Digital News Report- President Obama has set a firm deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq. He told marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, “Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.” The U.S. currently has over 142,000 troops in Iraq. Obama also stated that the withdrawal would allow the U.S. to focus on Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
However, he said that the 50,000 non-combat troops are expected to stay in Iraq to provide support, which has disappointed some congressional Democrats. Senate leader Harry Reid saying 50,000 troops was “higher than I had anticipated.” President Obama has stated that all troops should be out of Iraq by the end of 2011.
“Such a large number can only be viewed by the Iraqi public as an enduring occupation force,” stated Representative Lynn Woolsey. “So long as the U.S. is viewed as an occupier, the Iraqis will be unable to achieve the necessary unification, reconciliation, and further democratization efforts that will be required for them to bring long-term stability to the country.”
Senator John McCain called the plan “reasonable” and stated that he is “cautiously optimistic that the plan that is laid out by the president can lead to success.”
Next month marks the six-year anniversary of the Iraqi war. More than 4250 Americans have died in combat in Iraq during that period.