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 It is expected that the announcement will call for the majority of combat forces to be withdrawn, leaving a residual force of as many as 50,000, largely in a training or advisory role.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two months, the U.S. Central Command has been conducting a detailed assessment of how equipment and personnel would be withdrawn from Iraq, according to a U.S. military official.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

    Proud American?????

    I don't think you're much of an American Bub. And from where I sit, you have nothing to be proud of. If you think torture is what this country is based on, you are no citizen of this country.

    February 25, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Door Knob

    It seems he will break his promise of pulling them out within 16 months. Nothing is as important as keeping that particular promise. Who cares if the original time frame was just an estimate. Who cares if 3 or 7 additional months is negligible. LOL.

    February 25, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. Kimberly in Azizona

    THANK GOD! its time to end the illigal occupation of Iraq. We need that money in this country, and being in Iraq has not made us ONE BIT SAFER, and ONLY increased the heat from there. The war was a mistake and it needs to be ended! I do not mind going after terrorist, but we need to go after the ones that attacked us and they were NEVER in Iraq, only the bush oil fields!

    February 25, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. Tulsa

    GROW UP.

    February 25, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. Mike, Syracuse NY

    @Once you vote Black: "first time in 8 years I am proud to be an American"
    A real American is always proud of his country. You can disagree with policy, but if you're not proud of your country, just leave.

    February 25, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. aware

    It is not about Iraq!

    The Empire of Economic Globalization is the name of Obama's game! And the empire will need an emperor! 🙁

    Obama is all schmoozing obfuscation meant to titillate your imagination and fog his questionable substance!

    Will people bow down to the one who captures their imagination! History proves they do! 🙁

    February 25, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. mary, colorado

    Bush was a Loser with a capital L. His phony reasons for attacking Iraq have caused more death and destruction than he anticipated, from our own troops down to the Iraqi people and the can of worms that was opened in the name of Islam. I don't know how he sleeps at night. Now we are in the process of undoing what he did and it will take more money but hopefully fewer lives to get Iraq settled into their own government and its responsibilites. I'd like to have the troops home as quickly as possible and start trying to erase the bad memories the rest of the world has of us.

    February 25, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. Texan for Progression

    To those who are beginning to doubt the sincerity of Obama:

    There are a few issues where Obama has not delivered according to the expectations of his supporters. The Iraq withdrawal and rescinding certain Bush policies regarding detainees and rendition to name a couple. But if your expectations are built on his campaign, make certain that your expectations are not rooted in misinterpretations of his comments during the campaign. For example, you should recall where he clearly stated during the campaign season that his ultimate decision regarding troop withdrawal would hinge on military commander briefings. So in perspective, 19 months is more than acceptable.

    February 25, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Tulsa

    A couple of months?
    What are you on? Or are you just STUPID?

    February 25, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. J in NJ

    Nobody is going anywhere anytime soon except into combat. The 50k left over will be there way after all of us are gone and forgotten. How long have our troops been in Korea? Germany? Japan?

    February 25, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. Mike, Syracuse NY

    How long do the remaining 50,000 stay in Iraq?
    What has to happen for them to leave?
    How many simply move from Iraq to Afghanistan?
    How long do we stay in Afghanistan?
    Where's the timetable for victory (or surrender) there?
    What defines victory in Afghanistan?
    What's the exit strategy?
    Come on liberals; you asked all this of Bush. Speak up.

    February 25, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  12. Tulsa

    The Taliban are in Afghanistan, not Iraq.
    Iraq was in no way tied to 9-11. The Taliban who were in control in Afghanistan at the time gave safe haven to OBL and AlQueda. That's why we invaded Afghanistan. We never finished that war. President Obama has made it very clear that he wants us OUT of Iraq and to finish the job in Afghanistan.
    He is moving with prudent haste to do just that.

    February 25, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  13. Riaz

    Good beginning.. 3 months is just 1/3rd of $36 billion more... I hope there is an end to torture too for the common man without job, food, house, healthcare and education..!!! His attention to detail needs to be improved incluidng silly mistakes like the nation that invented Auto Industry, failed to fill commerce/healthcare secretary posts... But it is a much better day before Jan 19th... Dont worry about Wall Street, they will recover by Sept 09... but I don't think Main street will recover soon... Looking for a better day, just a HOPE still!!!

    February 25, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. daniel cabrera

    I do not know about that, for this current CORRUPTED CHICAGO-STYLE ADMINISTRATION is loaded with very inept elements....I doubt that the have any clue to deal with ANY KIND OF SCENARIO (domestic or international) efficiently.


    Daniel Cabrera
    Merrillville, Indiana

    February 25, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Kevin in Ohio

    Lets just say I hope the President is right in the moves he is making....if he is not, then it won't matter one iota whether we get out of the economic crisis or not, because the terrorists will have won.... and that spells the end anyway.

    February 25, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. Tom in S.A.

    Any of you who've ever been in the military believe it when you see it. Time will dictate how and when the troops come home, you can't set a timetable and expect to adhere to it just because the POTUS says so. I'd say at least a couple of years, less would be great but it has to be done right, not done on a campaign promise.

    February 25, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. Jindal that, will ya?

    I think that may be a little closer than Bush's original estimate of 6 months. Remember, "Mission Accomplished"? And that saga was how many long years ago?

    February 25, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. Caligirl

    Please just get us out of there ASAP Mr. President.

    February 25, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. Betty

    Let's just announce to the bad guys that we are going and the exact date we plan to leave...geez, you can tell this president ain't military savvy.

    He cares more about prancing around in front of the press all the time then he does about putting our soldiers in harms way by this announcement. Doesn't he realize that giving the enemy a timetable will only result in attacks on the remaining troops in Iraq as their fellow troops get slowly moved out????

    He can't move them all at one time, so he is making the remaining soldiers sitting ducks by this announcement. What an imbecile!

    February 25, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. WhoCares?


    We need to get these boys and girls home to their loving families that hope everyday they don't get the dreaded letter or phone call.

    February 25, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. person

    bring the troops home or send to find the real threat Al Queda.

    February 25, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. Alan

    So if we pull out of Iraq to concentrate on Afghanistan (where the REAL problem came from in the first place after all of G.W.'s lies otherwise), what's bad about FINALLY REALLY solving the source of the problem?

    I think a lot of folks need to just sit back and simmer on the fact that we might just have a President here who is "inexperienced" (as was Lincoln and basically ANYONE who steps into the President's office), but also surprisingly brilliant and capable of learning and surpassing anything a president has done before?

    He's human. He might not achieve all he's hoping to. But I would lay bets he has a far better chance of quickly learning and doing most of what he hopes to.

    Unlike G.W.

    Ronnie was Wrong. Rush is Wrong. What if YOU'RE wrong, too?

    February 25, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. Crystal

    it's about time something gets done. Bush didn't do anything and now we actually have a REAL chance for freedom.

    February 25, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  24. Shirley in California

    I can handle 19 months but I HOPE our troops can. Although this is a let down however, it is still good news. I will only be disappointed IF he continues to keep the troop levels high over there. This also would factor into my decision in 2012.

    February 25, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. mary, colorado

    I work for DOD and have seen troops leave and return. This time I want to see them return for good. It can't happen soon enough for me and make it a one-way trip! We've sent enough of our people into Hell for worthless cause, and created enough Iraqi misery over the people they lost. The ones whose idea it was to start this unnecessary war should burn in Hell, all for the sake of enriching their oil company buddies and the American contractors working in Iraq. I hope somehow they are made to pay for their greediness.

    February 25, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
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