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 It is expected that the announcement will call for the majority of combat forces to be withdrawn, leaving a residual force of as many as 50,000, largely in a training or advisory role.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two months, the U.S. Central Command has been conducting a detailed assessment of how equipment and personnel would be withdrawn from Iraq, according to a U.S. military official.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. melvin

    Is this part of the "get out of Iraq" promise made by Nancy and Harry TWO YEARS AGO?????

    February 25, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. norb

    Entertainer's say that following an animal acti is one hard to follow. Just imaging how Obama feels following W? I can still here the words of John McCain saying that the economy is in good shape! Hard to imaging what would be going on now had McCain and the Republican's won this time around.

    February 25, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Dutch/Hampton Roads, VA

    Not the 16 month withdrawal that he promised, but at least we have a plan to get out. Wise leaders listen to their commanders on the ground and I'm sure that's exactly what the president did.

    February 25, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. George -Canada

    Read my lips....the troops will be there for at least three more years!!
    Thanx to former President they have freedom.
    Ohhhh how come no one on CNN mention about the comments that the big IDIOT Keith Olberman made last night on MSNBC when Jindal was about to respond to Obama speach?

    February 25, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. Gary

    Basically this president has no military experience and he cannot decide on his own. He is listening to Huffington Post, George Soros, Daily Kos, Media matters, moveOn.org, Barack has been trapped and with no executive experience, he does not know what to do. I want to see if CNN publishes these facts or moderates them.

    February 25, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. Jon in Ca

    What leadership!!! Announcing to the world our time-line.

    Hey – Al Qaeda, Iran, Hezbollah, insurgents... are you listening to Obama??

    February 25, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. marty

    How short our memories are? President Bush, together with the Iraqi leaders, negotiated this drawdown of troops several months ago. And, please note, the current President is NOT committed to bringing all the troops home, either. We wil be leaving tens of thousands of troops in Iraq indefinately and ADDING to the troop levels in Afghanistan. How is this different that what Bush would have done? Yet the left is ready to say that he is keeping his promise. He's just following Bush's lead on this one. Sorry, liberals.

    February 25, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. John

    In 24 Months will will be redeploying in Iraq. Once we leave Iran will takes control of the country and start a war with Isreal. If Iran even attempts to build a nuclear weapon Isreal will take it out. This will happen. These people have been fighting for thousands of years and they will be right back at it without us there to keep them apart.

    February 25, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. Independent63

    This agreement was signed before the election. Old news.

    February 25, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. Washington Insider

    @obama-mama and others.

    Look, these troops are not coming home. We are just going to transfer them to Afghanistan. Where they belong, looking for Osama. So stop posting up here, about bringing our troops home. It won't happen until we find him. And Obama kind of has to, or he'll look foolish if he doesn't try.

    February 25, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Mari

    What I would like to know, and what We, the People, have a right to know is the ..... COST OF THE WAR! WHY WAS BUSH HIDING THE COST??



    February 25, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. sam

    I am wondering if Oboma will keep even one of his promises from the campaign trail... GET THEM OUT sooner than you promised.. if you want to impress me !!!!!!!!!!!!!! They should NOT be there. Start today... bring them home... I am afraid that this man lied to Americans... No? Well.. then.. keep the promises you made Obama.... 16 months and counting......

    February 25, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. Venia

    Proud American – do you realize that everything you criticize Obama for (whose only been president a month) is applicable to George W. Bush and the rethuglican party to which I have no doubt you are a proud member of? Where was your dribble then?
    Thanks Obama for trying so hard, something we haven't seen in the last eight years from either bush or the rethuglicans.

    February 25, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. dan acosta

    Good to get out but to the post requesting that iraq pay for the expenses incurred I ask Why? They did not ask to be invaded this was all a bucnh of lies from the previous admin.

    February 25, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Debby

    Yes but he forgot to mention he will deploy them to Afghanistan.

    February 25, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. No Hillary = No Obama

    Then at 18 months it will be revised – wait and see. Don't get your hopes up.

    February 25, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. shoegazer

    Angi's mom,billing the Iraqis' may not be a very bright idea.They may in turn bill the U.S.and I think most rational people would consider that
    to be a horrendous expense.

    February 25, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. pete

    Sounds like he is waiting for appropriate conditions on the ground before he pulls out. And he will leave back about 50,000 troops?

    Eerily like Bush, don't you think?

    Change for tools!

    February 25, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  19. No Hillary = No Obama

    Then at 18 months it will be revised again – sooner or later the nation will realize this Presidency is nothing but a popularilty contest – as it has been from day one.

    February 25, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  20. pete

    He campaigned to end the war immediately, not in 16 months. He also opposed the surge and wanted to pull out immediately back then. Near the end of his campaign, when he locked up all the left wing loon votes, he switched to 16 months.

    He's following Bush's plan. You voted for someone who is lock-step in line with Bush's plan on Iraq, how does it feel?

    February 25, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. bj

    This should help drive the economy even farther into the tank. Bring home 130,000 reservists to no jobs, put the million or so people employed building replacement parts and goods for the army out of work, so they can all draw 300 bucks a week of unemployment. That sounds like real economic stimulous to me.

    February 25, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. Jackie in Dallas

    Concerned in MA

    Did you not actually read the story? It read:
    "The Pentagon several weeks ago sent the president options for withdrawals at 16, 19, and 23 months.

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

    I think that constitutes asking military advisors. The fact that he is leaning toward the 19-month option rather than his 16-month campaign assessment (not pledge, by the way, but his "hope" CNN) means that there were compelling reasons that he listened to. Frankly, I'll be surprised if it doesn't take 24 or more months. That's a LOT of personnel, materials, and equipment to lift out - a logistics nightmare!

    February 25, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. demwit

    All the troops home in 19 instead of 16.., I can live with that.

    February 25, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. demwit

    ok, ok, all the troops home in 19..., +/- 50,000.

    February 25, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. hillary 2012

    To: washington Insider..

    He already looks foolish to me !!!! The only reason he is in office is because he is black...... and CNN helped a little too. Seems they favored him over Clinton.. so he got "favorable publicity."

    He is a smooth talking speech giver who is trying to lift up his people. I wonder if this guy has forgotten that he is half white? I only hear reference to the Black Obama. Anyone out there ever hear him refer to himself as white?

    Anyway.. I voted for him .. had no choice ! McCain is lame !!! I just feel really let down. It's the same old crap... why did I expect anything else? Oh well.. back to reality!!!

    February 25, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9