In an interview today on NBC, President Barack Obama was asked whether a “substantial number” of troops would be home in time for next year’s Super Bowl (to be held on February 7, 2010). Obama replied “Yes. We are going to roll out in a very formal fashion what our intentions are in Iraq as well as Afghanistan.”
During the campaign President Obama had promised to have all the troops out of Iraq within 16 months of taking office, though indications are that the military opposes such a timetable. Military officials have also indicated that any pullout would be predicated upon the relative success of the as-yet unscheduled national elections in Iraq. It is unclear based on the comments what the president considers a “substantial number,” or how many of those troops will be shifted to Afghanistan.
The president also lauded yesterday’s Iraqi elections, saying that it proved that “we are in a position to put more responsibility on the Iraqis.” Obama cheered the relative lack of violence, but was silent on the low turnout and the tens of thousands of voters turned away at the polls.