Probably would have happened about this way no matter which Democrat became President:
Declaring "I have come to speak to you about how the war in Iraq will end," President Barack Obama on Friday moved to fulfill the defining promise of his campaign, saying all U.S. combat troops will be withdrawn by the end of August 2010.
But in the same speech before Marines and military leadership here, he announced that the vast majority of those involved in the pullout will not leave this year. Obama also said that tens of thousands of U.S. personnel will remain behind afterward.
"The most important decisions that have to be made about Iraq's future must now be made by Iraqis," the president said at the sprawling Camp Lejeune, N.C., base, which is about to deploy thousands of troops to the U.S.'s other war front, in Afghanistan.
Senior Obama administration officials had said earlier that of the roughly 100,000 U.S. combat troops to be pulled out of Iraq over the next 18 months, most will remain in the war zone through at least the end of this year to ensure national elections there go smoothly. The pace of withdrawal means that although Obama's promised pullout will start soon, it will be backloaded, with most troops returning in the last few months of the time frame.
And even after the drawdown, a sizable U.S. force of 35,000 to 50,000 U.S. troops will stay in Iraq under a new mission of training, civilian protection and
With most Americans telling pollsters they believe the long, costly, divisive war was a mistake and more than 4,250 Americans killed there, the Aug. 31, 2010 end date for Iraq war combat operations is slower than Obama had promised voters as a candidate. The timetable he pledged then would have seen combat end in May 2010.
Now, on to the graveyard of empires....