Report: Obama wants most troops out of Iraq in 19 months

The president is expected to announce later this week that about 100,000 soldiers will be withdrawing by summer 2010, with the rest leaving in 2011.

By Alex Koppelman

Published February 24, 2009 8:45PM (EST)

President Obama is expected to announce later this week that he'll order the withdrawal of most American troops from Iraq by August 2010, the Associated Press reports. That puts the timeline at 19 months after Obama's inauguration, or just three months more than he'd promised during the campaign.

The withdrawal will be far from complete by then, however. Between 30,000 and 50,000 soldiers out of the 142,000 in Iraq now will remain "to continue advising and training Iraqi security forces," the AP says. "Also staying beyond the 19 months would be intelligence and surveillance specialists and their equipment, including unmanned aircraft." Those troops that remain will be withdrawn by December 2011, a deadline set by an agreement between the U.S. and Iraq.

The 19-month schedule appears to be a compromise between Obama and his military commanders, who'd reportedly been advancing a plan that called for spreading the withdrawal out over 23 months.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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