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 It is expected that the announcement will call for the majority of combat forces to be withdrawn, leaving a residual force of as many as 50,000, largely in a training or advisory role.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two months, the U.S. Central Command has been conducting a detailed assessment of how equipment and personnel would be withdrawn from Iraq, according to a U.S. military official.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

    we are a weaker nation today because we elected W the messiah twice. It will take a lot of time to undue this evil.

    The GOPS are continuing to make the country look weak in front of our enemies.

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

    As Ron Paul suggested, not only get the troops out of Iraq, but get them out of all foreign countries and close the foreign military bases. We can't afford the empire – never could, really. It was all propped up on phony deficit-based economic policies that are now bearing their tragic fruit. Republicans have nothing to say or offer. They supported launching of an unnecessary and immoral war that was the last straw in bankrupting this nation. Republicans have overseen the greatest increase in a hugely bloated federal government in history. Republicans love war, and do not understand that unnecessary wars are murder, and that they are on the same moral footing as the violent domestic criminals they rail about, and the thugs and tyrants who have incited so much violence during the past 100 years. Thankfully, Americans may be finally waking up and rejecting the uneducated, hate-and-ignorance mongering slime, like the talk-radio hosts so admired by the republican masses. And finally – let's hope a true conservative party eventually emerges – because conservative principles are sound, and provide a very much needed balance.

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


    February 25, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Andy J, Upstate NY

    i guess you folks missed the part where it says 50,000 TROOPS WILL STAY.

    What do you think 50,000 troops are needed for? Advisory purposes? haha.

    you folks posting about how "smart" obama is are quite amusing. quite.

    February 25, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. arithmetic is liberal


    I haven't seen anyone put more purple prose into saying absolutely nothing since H.P. Lovecraft!

    No really... do you have anything else to back up your flowery words of discontent beside more flowery words of discontent?

    February 25, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. SMH

    Kudos to Obama! All of you who are nitpicking the time of 16 months versus 19 months need to seriously get a life. He said that he wanted to also withdraw the troops responsibly! This sure as heck beats the 100 years that McCain proposed. It has only been a month and the Obama administration has done more than the republican regime has done in 8!

    February 25, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. Farrell, Houston, Tx


    February 25, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Frostlanta

    I need everyone to go to twentyfivedollarbill.com so we can get Barak Obama on the twentyfivedollar bill.

    February 25, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Ajay Jain, Garland, TX, USA


    OBAMA / BIDEN 2012

    February 25, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. ray

    listen to the racists red necks on the right , over a trillion dollars spent in iraq on a war wich is illegal , over 4000 americans dead and the racists on the right cries out about the the money congress pass to get the economy better. hahah do these people on the right has any shame? i dont think so.

    February 25, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Larry from RI

    Now attention can be paid to the place where 9/11 originated but has been ignored by Dubbya so he could go chase non-existent WMD's and award no-bid contracts for his rich friends in a country that did not attack us in the first place!

    Now after years of neglect and bumbling Afghanistan is a mess – what a surprise, more utter incompetence from the Bush admin. and yet another huge, stinking, steaming pile of poop he has left for our Nation to clean up.

    February 25, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. ray

    all republicans are racists

    February 25, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |

    @PROUD AMERICAN, HOW MORE UN-AMERICAN CAN YOU BE. Your comments are so full of hate, go find a rock to crawl under because this country does not need people like you.You must be related to Rush Limbaugh, You should be HELD for TREASON. This war should have never been and yes some of these men and women will have to be redeployed to Afganastan that is the reality. This President like all past presidents while campagning say what they would like to do but when reality sets in and after meeting with the Joint Chiefs and other military leaders he took their input and made a RESPONSIBLE DECISION, unlike the one who got us into IRAQ in the first place.

    February 25, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. Erik S.

    Well, good. He made a lot of non-senseical promises when he was running for President, you know, troops out of Iraq in a few months when he won, closing Gitmo right away, transparency in war and security issues. I am glad that he realized that once he became president that he would have to make decisions based in reality. You don't just leave a country when the war is almost completed successfully, no matter how many non-informed people cry for such things. You don't just release dangerous terrorists because Amnesty International thinks it's wrong, and you don't share state secrets with a clueless media. He is keeping many of Bush's policies and this is based on common sense, not emotions. It's good to see this man can think on his feet.

    February 25, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. Bob from Michigan

    What about the rogue country , Pakistan????

    Are we STILL wasting money on those baasturds?? Bush was the BIGGEST mouron on the face of the earth to waste billions on them and look what they did !!! They (the so called non state actors!!) increased our Trade deficit with China by buying arms and ammo

    February 25, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. Laura

    It is so irritating trying to decipher some of these posts. Evidently, we DESPERATELY NEED EDUCATION REFORM! The butchering of the English language here is painful to see, and nearly impossible to understand. The best (or saddest) part is, the posters who are completely incoherent are the ones who believe that they have all the answers and know what's best for the country.

    February 25, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. Once you vote Black

    We have forward troops every pleace. No problem with keeping them in Iraq as long as they are just a striker force used to help out when the locals cannot cope. But we need to end that war. Only the Iraqis can do what needs to be done at this point.

    February 25, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. ROC

    Proud American - what moral value is that?

    Don't raise taxes, borrow, and marry your own siblings?

    February 25, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Millie2640

    To Hillary 2012... Stop hatin cause your girl lost. Stop making this about black and white too. You sound like a pathetic whining baby cause your candidate didn't win. And since when did being black get you anything but a kick in the but in this country? Just shut up already!!!!

    February 25, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. Theresa Wolf

    From what I've heard from Obama, it looks to me like those troops will be heading to Afganistan instead of home. Didn't he just deploy something like 12-14,000 more troops to Afganistan?

    February 25, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. Kevin ST Pete, FL

    That's pretty good. It'll give our troops time to come home, rest, get re-eqiupped, and take the fight to where it really needs to be. So far, President Obama is on target to meet his goals.

    February 25, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. Lee

    Osama and Obama have something in common.
    They both are pals with people who bombed the Pentagon.

    February 25, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. Alan

    I will bet you my stimulus check that this never happens in 19 mos. The excuses will be interesting as well at the libs defending them.

    Before this is said and done, the dems will be supporting the war with the repubs opposing.

    February 25, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |






    February 25, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  25. ray ray

    Our enemies thank you, Obama, for sharing our Iraq strategy and timeline.

    February 25, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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