November 5th, 2008
05:55 PM ET
14 years ago

Brigade's exit may help Obama’s Iraq plan


[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Gen. David Petraeus took Sen. Barack Obama on an aerial tour of Baghdad in July when Obama visited the country."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The U.S. military will reduce the number of troops in Iraq this month as violence has dropped and Iraqi security forces have shown vast improvements, senior military officials told CNN Wednesday.

The military said it is sending home two brigades and not replacing one of them this month, dropping the number of brigades in Iraq from 15 to 14. A brigade has about 3,000 troops.

There are currently about 152,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

The 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division was scheduled to leave Iraq in February 2009, but a late November departure will cut short by two months its 15-month tour.

The second unit, the 3rd Brigade of the 101st, is scheduled to leave this month and will not be replaced, according to Pentagon officials.

Army officials said that several other units will be returning early because of positive security situations on the ground in Iraq. However, current plans are to eventually replace those units, they said.

Early departures and not replacing forces could be the start of a trend that could allow President-elect Barack Obama to fulfill his campaign pledge to reduce the number of combat brigades in Iraq by roughly one a month in his first 16 months in office.

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Scared4OurCountry

    Jillian, Me
    Speaking of Idiot, the worst President in History on paper and personally is your boy Jimmy Carter. He left this country with 10.5% unemployment. Hello! Where was the left back then. The Left have been so bitter since Gore lost the election in 2000 that they have had a witch hunt for Bush. It was never about Florida, TENNESSEE stupid, Gore could not win his home state.The left media keeps spinning that this is the worst economy in 70 years, since the Great Depression, Blah, Blah, Blah. Nothing and I mean not even close to nothing compares to ther Carter Administration. Economy and Foreign Policy. Remember a little thing called the Iran Hostage Crisis. Carter was the absolutely sorriest example for a leader. It took Reagan about 30 minutes in office before they released the Americans. We have not had another attack on this country since 9/11. Bush kept us safe. Hell I feel more threatened now with Obama and his Muslim terrorist beliefs. We no longer are fighting this war abroad. We are now fighting this war at home and Obama is the enemy.

    November 5, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  2. Bryan

    For those of you who mentioned that Obama voted against the war in Iraq in the first place, get real and stop giving this guy all the credit. Despite popular imagination, he's neither infallible or omnipotent (he wasn't in the US senate that far back guys). Also, if you who think the war in Iraq is somehow going to end shortly after his taking office (or likely within his presidency at all for that matter), you've got another thing coming. For example, in the issues section of the official Obama/Biden campaign website he outlines his strategy of giving the military commanders the new mission of "successfully ending the war." That means stabilizing the region enough in the long term for our troops to leave them as a stable, peaceful nation, which happens to be the current strategy (and will probably take years), but don't give the Republicans any credit for that, it might offend your political sensibilities. The surge was a resounding success, the more soldiers we have available on the ground, the safer Iraq becomes. By minimizing troop levels in Iraq as many of you want, we would allow insurgents to regain their strength and make the theater far more dangerous to the poor guys who drew the short straw and had to stay behind. If Obama turns out to be half as good a leader as everyone seems to expect, you might be surprised at how little changes in Iraq in the near future.

    November 5, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |



    November 5, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  4. Danny Corrigan

    This is a shout out for Bryan, who feels the surge was a "resounding success". I never cease to be amazed at how many Americans give little or no thought when their party puts out a statement that is actually ludicrious.

    The surge only seems like a resounding success when compared to the unbelievably inept method of waging this ill conceived war. It's virtually impossible to grade the surge in the same context that the Bush Administration sold their vision of the length, ease and expense of this war. Here is a comparison that could help him put it in perspective.

    Imagine you are the owner of a professional football team that has won a string of Superbowls and is widely considered the best (most powerful) team in the history of the sport. You decide to play a Semi-Pro team from say, England, who has not been able to make payroll for 10 years and only has aging, almost worthless facilities and equipment and players no one has ever heard of. You tell the press you're going to score 100 points in the first quarter. Instead, at the end of 4 quarters, you're tied 0-0 and go into overtime. After 5 overtimes, you kick a fieldgoal and win the game.

    Would you be telling the press after the game your team just won a great victory and has proven once again they are the best team to ever play the game, or are you firing everyone in the front office above janitor as well as the entire coaching staff and the General Manager?

    November 5, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  5. Dan in Mosul

    Umm.... I hate to break it to everyone back home, but it will take at least two years to pack up this roadshow out here.

    Unless you have seen how big the US "footprint " is on the ground out here then you may not understand what I mean.

    Google Earth Iraq and you may gain an appreciation.

    November 5, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  6. Jim

    To "Scared4ourCountry":
    Congratulations! That is the dumbest post I have ever read. As to Bush-Gore remember that Gore won the popular vote. That means more people in the US wanted Gore than Bush. It was about Florida and the discraceful opinion of the Suprme Court.
    "Hell I feel more threatened now with Obama and his Muslim terrorist beliefs. We no longer are fighting this war abroad. We are now fighting this war at home and Obama is the enemy." Can you believe that quote!! His "Muslim terrorist beliefes." Where in the hell did that come from? "Obama is the enemy" – we really need an intelligence exam before people like you should be allowed to vote. I feel very sorry for you.

    November 5, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  7. mike

    Brigades are leaving because the Surge was able to quale violence in area's long enough for political and economic stability can return and the Iraqi forces could be brought up to speed. As for everyone who thinks the war is illegal you need to review the Constution. The legislative branch voted to go in to Iraqi. And from the begining Bush has said once the situation on the ground is stable we will be coming home. It just took longer then what people thought it would. As of right now 12 of 18 provinces are under Iraqi control.

    As for Indepentant and proud "I didn't vote for Obama" he was refering to the entire economic mess and Afganistan not just Iraq. Everyone needs to stop taking people of of context.

    November 5, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  8. be happy

    this sounds like the intelligent way to go, bless our troops and bless our new president and vice president.

    November 5, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  9. JT

    Look, for all of the folks that are praising Bush and McCain and this war...please answer this question. Are you in the military, is your spouse in the military or is your child over there? If not, then please be quiet. I am an Air Force wife who's husband will be leaving for 365 days. He is leaving me and our three children. He could of opted to retire like a lot of people do when given deployment notices (I don't blame them). But he is going and this is his second time. He is going because we have a mortgage to pay in this slumping housing market. Like Obama has said...enough is enough!!!! So unless you are in my shoes or our dear friends who lost their 19 year old son....shut up please. Bring our troops home. They are not wanted there. We will finally have a President who is intelligent and will listen to other leaders and work along with other countries to end this unfounded war.

    November 5, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  10. oh no

    why is it that every time the Iraq war is brought up, the only thing the GOP bloggers have to hang there hat on is the surge????? we shouldn't have been there to begin with...... and the surge??? that was only done when the Forest Gump administration realized that hey, all those higher up Military personal were right about needing more troops to begin with......

    November 5, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  11. Carrie

    To Jim,

    You are right about the need for an intelligence exam before voting. “Scared” reminds me of an uneducated, “Deliverance” kind of guy. America, we are going to point this out one more time, OBAMA IS A CHRISTAIN! Not a Muslim. I would rather have Obama, who has an education he actually earned, as President, then Bush who had a C average, and only because of who his father was. Chances are Bush has an IQ of around 100. “Scared” seems to forget 911 happened on his watch, so tell me again how he has kept us safe?

    November 5, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
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