In his first six months in office, President Barack Obama has removed only a few thousand troops from Iraq. The Pentagon is making plans to keep the current level of 131,000 troops in the nation through at least early 2010.
Despite this, Obama insists that the pullout remains “on schedule” and he is “very encouraged by the progress that has been made.” He insisted that the plan to remove all “combat troops” by August 2010 remains in place, but he gave no indication of exactly how he plans to do that.
Shortly after taking office President Obama abandoned his promise to withdraw all troops from the nation within 16 months, replacing it with a plan to withdraw what he called “combat troops” by August of 2010. This would leave 50,000 troops in the nation indefinitely after that, conducting combat operations but not being officially labeled “combat” troops.
But despite repeatedly downplaying the rising violence in the nation as insignificant and lauding the military’s victory every chance it gets, the administration has been heavily backloading the August 2010 plan, delaying the pullouts to the point where meeting the deadline will mean an enormous exodus next summer and no indication the president has the inclination of ability to actually do so. Ultimately the president won’t have to admit he is abandoning even his 2010 plan until well into 2010, because no one is expecting any significant pullouts before then.