Reese Memo Shows Split on Iraq Pullout Timetable

Memo Provides Alternative Viewpoint to 'Indefinite' Stay

Colonel Timothy Reese’s memo urging the United States to ‘declare victory and go home’ instead of continuing the commitment of enormous numbers of troops to the war in Iraq into 2011 and potentially beyond has sparked considerable discussion over whether the Obama Administration’s pullout is fast enough.

Currently, the administration has pledged to withdraw all but 50,000 troops by August 2010, and will keep those troops in the nation indefinitely. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has suggested the “end of 2011” deadline, once seen as set in stone, is subject to reconsideration.

But this plan has seen only a few thousand troops pulled out in the first six months of the Obama Administration, and few if any more of the 132,000 in the nation are expected to leave by the end of the year. The Reese memo reveals that far from being universally behind the ever longer commitment to a war President Obama had previously promised would be over in early 2010, there are those in the military who see little point to continuing the war.

Indeed, Col. Reese’s comments suggest that the US could and indeed should announce a pullout and are adding support to those who have been saying all along that leaving the troops in the nation is itself fueling the opposition which continues to launch attacks across Iraq.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.