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 It is expected that the announcement will call for the majority of combat forces to be withdrawn, leaving a residual force of as many as 50,000, largely in a training or advisory role.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two months, the U.S. Central Command has been conducting a detailed assessment of how equipment and personnel would be withdrawn from Iraq, according to a U.S. military official.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. IsaacTheForcedCatholic

    "I truly hope that [Obama] is listening to the commanders on the ground instead of trying to politicize a real-world situation"

    Obama is not Bush okay!?! General Petraeus had to bypass President Bush to implement his plans. Now what does that tell you? First, Bush does not listen to the commanders. Second, Bush took all the credit when he made NO DECISION on the ideas Petraeus had.

    So get this right! Obama is a REAL leader and not a puppet like Bush was and still is!

    February 25, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Joseph

    Proud American February 25th, 2009 9:56 am ET

    Obama…what a disgrace to have this questionable individual leading our military….this country's sunk to it's lowest point. The recession is more of a moral nature than financial….we're bankrupting our moral values that this country was found on…
    _________________________________________________________

    before you make rash opinions try to back them up vice shouting GOP rhetoric. Because if you are for one second saying that we we defending the principles in which this nation was founded on when we invaded Iraq the you are saying our foundations were that of greed and corruption. Seeing that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 please inform me why we attacked Iraq and went after Saddam and let Bin Laden run and hide?

    February 25, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. More Aware Than You

    Oh, "aware". I pity you. Is this your special way of trying to get people to pay attention to you? Attempt to freak everyone out and get all the eyes on you? Poor thing...

    February 25, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. texas teacher

    aware February 25th, 2009 2:17 pm ET -COME ON. LET'S GET SERIOUS! IT HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT IRAQ.... IT WAS ALWAYS THE WAR OF GETTING RICH OFF IRAQ IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM.... SUCH AS HALIBURTON HAVING MOST OF THE CONSIGNMENTS FOR LABOR THERE... BE REAL! AND THE OTHER PART OF THIS WAS TO MAKE WALL STREET SO RICH THAT THEY COULD NOT BE REGULATED! BUSH/CHENEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS MESS.... WHETHER YOU OR ANY OTHER REPUBLICAN WANTS TO HEAR IT! NO, YOU ARE RIGHT... IT IS NOT ABOUT IRAQ.... IT IS ABOUT GETTING THE RICH RICHER AND THE POOR POORER... WHILE PRETENDING TO CARE ABOUT OUR MILITARY! FORGET ABOUT ANYTHING OR ANYONE EXCEPT THAT TOP 5% OF OUR POPULATION.... WHICH INCLUDES BUSH AND CHENEY!

    THE EMPIRE OF SELLING OUR COLLECTIVE SOUL TO CHINA WAS THE NAME OF THE GAME! I DON'T HEAR ONE OF YOU REPUBLICANS TALKING ABOUT THAT.... WELL, OBAMA HAS NO OTHER CHOICE BUT TO CONTINUE ON THAT ROAD TO GET US BACK OF THE ROAD TO RECOVERY!

    I'M SICK OF YOUR WHINING .... GO BACK UNDER THOSE ROCKS WHERE YOU BELONG AND STOP FIGHTING OUR PRESIDENT EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!

    February 25, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. Jeff in Illinois

    This should make Neoconservatives fairly happy. On the positive side for them, they get an extra 3 months of dumping our money to defense contractors, though they will be disappointed when terrorist recruitment slows down to pre-invasion levels.

    February 25, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. Proud to wear the uniform!

    To everyone on these boards that talks about "Illegal War" and pushes their opinions as "facts". Do you Serve? Do you have someone close to you that is serving? And I don’t mean, “a friend of a friend’s brother, who has a friend…” Our men and women are doing a great service over there and if you would take the time to talk to them instead of listening to the news, most of them are proud to do it. I’m not saying you’re not entitled to your opinion. But at least make an effort to get the truth from the source, a service member who has put their boots on ground. NOT FROM THE MEDIA! Truly know what it is your bashing!

    February 25, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Nobama

    Ann says, "Oh well, that is still better then a hundred years… sorry McCain"

    ....

    Read the fine-print Ann. Obama is planning to leave a residual force of 50,000.

    DOH!

    February 25, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. xddy4u

    It's about time. Now what have we accomplished, other than caused the death, torture, maim, and despair of THOUSANDS? That's not even including the Iraqi. It's sad to think that all this was UNPROVOKED.
    Fighting for our FREEDOM. In Iraq? Give me a break. Thanks George W. Bush and Dick Channey, along with your supporting cast, the GOP Senators.

    February 25, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. Jeff in Illinois

    Proud American...are you trying to say our moral values include killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in an effort to force our ideology on a sovereign nation who posed no threat to us? As a true American, I stand for defending OUR nation and keeping OUR money.

    Anti-Americans are obsessed with thinning out our military and bankrupting our nation. If you were truly a "Proud American", you wouldn't be so obsessed with weakening our nation to increase the profits of defense contractors.

    February 25, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. Rob

    Kimberly in Azizona February 25th, 2009 2:12 pm ET – Your comments just show that you wouldn't know the truth if it came up and bit you on your sanctimonious backside. Maybe you would have liked to be living in Iraq back when Uday and Kusay were running around, raping and killing women just for the heck of it. Oh wait, I forgot, if it would have been a Democrat who went into Iraq you would have been all in favor of it. Of course that'd never happen because Democrats are cowards. And that whole Bush oil whining never took off so can you finally give it a rest?

    February 25, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. Enlightened

    Some of you are just down right pathetic complaining that Obama promised troops would be out in 16 mos and he broke his promise. EXCUSE me, 19 mos is just 3 mos after his initial timetable. Three mos, 90 days. WOW! Give the man a break and remember it was the buffoon bush that lied to us to get us into this mess.

    February 25, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Bananarama Victim

    Proud American – It is puritains such as yourself who assume that all of America has, or should have, the same morality. Morality is a personal and individual virtue. So I'm afraid you're doomed to be disappointed.

    February 25, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  13. Judy

    He never PROMISED 16 months. He always said he would be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. He also said he would consider the facts on the ground and listen to the commanders to implement a withdrawal strategy. As far as I'm concerned, he is keeping his promise.

    February 25, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. Open Your 3rd Eye

    **NEWS FLASH**

    THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 16 MONTHS OR 19 MONTHS.

    ARE YOU SERIOUS?

    HE TACKS ON 3 MORE MONTHS AND ALL OF A SUDDEN HE'S NOT KEEPING HIS WORD??

    WHAT??

    SPARE ME THE BS – SOME OF YOU PEOPLE ARE JUST PLAIN PETTY.

    BARACK OBAMA = THE BEST PRES THIS COUNTRY HAS EVER KNOWN. PERIOD.

    February 25, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Griff............... on The Truth...

    19 years plus.

    February 25, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. Bananarama Victim

    Proud American – It is puritains such as yourself who assume that all of America has, or should have, the same morality. Morality is a personal and individual virtue. So I'm afraid you're doomed to be disappointed.

    Also, God is not American.

    February 25, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  17. Bananarama Victim

    Proud American – It is puritains such as yourself who assume that all of America has, or should have, the same morality. Morality is a personal and individual virtue. So I'm afraid you're doomed to be disappointed.

    Also, God is not an American.

    February 25, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. NoLeftTurn

    @Once you vote Black

    I have always been proud to be an American and proud of American's no matter who the president is. You should be too!

    February 25, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. Simmy

    That is excellent news! ********* Now let's start the work on Afghanistan. Please do not let it become another Viet Nam.

    Fact – There will never be peace in that region because the culture itself fights against it.

    Fact – The majority of the people hate US. It's difficult to truly trust anyone in the region.

    Solution – Resolve that withdrawing is not "Cut and Run" as Bush rhetoric implied. It's a no-win situation.

    Solution – Leave with dignity; before leaving becomes the only alternative.

    February 25, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. Gerda Edwards

    It's irresponsible because of #1 and #2. But the libs are eating it up because they don't understand #3, #4 or #5.

    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, so he's got 15 months left on his promise. 19-15=4).
    4. If #2 is satisfied, then it's no different than Pres Bush's plan.
    5. They aren't "coming home." The numbers will be assigned to Afghanistan, which was what Pres Obama even said during his campaign.

    February 25, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. Guns and Butter

    By now Obama has been told by everyone in DC that one of the surest ways of helping the ecnomomy is to wage war. Keep those defense contractors busy making guns, and ammo, and tanks, and jeeps, and uniforms, and every other thing imagainable. WW II is what ultimately saved FDR's feeble attempt to spend his way out of the Great Depression, Obama will ignite WW III in the mideast to do the same.

    February 25, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. Marc

    aware – What have you smoked, injected or sniffed? What a delusional paranoid argument you've just made...
    Single mom – The guys behind 9/11, and their supporters, are in Afghanistan. Do you prefer that we wait for them to strike again before we go after them?

    February 25, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. bsmith171

    who cares. military should resign because they have been abused for over 40 years.

    February 25, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. BJ

    Should we also list the flight times that the troops will be leaving on?

    I'm all for pulling out the troops, but jeez, can't we keep the timetable a little vague? The bad guys just need to sit back 19 months and wait for us to leave...then they can have free rein over the country.

    February 25, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  25. Just a Mom

    I trust President Obama and VP Biden to bring our troops home in a responsible manner. Republicans have no credibility after lying about nonexistent Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction to get us into the war in Iraq. Someday, I hope we learn to avoid military conflict overseas and, instead, focus on defending our nation, right here on our home turf where Mexican drug cartels and the instability of the Mexican government are immediate threats.

    February 25, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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