February 25th, 2009
12:13 PM ET
14 years ago

Officials: Obama expected to OK 19-month Iraq plan


CNN has learned that President Obama is expected to approve a proposal to withdraw most combat troops from Iraq within 19 months. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama is expected to approve a proposal to withdraw most combat troops from Iraq within 19 months, several Pentagon officials told CNN Wednesday.

The decision will be announced at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina on Friday, according to one senior administration official.

Although no decision has been officially announced at the White House, a Pentagon official told CNN "that's the way the wind is blowing" in reference to the 19-month option.

A White House spokesman said no final decisions about Iraq policy has been made by the president.

The Pentagon several weeks ago sent the president options for withdrawals at 16, 19, and 23 months.

The 16-month option was Obama's campaign pledge. But shortly after taking office, he asked Pentagon and military commanders for an analysis of additional options, and they submitted the two other timeframes in response.


The details of what the shape of U.S. forces will be in Iraq over the next many months remains unclear until a number of additional decisions are made. It is expected that the announcement will call for the majority of combat forces to be withdrawn, leaving a residual force of as many as 50,000, largely in a training or advisory role.

U.S. military officials point out even those residual forces may find themselves in combat.

For the past two months, the U.S. Central Command has been conducting a detailed assessment of how equipment and personnel would be withdrawn from Iraq, according to a U.S. military official.

He declined to be named because of the sensitivity of discussing withdrawal details prior to the president's announcement. However, he confirmed the U.S. military is looking at exit routes through Jordan and Kuwait.

And they are trying to determine what equipment might be returned to the United States, transferred to the Iraqi or Jordanian governments, sent to Afghanistan, or simply discarded if not needed. Final decisions will depend on the timeframe for the withdrawal, he said.

Filed under: Iraq • President Obama
soundoff (201 Responses)
  1. Brian

    So who do we have to thank for telling our enemies when we're going to be leaving their turf? Dear Mr. Terrorist-The U.S. combat troops will be here for 19 more months, then after that, you're free to do whatever you want. It's amazing how stupid and dangerous this thinking is.

    February 25, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. Jeff Langer

    The war machine/Joint Chief of Staff keeps wanting more war, the longer the better. We have a war here at home it's called the collapse from Wall Street to Main Street. Mr. President we voted for you to fix America not Iraq. Bring the troops home now!

    February 25, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. Once you vote Black

    I am so glad that this great American is running our military. Internationally, this nation has sunk to its lowest level under the Bush error that for the first time in 8 years I am proud to be an American. If Jindal gets his hand on power, based on his silly performance last night, the only economy that will be stimulated with be that of India

    February 25, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. Laura, Boston

    CNN please tell me why my comments always seem to be awaiting moderation.

    I don't know if others can read what I wrote during this process and I don't understand it. I don't swear or use racial or vulgarities so why gives?

    February 25, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. Dan

    Proud American ... go away. Just go far, far away.

    February 25, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. a REAL American

    You need a reality check, Grahame...first you say the GOP is the party of hate while conveniently forgetting all the vile and hateful things said about Bush for 8 years. He was compared to a monkey on a daily basis, and where was Al Sharpton and Co. then? Basking in the glow probably. Then you said Obama is being compared to Hitler.... by whom? Again, I recall not long ago hearing names like that being hurled at Bush, but I guess it didn't bother you then, right?

    Next time you want to spit out a bunch of crap, just remember the source of it.

    February 25, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. virginia for obama



    February 25, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. Lori

    Good. As long as Pres Obama gets them out responsibly like he'd promised than I am so happy. I feel so much optimism in this country now that we have this new intelligent President. Good job, BO!

    February 25, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  9. RICO

    Obama is doing the right thing here, our troops have been there long enough. By now the Iraq should be able to take care of itself, in fact they want to take charge and be responsible for thier country. How come all these Republican that want to keep troops there are ignoring that fact? IRAQ WANTS THEM OUT WHY KEEP THEM THERE? I think 19 months if a good time line.

    February 25, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. Oregonian

    Tell me @Proud American Just what are you proud of? I have never heard anything but nastiness and negativity from you with no specifics other than your statements like.
    "Obama…what a disgrace to have this questionable individual leading our military….this country's sunk to it's lowest point. The recession is more of a moral nature than financial….we're bankrupting our moral values that this country was found on…."

    Does that drivel even mean anthing other than a statement of hate? Seek therapy.

    February 25, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Ron

    Q you were led into war by a sheep who had his interest in mind. Today is your lucky day. You now have an intelligent commander and chief who is fighting an up hill battle against the republican terror threat. Tell your friends.

    February 25, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. No Vaseline

    Hahaha, I just love hearing complaints from Rethuglicans all day. About time sense made its way into Iraq. Kudos, President Obama!

    February 25, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Concerned in MA

    Hear that noise?

    It's the sound of a power vacuum in Iraq as our soldiers are leaving... hopefully not sucking some more Inranian influence in.

    Obama, I hope and pray for everyone's sake you sought counsel from your military commanders instead of just trying to fulfill a campaign promise.

    February 25, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. Bring them home

    ..but understand you are bringing them home because they were successful in their job under the leadership of President Bush. They are coming come with respect, their heads held high.

    If it had been up to Hillary Clinton we would have pulled them out in defeat and Iran, roadside bombers and Al Qaeda would also be running Iraq...not the world I would want to leave to our childeren.

    February 25, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  15. Maurice from Ontario

    President Obama has diligently strived to meet the promises he made on the campaign trail. Let us not forget that he and his administration have been in office for hardly a month's time. Yet, he has come through on so many items.

    His commitment to transparency shines through as well. The fact that the American public will now know exactly how much a war actually costs (in dollars, as well as in lives and in other relevant aspects) is a tribute to the administration's efforts to let the American people know what is going on.

    The fact that our soldiers will be receiving benefits and increased remuneration, and the fact that veterans will be eligible to receive additional benefits - this bespeaks of commitment, honesty, and integrity. I salute you, President Obama.

    February 25, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. Sniffit

    @ Concerned in MA, who said "Obama, I hope and pray for everyone's sake you sought counsel from your military commanders instead of just trying to fulfill a campaign promise."

    Read the article. It quite specifically talks about Obama's extensive consultation with the military's leadership. Moreover, it shows why Obama is likely breaking a campaign promise by choosing an option that leaves the troops there longer than 16 months, because he understands the need to base his decision-making on the reality on the ground and the advice of his military advisors...as opposed to what would be most politically expedient.

    February 25, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. Ghost

    Good deal. in 19 months, we will have cut our budget by a dew million or so a month.

    February 25, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Joe in NJ

    He may withdraw troops from Iraq but they are just going to march across the border to Afghanistan.

    February 25, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. Angi's mom

    The sooner, the better. May I suggest that the US send Iraq a bill for the expenses incurred ?

    February 25, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Deb

    Proud American - we are all Proud Americans and President Obama is working harder for the American people than George W. Bush did in his 8 years in the White House.

    February 25, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  21. JJ12345

    Only three months longer but pulling out MOST of the troops not all. How many are going to stay? How long will they stay?

    February 25, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. Beverly, NYC

    After 7 years, at least the troops know there is a light at the end of the tunnel soon. The Iraqis should pay for any troops they need to remain from here on out.

    February 25, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. LIP

    We entered this war to stop the dictatorial murder of innocent Shiite Muslims and to keep Sadam out of Kuwait ,a country we were sworn to protect and to protect Saudi Arabia (our major oil supplier) from also being overrun by Saddam, like what he did in Kuwait. Remember the burning oil fields.
    Obama's campaign promise was to get us out in 16 months. So far, he is saying he will miss it by only a few more months, but he is going to keep 50,000 troops there indefinitely. I harken back to the election when McCain was criticized for saying we would keep troops there for 100 more years. Not to far off the mark, so far.

    February 25, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  24. AVEE capitalcityVA


    February 25, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. donna

    Proud American..your mind is "bankrupt" therefore, your "opinions" are void....the more you hate Obama, the better he will do...so keep going...your weak mind and pathetic comments aren't nothing but greenhouse emissions that our President will soon put a cap on!!

    February 25, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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