Gen. Odierno: No Hurry on Iraq Drawdown Plan

US May Not Decide on Pullout Until 'Late Spring'

Though today’s announcement of the election law veto threw further doubt into the chances of the Obama Administration’s ill-defined drawdown strategy seeing significant cuts in troop in 2010, General Ray Odierno sees no cause for concern.

I feel very confident that we don’t have to make any decision until late spring,” Gen. Odierno insisted, though he conceded that the military might need “guidance from Washington” on whether or not to move forward with the planned drawdown.

The US currently has just under 120,000 troops in Iraq, only slightly fewer than when President Obama took office in January. The president had initially promised a full pullout in 16 months, but this was quickly changed to a “significant drawdown” by August.

But as troop levels have remained static, officials have said that troop cuts would only really begin 60 days after Iraq’s increasingly tentative January election. Late spring is going to make August an increasingly unreasonable goal, even if the “drawdown” is limited to cutting the level to 75,000 troops.

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.