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Iraq Watch

Ann Scott Tyson and Anne E. Kornblut wrote in yesterday's Washington Post: "President Obama is expected to announce as early as Friday that he will remove all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by August 2010, three months later than promised during his campaign, U.S. officials said."

Reuters reports: "President Barack Obama will deliver an address on Friday on 'the way forward' in Iraq, officials said, in which he is widely expected to announce steps to begin pulling U.S. combat troops out of Iraq.

"'We're keeping a campaign commitment,' Vice President Joe Biden told NBC television in an interview on Wednesday when asked the substance of Obama's address at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina.

"'I think the American public will...understand exactly what we're doing and I think they'll be pleased,' Biden said."

Peter Baker and Thom Shanker write in the New York Times: "President Obama’s planned Iraq troop drawdown would leave the bulk of American forces in place until early next year while some combat units would remain in place in new roles even beyond a declared August 2010 target for withdrawal, administration officials said Wednesday.

"The plan would maintain relatively high troop levels through Iraq’s parliamentary elections, to be held in December, before beginning in earnest to meet the August 2010 target for removing combat forces, the officials said. Even after August 2010, as many as 50,000 of the 142,000 troops now in Iraq would remain, including some combat units reassigned as 'Advisory Training Brigades' or 'Advisory Assistance Brigades,' the administration and Pentagon officials said.

"Mr. Obama consistently said during his campaign that he would leave a residual force for training, protection and counterterrorism missions. But the gradual pace of his withdrawal — spread out over 19 months, instead of the 16 months he promised during the campaign — and the possible size of the remaining force left some Democrats discouraged, while some Republicans cautioned against moving too quickly. The administration intends to call those remaining troops a 'transition force.'"

Thinkprogress.org shows House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow show yesterday expressing doubt that so many soldiers will still be necessary in the long run: "I don’t know the justification is for a presence of 50,000 troops in Iraq. I do think that there is a need for some, and I don’t know that all of them have to be in the country. They can be platformed outside.…I would think one-third of that, maybe 20,000, maybe more than one-third, 15,000 or 20,000."

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 26, 2009; 1:20 PM ET
Categories:  Iraq  
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Comments

As these plans unfold in the early days of this administration I hope Obama is judged against his actual promises rather than against the promises that his opponents claimed he made. And, I hope that he is given enough time to actually state his plans before they are prejudged based on rumors (both leaked and planted by his political opposition).

Posted by: fletc3her | February 26, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Froomkin could be the LEAST respected of all White House reporters. It is just sad.

Posted by: whughes1 | February 26, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I doubt that many people outside of the punditry ridden, reality free, zone will get too upset about delaying the pull out by 3 months.

Posted by: troyd2009 | February 26, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Up until now I thought that Nancy Pelosi was just an embarrassment to the Democratic Party who managed to get the job based on time of service, not ability.

After watching her interview with Maddow last night, I know that Nancy Pelosi should not be Speaker of the House or even hold elective office for that matter.

Her malarkey about torture being so double super animal house secret that she could not talk about it did nothing inspire any confidence whatsoever in her ability to process thoughts in a reasonable and coherent manner.

She could express no meaningful rationale why the standing troop level in Iraq should be less than 50,000. That's probably because it's so secret she cannot talk about it. It's no wonder that Republicans think Democrats are weak.

Posted by: Patriot3 | February 26, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"She could express no meaningful rationale why the standing troop level in Iraq should be less than 50,000."

Yeah, well Pelosi couldn't express why the number should be greater than zero, either. She was so careful to hedge herself around during the security-hysterical Bush era that she's become quite complicit: complicit in the occupation of Iraq, complicit in torture, complicit in surveillance. She's still playing the game.

Pelosi's thoroughly odious, a traitor to the Constitution of the United States, and a professional pol down to the tips of her manicured fingernails. Here, she's just reflecting her belief that there could be broad political support in the House for leaving 15-20K human targets in Iraq, as opposed to 50K. Take it with a grain of salt, Obama can probably get whatever he wants through the House at this point.

Nobody, but nobody in Washington draws any attention to the fact that Bush's SOFA is up for an up-down popular vote in Iraq in July. The American public wants to believe it's up to Washington, and Washington has to play the part. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing how Obama deals with the rug merchants.

Posted by: fzdybel | February 26, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

No, you have that all wrong.
Iraq wasn't a problem until the WPE decided to steal their oil.

How does that crime fall on Obama's shoulders?

Posted by: savdavid | March 2, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Iraq never asked to be invaded.
Iraq never asked to be occupied.
Bush turned a not-good situation into the world's worst hell hole.

Posted by: pedjr336 | March 2, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

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