April 11th, 2009
02:25 PM ET
5 years ago

EXCLUSIVE: Top U.S. commander in Iraq on troop withdrawal

General Ray Odierno will be on 'State of the Union' Sunday.
General Ray Odierno will be on 'State of the Union' Sunday.

(CNN) - General Ray Odierno, commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, will speak with CNN’s John King in an exclusive live interview on Sunday morning’s “State of the Union."

In his first trip to Iraq as Commander-in-Chief, President Obama said this week that it’s time for the Iraqis to take over.

But General Odierno, viewed by many as the driving force behind the escalation of U.S troops that altered the course of the war, has said that troops may not be able to leave two major Iraqi cities by the June 30 deadline for withdrawal as originally planned.

Tune in at 9 a.m. ET as the top U.S. commander in Iraq discusses Obama’s trip, the latest on U.S. troop withdrawals, and the future of the war in Iraq.

Have a question for the general? E-mail StateoftheUnion@CNN.com.


Filed under: Iraq • State of the Union
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Bev

    Time to give up trying to police the world. Time for the military to find ways to help America instead of placing the country's finest in harm's way. Time to leave. It was a promise made to Americans who voted for Obama. Time to make good on that promise – without extensions and exceptions. Find the flashing exit sign.

    April 11, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. George

    So what's new? Odierno can be expected to attempt to delay the planned drawdown program over the next 20 months. And I'm sure he and like-minded military commanders could come up with arguments to remain in Iraq for decades, no matter what the adverse impact would be on the United States. Fortunately, the military is still under civilian authority. Hopefully President Obama will stand firm and keep in mind the millions of Americans suffering from an economy in decline and the thousands of brave young Americans who have died or suffered serious disabilities in a war that should never have begun.

    April 11, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. Susan

    Too bad, we're getting out! Too much time, too much money, and too many lives lost already over there.

    April 11, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. Lionnel

    Keep your campaign promise, Mr. Obama, and withdraw the troops from Iraq immediately! Or are you cutting defense spending, and at the same time wasting money in promoting your political ideoloy??

    April 11, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. shannon

    What a shock, I'll believe he's going to get us out or Iraq, when the last American leaves there, I have no faith it will happen. Leaving 50 thousand troops behind is not ending the war in Iraq.

    April 11, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. Maggie

    All the men women who lost theri lives in Iraq eill be as nothering if Iraq is left unstable. Obama does not have a clue as to how theing s whould be done over there. Please advise him to contact our former presidnet, Bush for counsel. Bus has a back bone of steel and all our enemy and rogue nations know that. What thye are seeing in Obam ias weakness of cahracter pesonified.

    April 11, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. John from California

    The good General might consider the chain of command and think about how he would react to one of his subordinate officers holding a media briefing with an opinion different from his.

    When I was in the military we learned the chain of command and that applies to generals who work for the President.

    April 11, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. Thomas

    I certainly hope that John King in his newly discovered quest for "critical" reporting isn't stirring up things just to get a headline.

    April 11, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  9. tcaudilllg

    Maggie wrote:
    All the men women who lost theri lives in Iraq eill be as nothering if Iraq is left unstable. Obama does not have a clue as to how theing s whould be done over there. Please advise him to contact our former presidnet, Bush for counsel. Bus has a back bone of steel and all our enemy and rogue nations know that. What thye are seeing in Obam ias weakness of cahracter pesonified.

    -

    I regret to say that those lives were lost for nothing anyway. Sad but true. Staying over there will only mean more lost American lives. It's been five years, and there is no political reconciliation in sight.

    April 11, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. FreeNLovIt

    To Maggie,

    Obie to contact W? Dear, did you read a biography by Billy Crystal and did you see Billy Crystal on Larry King Live? Billy mentioned that W was aloof and unresponsive and other people had to take over making decisions for him.

    April 11, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. FreeNLovIt

    We have made Iraq an orphan. We need the orphan to grow up fast. He's going to have to learn how to dodge the bullets fast. If Israel can survive and live in a state of daily chaos, Iraq will be fine. They need to BELIEVE in themselves.

    April 11, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. Tim

    First, it's Petraus, not Odierno who was the driving force. Second, where have I heard that the troop pullout will be determined by conditions on the ground before?

    April 11, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. Ethel from Florida

    John King will twist this around to the Repugs liking, as he always does. It's obvious where his loyalties are !

    April 11, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. Jonathan Burton

    Our president is faced with being between Iraq and a hard place. That place being his promise to end the Iraq war.
    But keep in mind that we have a president that actually listens to people. His goal is to withdraw from Iraq as soon as if possible.
    The "is possibe" means that he isnt just going to pull out and let the region have its way with Iraqi people. Dont just discount the fact that we have an obligation to the Iraqi people as well as the world to show leadership in how to properly execute plans which will ultimately bring about a more positive and cooperation based approach to fighting terrorist organizations around the globe. We have to get this one right if we are going to see more support from other nations on dealing with this issue.

    April 11, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. No Hillary = No Obama

    What do you think the military is going to say? Why do you think Obama is asking for billions more? WHo really leads this country – I think the military calls the shots.

    April 11, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. Ken in NC

    General Ray Odierno knows the chain of command and I hope he knows the limits to which he can push his commander, President Obama. I know we spent a lot of time, money and lives in Iraq and we would hate to see it all lost to an unstable country after we are gone but we must leave. The longer we stay there, the more we are damaged in the eyes of the world. We should bring our troops home and have them defend our borders from Mexico. I rather spend money defending our own ground than that of a nation that hates us. We never should have been there in the first place.

    We can not and must not be the worlds police department.

    April 11, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. Bruce

    Regardless of what Bama promised, I believe he will finally need to admit his assesment was wrong. Need to complete the mission successfuly. It will be far worse if politics, appeasing others in the Middle East, and a very lame campaign promise, leaves Iraq too soon.

    April 11, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. DB

    I have so little faith in John King's reporting that I'm inclined to think that there has been some manipulation/sensationalism of what the good general will be discussing (and certainly he isn't going to discuss anything over the head of his Commander-in-Chief). I will certainly listen in though - I'm so sick of this war that the previous war-mongering administration lied us into waging!

    April 11, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. phoenix85

    I love Obama, and we need to get the boys home

    April 11, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |