31, 2010, officially ending U.S. combat operations in the war-torn country while keeping 50,000 ambiguously labeled “support troops” there.
Updated: The official Obama plan has puzzled many, as the administration’s August 31st date of withdrawal is two full months after the existing withdrawal date agreed upon between Bush and the Iraqi parliament. While Bush’s “U.S.-Iraqi Status of Forces Agreement” is qualitatively different than Obama’s—it only removes troops only “out of cities and populated areas” by June—the key timetables for withdrawal are relatively similar.
President Obama will say in his Friday speech at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, that the U.S. combat mission in Iraq will end next year, two senior administration officials said.
President Obama says he plans to keep up to 50,000 support troops in Iraq after combat troops leave in 2010.
“Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end,” Obama will say, according to the officials.
Under this plan, all combat troops will be withdrawn within 19 months of Obama’s January inauguration, three months longer than his promise on the campaign trail.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 on 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.
With 142,000 U.S. soldiers now in Iraq, Obama’s plan would reduce troop levels by only 65 percent.