WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama said Friday he plans to withdraw most U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of August 2010.
Between 35,000 to 50,000 troops will remain in Iraq, he said. They would be withdrawn gradually until all U.S. forces are out of Iraq by December 31, 2011 - the deadline set under an agreement the Bush administration signed with the Iraqi government last year.
"Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end," Obama said in a speech at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
"By any measure, this has already been a long war," Obama said. It is time to "bring our troops home with the honor they have earned."
Obama's trip to Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base, was his first trip to a military base since being sworn in.
Administration officials, who briefed reporters on the plan, said the remaining troops would take on advisory roles in training and equipping Iraqi forces, supporting civilian operations in Iraq and conducting targeted counterterrorism missions, which would include some combat.