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.