April 12th, 2009
10:39 AM ET
6 years ago

Top U.S. general in Iraq: I believe we'll be gone by late 2011

WASHINGTON (CNN) – General Ray Odierno, the top U.S. military commander on the ground in Iraq, said Sunday that he believes U.S. troops will be out of the country by the end of 2011.

CNN Chief National Correspondent John King asked Odierno to rate his confidence, on a scale of one to ten, that U.S. troops would be out by the agreed upon timeline between the U.S. and Iraqi governments.

“As you ask me today, I believe it’s a ten – that we will be gone by 2011.”

Odierno, one of the key architects of the surge strategy in Iraq, also weighed in Sunday on the new president’s approach to the troubled nation.

“He’s our commander-in-chief,” Odierno said of President Barack Obama, whose opposition to the Iraq war and to the surge strategy became trademarks during the 2008 White House race. “As our commander-in-chief, we take direction from him.”

“He’s very attentive. He listens. He’s incredibly intelligent. He talks through the issues. . . .He makes a decision and then we execute those decisions and that’s all you can expect out of your commander-in-chief. And I’ve been very pleased with the interaction that I’ve been able to have with him.”


On a lighter note, Odierno also discussed his new Facebook page with King. “I think it’s important that people can reach out and ask questions,” Odierno said of his new online social networking presence. “Maybe [I can] educate them a little bit more on what’s going on here in Iraq and get to know us a little bit better.”

“This is new for me. This is new ground so we’ll see how it goes. But I’m actually pretty excited about it.”

It did not take long for Facebook users to respond to Odierno’s appearance on State of the Union. One commenter on Odierno’s Facebook page said the general was “representing the USA well,” in the interview. “Thank you for that and for all you do for us at home and all those brave men & women you supply leadership & direction,” the commenter added.

Filed under: Iraq • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Had It

    John King is not a good reporter. He is too prejudiced to the far far right. Wish CNN would "lose" that position totally. His wife isn't much better – Dana Bash (bash being the key word – bash bash bash).

    April 12, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. phoenix88

    thank you Obama and military decision makers

    now follow through and get us out of there

    enough is enough

    no more continuing Bush/Cheney lies

    April 12, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  3. Alfred E. Neumann

    Too bad some of these generals skipped the class on Vietnam.

    All that's lacking is the song in the background, "I'll Be Home For Christmas..."

    Interesting how some far lefties view anything that does not totally agree with their views as "to the far right." LOL.

    April 12, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. alvino

    It looks like John King's effort to get Odierno to take a cheap shot at the commander in chief may have failed this time.

    April 12, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. Scott AZ

    Thank goodness we were not at war with the Somali pirates, looks like they would have kicked our butts.

    April 12, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. phoenix 6 & 7/8

    I may be a far leftie, but I don't think we should have invaded Iraq and destabilized the region. Iraq was the only country that kept Iran in check.

    April 12, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. Dd

    "He’s very attentive. He listens. He’s incredibly intelligent. He talks through the issues."

    That not only speaks volumes about Obama.

    It speaks volumes about Bush.

    The general pointed it out for the simple fact that Bush was none of those things.

    April 12, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. Is that not 2 years?

    The Messiah promised us 16 months and now you're talking 2 years?
    Soon you'll be talking 3-4 years. What a bunch of BS-

    You are all no better than Bush and probably worse since Bush at least prevented terrorist attacks for almost 8 years and I'm sure that under Obama (because of his weakness), we will be attacked on our soil.

    April 12, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. Jon

    I am suprised the previous comment got through the moderators. I don't think personal attacks on anyone should be allowed through.

    Thanks for the reporting King. A true example of how troops follow their leaders. It doesn't matter what political party is in the White House. Duty, Honor, Country.

    April 12, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. dave willard

    You may not like the man but you should respect the position. I get tried of your people disrespecting the office of the president when you refere to him as Obama. you did not do this to President Bush. He is the Persident of the United States and should be refered to as President Obama.

    April 12, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. russ

    They are just shifting the troops to Afganistan, it's like the pea and shell game.

    April 12, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. Saul- Virginia

    I am glad that we have such a robust and effective military team working with the president with a new mission to get our men and women in uniform out of Iraq.

    Somemay not want war to go even a day longer, but be assured that we have an intelligent commander in chief that really listens to his brilliant commanders on the ground to end this dumb war.

    Thank you to all the troops and their commanders who are sacrifices their lives amidst all the war and political bickering.

    April 12, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  13. Nate

    I would like more information on the residual US occupying force that is currently planned. Sure, we'll be out of Iraq by 2011... except for 50,000 US troops.

    April 12, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  14. Robert S.

    This General seems a class and a half above the fellow cowboy clowns that W. trotted out to say "all is well". I am impressed with his style and substance. I look forward to some real progress at extricating our nation's troops from the Iraqi swamp because we have real problems, i.e. Al Quaada and Somali pirates, and those are real problems not of our own making. Best wishes, sir.

    April 12, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. Lori

    Thank God our President is doing what we elected him to do. If it were McCain and the Republicans they would continue this war for another '100 years' as was promised.

    If Republicans care about this war and helping out the Iraqi people than why are they so anti-Muslim and why are they calling our President a Muslim to slander him? Apparently, they like Muslims. For people who think that it was justified to invade Iraq to bring about 'democracy and freedom' (yeah right) and spend our American tax dollars in Iraq, they should embrace the Muslim world, right? Republican hypocrisy, yet again.

    April 12, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. Bill Howerton

    Dave, I don't know what country you lived in for the past 8 years, but people both on the left and the right routinely referred to President Bush simply by his last name only. Rachel Madow even had a segment entitled "Bushed". For that matter, people also routinely referred to Bill Clinton simply as "Clinton" in conversation.

    Are you suggesting that President Obama should be treated differently than his predecessors?

    April 12, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. Marcus Allen

    Dave, you are a fool. When Bush was president, he was insulted left and right by Obama supporters... now Obama is president and you demand respect? What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

    By the way Saul, there is nothing "new" about this mission... it is people promising to end the war within three to four years, but we just need to get into the war more... basically, it is the troop surge that Bush did already, just being done again (more intensive than Bush) and with the same promise that the surge will end the war within three to four years...

    This war will not end under the current Obama administration, unless he gets re-elected, which is very possible considering his brilliant marketing campaign – because this guy is definitely just a more extreme version of Bush, just great at spinning stuff (something Bush had no tact for).

    For instance, he asks for more money for war, and he is praised! Imagine if Bush would have done the exact same gesture, he would have been slammed by all the tree-huggers. Go figure.

    April 12, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  18. indiana voter

    The only reason why Obama wants them out is so he can run for office again and say he kept another campaign promise. It has nothing to do with the troops. He could care less. He cares more about advancing his own agenda than the lives of the Iraqis or the U.S. troops. He just better hope that the terrorists haven't caught on to this, and they are just waiting for the pull-out so they can take Iraq back over. It may be the Vietnam comparison that so many liberal Democrats were hoping for under the Bush administration, only under Obama instead. Only time will tell.

    April 12, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  19. Erik in Real Pennsylvania

    4,271 brave Americans have died in Iraq to date. $613 billion dollars of mostly borrowed money have been spent so far for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It's time to bring our surviving heroes home.

    April 12, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  20. Manuel J.

    I'm definitely not a Pres. Obama fan but I think he has learned a lesson in the complexities of military affairs and now realizes pulling troops out too quickly would be too costly a proposition.

    As for those bickering about sending troops to Afghanistan, did you forget where the 9/11 attacks came from? You have too short a memory and are definitely NOT students of history (e.g. Neville Chamberlain).

    In addition, there are a lot of you on the Left and Right who bicker and complain but have no solutions. For you, please keep your opinions to yourselves or put your money where your mouth is and join Public Service in some compacity or another.

    April 12, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  21. Pel

    Think God an active duty GENERAL has spoken out with what he feel to to the truth and I applaud him for this. The time for the pull out is a little longer than I anticipated, but thiere is a true talk of a pull out from all the key parties. .

    April 12, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. alvino

    @ is that not two years-

    Is he the Messiah or the anti Christ? Two years sure beats McCain's promise to be in Iraq for 100 years.

    April 12, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. college student

    we destablized the only country that was keeping iran at bay....there is basically no government in iraq at the moment, the shiites and the sunnis are going at it again except this time since saddam isnt in power the sunnis are are the ones getting killed and since most the population is shiite muslim who else in the region is shiite muslim....oh yea thats right iran...so since the shiites in iraq listen to the shiites in iran what does that mean? oh yea thats right iran is going to be running both countries now. and pakistan is about to be overthown by a bunch of radicals which will make india itchy with a radical pakistan with nuclear weapons so im sure india will attack pakistan. And with all this going on all the muslims are gonna go after the jews again who also have nuclear weapons...times are gonna get crazy all you people just watch

    April 12, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. Lynn

    For the last few days the media has fueled the fire that General would go against the Iraqi drawdown and President Obama. No matter how hard King tried to get disagreement the General. with class and conviction, shot him down.

    What are the Republicans going to say now that Sec. Gates, General Paetraus and General Odierno have complimented President Obama with his total engagement, intelligence and ability to listen before making his decisions?

    April 12, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. Keith in Austin

    I just love the fact that our President bows to Mid-East Kings while being our Commander in Chief. I'm glad I don't have to share a fox hole with him. The brave men we left on the beaches at Normandy and Iwo Jima must be turning over in their graves right now. His weakness is apalling!

    April 12, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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