“WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is expected to order all U.S. combat troops to leave Iraq by August of next year, administration officials said, closing the door on a war that has led to the deaths of at least 4,250 members of the U.S. military.
The pullout recommended by Obama’s security advisers would free up troops and resources for the war in Afghanistan, where Obama has said the threat to national security is acute. The Iraq withdrawal would be completed 18 months from now….
Obama built enormous grass-roots support for his White House bid by promising a quick end to the unpopular Iraq war. His 16-month withdrawal plan, based on removing roughly one brigade a month, had been predicated on commanders determining that it would not endanger U.S. troops left behind or Iraq’s fragile security….
The emerging plan now leaves Obama two months off his campaign pledge, and with between 30,000 and 50,000 troops still in Iraq to advise and train Iraqi security forces and to protect U.S. interests. The complete withdrawal of American forces will take place by December 2011, the period by which the U.S. agreed with Iraq to remove all troops.
Congress has approved more than $657 billion so far for the Iraq war, according to a report last year from the Congressional Research Service.”
This pullout, while inevitable, will come under circumstances far better than I had believed possible. At the very least, we have given the Iraqis a semi-functioning country and the chance to control their own future. As I’ve said in the past, I’ll be very surprised if Iraq hasn’t reverted to some kind of dictatorship five years from now, but I’ve been wrong before and hope to be wrong again.