Pelosi questions Obama's Iraq plan

The House speaker says she wants only 15,000 to 20,000 troops to remain, while the president reportedly intends to leave 50,000 there.

By Alex Koppelman

Published February 26, 2009 4:30PM (EST)

Anti-war groups have already signaled that they'll back President Obama's plan for troop withdrawals from Iraq, even though it'll take a little longer than he originally said. But he might not get complete consensus on the left: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now publicly questioning one part of the plan.

In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night, Pelosi was asked whether the 50,000 soldiers Obama reportedly plans to leave in Iraq after the initial phase of withdrawals "seem[s] like an awful lot of residual force."

"It does," Pelosi responded. "I know that the rumor is -- and I don't know what the justification is for 50,000, at the present, the 50,000 troops in Iraq. I do think that there's a need for some. I don't know that all of them have to be in country. They can be platformed outside.

"But I'll just be interested to see what the president has to say. But I do think that -- I would think a third of that, maybe 20,000, a little more than a third, 15,000 or 20,000."


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Barack Obama Iraq Middle East Nancy Pelosi D-calif.