April 12th, 2009
10:39 AM ET
11 years ago

Top U.S. general in Iraq: I believe we'll be gone by late 2011

WASHINGTON (CNN) – General Ray Odierno, the top U.S. military commander on the ground in Iraq, said Sunday that he believes U.S. troops will be out of the country by the end of 2011.

CNN Chief National Correspondent John King asked Odierno to rate his confidence, on a scale of one to ten, that U.S. troops would be out by the agreed upon timeline between the U.S. and Iraqi governments.

“As you ask me today, I believe it’s a ten – that we will be gone by 2011.”

Odierno, one of the key architects of the surge strategy in Iraq, also weighed in Sunday on the new president’s approach to the troubled nation.

“He’s our commander-in-chief,” Odierno said of President Barack Obama, whose opposition to the Iraq war and to the surge strategy became trademarks during the 2008 White House race. “As our commander-in-chief, we take direction from him.”

“He’s very attentive. He listens. He’s incredibly intelligent. He talks through the issues. . . .He makes a decision and then we execute those decisions and that’s all you can expect out of your commander-in-chief. And I’ve been very pleased with the interaction that I’ve been able to have with him.”


On a lighter note, Odierno also discussed his new Facebook page with King. “I think it’s important that people can reach out and ask questions,” Odierno said of his new online social networking presence. “Maybe [I can] educate them a little bit more on what’s going on here in Iraq and get to know us a little bit better.”

“This is new for me. This is new ground so we’ll see how it goes. But I’m actually pretty excited about it.”

It did not take long for Facebook users to respond to Odierno’s appearance on State of the Union. One commenter on Odierno’s Facebook page said the general was “representing the USA well,” in the interview. “Thank you for that and for all you do for us at home and all those brave men & women you supply leadership & direction,” the commenter added.

Filed under: Iraq • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Charlie in Maine

    I like this guy. If he is not busy when he is done with Iraq maybe he could help out in Afganistan. Where the real war should have stayed and been won.

    April 12, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. SK

    I recall during the campaign 16 MONTHS, 16 MONTHS, "We'll be out of Iraq in 16 months."

    The end of 2011 is nearly twice that. Hmmm! And he's following Bush's timeline.

    April 12, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. Charlie in Maine

    BTW I also think Obama should ask congress (remember them?) to declare war on the taliban and al queda.

    We don't lose declared wars. never have. Police actions? Insertion of Troops, Invasions based on resoulutions, there we have mixed results.

    Plus- Gitmo detainees being POW means (on the bright side for them) no torture and the Geneva Conventions apply and on the bright side for us no charges required and we keep the until the Taliban asks for their release as a condition of their surrender.

    April 12, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. ron

    ...and the second pro-obama iraq war strategy story in the series...

    April 12, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. JOE

    I spent 35 years in the military, (Air Force and Army)...I never once ever heard of a general who said he had enough men, money, supplies or ever wanted to leave an area he was in..

    They just never have enough of anything...I did hear a 2 star general make a comment during Vietnam...Well this is the only war we got so wee need to make the best of it or we will never get promoted again..

    This is why we have 330 bases world wide 60 years after WW-2...it is their way of making a living and they will never have enough of anything...Men, Guns, Money, buildings or any thing else.

    April 12, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. Orlando,Fl one-k

    Scott AZ,

    It appears that you are incorrect, judging by the outcome from the hostage situation with the somalia pirates, as the U.S. Navy has permantely retired 3 of the pirates and have the other in custody. and thanks to this great country that has the ability to look out for all if it's citenzens.

    April 12, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. johnny

    We'll be gone by late 2011! That's much later than Obama promised and the same time table that was in place during later days of the Bush Administration. The Iraqi's set this time table last year. Obama and the Generals are announcing this like it is something new. It's not. There's no mention of residual forces and private contractors. How many will be left of these forces?

    April 12, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. Thomas Hofer

    The U. S. should be out of Iraq no later than July of this year!! The had no business in Iraq in the first place!!

    April 12, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. Charles

    I will never understand why some say Obama is weak and spineless for opening up communication with our enemies. I find it to be progressive thinking, and a refreshing change from war mongering when he showed a sign of respect and bowed. It would be like if Obama went to another country, and the opposite ruler refused to shake his hand or look at him in the eye.

    The Republican way of "do what we say or you die" didn't work, let's see how Obama does before we bash him.

    April 12, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. Michael Mallon

    My heart aches for all of those who believe General Odierno or anyone else who claims the United States will EVER pull out of Iraq. We may not be cruising around in Fallujah on patrol but if we still have a base in Guantanamo Bay, of all places, there is no way in hell we'll "pull out" of Iraq in two years.

    April 12, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. eric in texas

    As a former military man who served during the clinton and bush administration I must say that it is refreshing to see a story coming from an actual military commander about a draw down. There will still be solderis in Iraq/Afghanistan for a long time and this is what McCain referred to during his run at the presidency. It is no different than South Korea and Germany.

    To the young Korean who posted saying that the South Korean's hardly ever worry about the North. This is true if you are 25 and younger. But after serving there for a year and speaking to a variety of South Korean's in varied age, you find that the older generation has a much more rooted fear of the North because they have seen what they can do when they want to attack. But if the US ever pulls all troops out of South Korea then the economies of many small areas in the country will dry up and people will suffer. So be careful what you ask for, you may get it.

    April 12, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  12. Garth

    Active Duty Military cannot criticize their Commander In Chief, PERIOD! This does not make them tools as others have said. People who say such things have no idea regarding what the military and our democracy is all about. The President is elected by the people and the military's job is to carry out those orders whether they agree with them or not. His orders are supposed to be in the best intrest of the people. It's not the military's job to judge wif he is wrong or right. Their job is to offer advice and to carry out those orders to the best of their abilities. You have to follow your chain of command and that command starts with the president. If this structure didn't exsist we would be just another military dictatorship.

    April 12, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. Billy

    Marcus is absoulty correct in his assesment in that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. The democrats should go after Bush for war crimes and raping the constitution with the same amount of enthusiasm as the republicans went after Clinton for getting a ............ well you know what I'm talkin' 'bout! The main diffrence would be that the ones throwing the accusations more than likely would not be guilty of the same crime that they are accusing said defendant of,......you know.......the way that Hyde and Newt and ...... how many republicans, (and democrats as well, wouldn't want to leave anybody out), were there, I lost count? The first two that were tapped to take over the speaker of the house position at least. You are also correct in your assesment of Bush's tact. He had none.

    April 12, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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