Getting Out of Iraq - The Obama Plan: ASK THE EXPERT
http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/02/promised_withdrawal.html Lawrence J. Korb responds to President Obama's Iraq plan, whether it is likely to spur political action in Iraq, and whether we will be ready to leave in August 2010 in the latest installment of CAP's ASK THE EXPERT series. President Obama made a critical change in our nation’s foreign policy in Iraq, reaffirming his full commitment to the Status of Forces Agreement negotiated by the Bush administration late last year. Obama’s announced he will remove all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by August 31, 2010 and honor the 2011 SOFA deadline for a complete withdrawal of all U.S. forces. This shows he remains committed to the promise he made to the American people during his campaign—that he would finally act to end this needless, mindless, senseless war. During his campaign, Obama promised to remove U.S. combat troops within 16 months, leaving behind a residual force with limited responsibilities. His announcement today largely fulfills these pledges. While the 19-month deadline is an extension of his earlier estimate, it still offers a strong commitment to remove U.S. forces from the country. His plan will benefit both the United States and Iraq, moving both nations toward a new era of responsible engagement in the Middle East. By setting a deadline for withdrawing combat forces, Obama has sent an unmistakable message that the United States fully supports a sovereign Iraq and is serious about upholding the principles set out in the SOFA. That agreement promised that U.S. troops would leave Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, and vacate the country by the end of 2011. Obama’s plan would see all combat troops out of Iraq well before this deadline, leaving only a residual transition force in place until the agreement runs out. By strengthening our commitment to leave, and setting an earlier deadline for the end of combat operations, Obama has also taken an essential step in building trust with the Iraqi government and peopl...
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