Top US General: Iraq Pullout Letter Was a Draft, Not Meant for Release

Officials insist US has no intention of leaving Iraq

The release of an official letter from the US commander in Iraq announcing the departure of US troops from Iraq in the days and weeks to come has been quickly disavowed by other officials, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley tried to clarify “that’s not what’s happening.”

Milley said he spoke with CENTCOM leadership on the matter, saying that the letter was being composed as a draft and was making the rounds at CENTCOM. It was not intended to be released. Milley added it was “poorly worded” because it implies withdrawal saying it was an “honest mistake.”

The letter plainly said that “we respect your sovereign decision to order our departure.” Clearly, suggesting US respect for Iraqi sovereignty should have been the first sign something was wrong with this letter, coming after Trump’s threats against them the night before.

Iraqi PM Adel Abdul Mahdi has suggested that the US and Iraq should work together on the pullout, saying “Iraq is doing everything it can to prevent the descent into open war.” US officials, however, seem to be in agreement that Iraq has no say on this.

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.