WASHINGTON — A new military plan for troop withdrawals from Iraq that was described in broad terms this week to President-elect Barack Obama falls short of the 16-month timetable Mr. Obama outlined during his election campaign, United States military officials said Wednesday.
The plan was proposed by the top American commanders responsible for Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus and Gen. Ray Odierno, and it represents their first recommendation on troop withdrawals under an Obama presidency. While Mr. Obama has said he will seek advice from his commanders, their resistance to a faster drawdown could present the new president with a tough political choice between overruling his generals or backing away from his goal.
The plan, completed last week, envisions withdrawing two more brigades, or some 7,000 to 8,000 troops, from Iraq in the first six months of 2009, the military officials said. But that would leave 12 combat brigades in Iraq by June 2009, and while declining to be more specific, the officials made clear that the withdrawal of all combat forces under the generals’ recommendations would not come until some time after May 2010, Mr. Obama’s target.
Transition officials said the plan was described in only general terms to Mr. Obama by Robert M. Gates, who is staying on as defense secretary, and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when Mr. Obama met for five and a half hours with his national security team on Monday in Chicago. They said all participants had sidestepped the details of how to reconcile Mr. Obama’s timetable for withdrawing combat forces with the more extended one recommended by the generals. A transition official said that in future meetings, “the military will get a chance to articulate their preferences.”
Will Barack Obama blow off his frontline generals in favor of his political campaign generals?
Will Barack Obama order a hasty withdrawal from Iraq rather than “be as careful getting out as we were reckless getting in”?
Will Barack Obama completely blowoff his base and the promise to the American people to pull out combat brigades in 16 months?
So many broken promises and failures and the man hasn’t even taken the oath yet. Incredible!