February 25th, 2009
12:13 PM ET
6 years ago

Officials: Obama expected to OK 19-month Iraq plan

ALT TEXT

CNN has learned that President Obama is expected to approve a proposal to withdraw most combat troops from Iraq within 19 months. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama is expected to approve a proposal to withdraw most combat troops from Iraq within 19 months, several Pentagon officials told CNN Wednesday.

The decision will be announced at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina on Friday, according to one senior administration official.

Although no decision has been officially announced at the White House, a Pentagon official told CNN "that's the way the wind is blowing" in reference to the 19-month option.

A White House spokesman said no final decisions about Iraq policy has been made by the president.

The Pentagon several weeks ago sent the president options for withdrawals at 16, 19, and 23 months.

The 16-month option was Obama's campaign pledge. But shortly after taking office, he asked Pentagon and military commanders for an analysis of additional options, and they submitted the two other timeframes in response.

Updated

The details of what the shape of U.S. forces will be in Iraq over the next many months remains unclear until a number of additional decisions are made. It is expected that the announcement will call for the majority of combat forces to be withdrawn, leaving a residual force of as many as 50,000, largely in a training or advisory role.

U.S. military officials point out even those residual forces may find themselves in combat.

For the past two months, the U.S. Central Command has been conducting a detailed assessment of how equipment and personnel would be withdrawn from Iraq, according to a U.S. military official.

He declined to be named because of the sensitivity of discussing withdrawal details prior to the president's announcement. However, he confirmed the U.S. military is looking at exit routes through Jordan and Kuwait.

And they are trying to determine what equipment might be returned to the United States, transferred to the Iraqi or Jordanian governments, sent to Afghanistan, or simply discarded if not needed. Final decisions will depend on the timeframe for the withdrawal, he said.


Filed under: Iraq • President Obama
soundoff (201 Responses)
  1. Obambi

    listen to the excuses from the left–truly a bunch of Obama droolers. Now they WANT a war–but not Bush's war–Obama's war.

    February 25, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. single mom

    Ron at 1134 – Q has every right to be concerned. If you'd been paying attention, then you would have found out that the number of troops deployed to Afghanistan will be increasing by nearly the same rate as the decrease in Iraq! This sounds a lot like going from the frying pan into the fire.

    February 25, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. Gerda Edwards

    Irresponisble because of A and B. But the left is eating it up because they don't understand either C or D.

    A. "leaving a residual force of as many as 50,000" Huh???
    B. No mention about consideration being given to the Iraqi Gov't being able to assume the role
    C. Busts his campaign promise of 16 months by 4 months. (Note to libs - he's been in office for a month, 19 months from now is 20 months. 20-16=4).
    D. If B is satisfied, then it's no different than Pres Bush's plan.

    February 25, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. FreeNLovIt

    Yes, I think the hard part has already been done. It's up to the Iraqi people to figure out what they want to be when they grow up as a nation.

    February 25, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. ksu2stl

    A few of you need to stay more up to date before posting uninformed and unintelligent thoughts. It has already been noted that the 17,000 troops going to Afghanistan will be from soldiers already stateside. I think we all honestly knew that Iraq was such a mess we needed to keep a few troops over there. I applaud President Obama's decisions so far and am very much in favor of a larger force in Afghanistan. Before too many of you ininformed and unintelligent folks bemoan the President's "lies", think about the last administration and its actual lies. I'm assuming half of you idiots were Bush/Mccain voters anyway. Besides, if you don't like Obama's administration then do something about it...RUN FOR PRESIDENT yourself. If you're all so smart, I expect to see your names an faces as candidates in 2012.

    February 25, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. no corporate politics

    Another lie from Obama – he shouldn't have made the promise. But he did it to take votes from McCain and Clinton.

    Now he can smile and break it. He will have to ake responsibility at some point.

    February 25, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. Gerda Edwards

    It's irresponsible because of #1 and #2. But the libs are eating it up because they don't understand either #3 or #4.

    1. "leaving a residual force of as many as 50,000"
    2. No mention about consideration being given to the Iraqi Gov't being able to assume the role
    3. He busted his campaign promise by 4 months. (Note to the undereducated - he's been in office for a month, 19 months from now is 20 months. 20-16=4).
    4. If #2 is satisfied, then it's no different than Pres Bush's plan.

    February 25, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. Ghost

    Even if those troops are re-deployed to Afghanistan, it still has to be cheaper than having 2 wars.

    February 25, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. SMJ

    Let's see – all the messes that Bush left for President Obama, and he's trying his best to clean them all up. Iraq is one of the biggest and messiest (not to mention illegal). What is 3 months compared to five years??!! He is listening to the commanders on the ground and following their expert advice. At least he IS LISTENING and acting accordingly. If it takes 3 more months to safely get our men and women out of Iraq – so be it. I am a Navy "brat" who has a tremendous amount of respect for our soldiers and sailors. Those of you casting stones must not have either served or have had someone in your family in uniform. Therefore, you know not of what you speak. Silence is golden.

    February 25, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. DavidinCA

    We are going to be able to bring them home because they completed their mission and did an excellent job! Under President George W. Bush's leadership our military accomplished what it set out to do.

    February 25, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. jb

    Bring all the national reserves that have been called up home, and send the regulars to Afghanistan to get Bin Laden. No more 15 month tour BS either. It's about time we have a President who cares about our troups.

    February 25, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. Recycle Jindal

    If Jindal is the new face of the Republican Party, the party needs a facelift. This man was awful last night. The same old tired canned responses of the past. Obstructionist to the end.

    We are hurting in America and we need a leader. We have found that leader in Barack H. Obama. We don't need an inferior copy. Keep your Jindal GOP, or better yet, recycle him and give him to a museum. That's where his policies belong.

    February 25, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. d1120

    ...another broken promise.........

    February 25, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. Obama & Me, Two Peas In A Pod

    Remember Iraq is Bush's war. So anything Obama does with an inherited war is far better than what Bush did in 8 years. I stand behind my president and the rest of you can take a long walk off a short pier.

    Obama 2012

    February 25, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. dw

    only 2/3 of the troops will be home in 19 months as this plan calls for – the others must stay behind for "security" purposes for an additional 18 months

    February 25, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. American

    I can't wait to see at least the first round of American troops leaving Iraq . I agree with the 19-month plan but GET SOMEONE OUT NOW!

    February 25, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. proudliberal-independent

    good enough fer me. if it goes well ,perhaps we could go faster and withdraw more. just end it , once and for all.

    February 25, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. Tim

    I love the people on here congratualting Barry for his great work. A couple things though:

    1. George Bush has already signed an agreement to bring US combat troops out of Iraq on this timeline....so Barry has accomplished nothing.

    2. I noticed Barry said he wanted to win the war in Afghanistan....but just said he wanted to end the war in Iraq....so he is not looking for victory in Iraw....Barry cannot see the benefit of having a working democracy in the middle of the terrorist breeding Middle East?

    February 25, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. J.P.

    Hooray! Maybe President Barry Fancypants can finally get the military reengaged in the mission Billy Clinton had them working on...

    a meals-on-wheels delivery for U.N. boondoggles in turd-world nations.

    February 25, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. HonestMistake

    He is withdrawing troops from Iraq not bringing them home. Most will be sent to Afghanistan.

    February 25, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. Tulsa

    Debby,
    No, he ALWAYS said we would need more troops in Afghanistan.... LOL... you must be listening to too much Rush!

    February 25, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. proudliberal-independent

    debby. why lie? he will be withdrawing approximately 100,000 from iraq, and has only authorized 17,000 to afghanistan. that's a big difference. why be disingenous to make a point. you must be mad because palin/mccain lost,huh?

    February 25, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    The 16-month option was Obama's campaign pledge. But shortly after taking office, he asked Pentagon and military commanders for an analysis of additional options, and they submitted the two other timeframes in response.
    *******************************************************************************

    In other words, he did exactly what McCain said to do. Not his campaign promises of ending the war within 16 months regardless of the situation on the ground. I am glad he came to his senses and realized what he promised was not possible and would lead to a massive destabilization of Iraq and a breeding ground for terrorists.

    February 25, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. NOVA

    19 months or 16 months, who cares it's 3 little months! I'm in the service – 3 months goes by fast.

    Now would you rather have a 19-month plan, or a "100-year plan"?

    Come on people don't nitpick.

    February 25, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  25. dave

    Funny how they probably would have been out by that time anyway.

    February 25, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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