Obama announces withdrawal of troops from Iraq by September
The President has announced the bulk of U.S. forces will leave Iraq by September. CC by Obama-Biden Transition Project; photo by Pete Souza.

One of President Obama’s campaign promises was a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. After he was elected, he announced a phased plan for taking U.S. troops out of Iraq. A plan was created, and the White House has just proclaimed it is proceeding on schedule. By the end of August, only 50,000 American service personnel will remain in Iraq. It is projected that all American forces will have left Iraq by the end 2011.

Handing Iraq back to Iraqis

According to The Guardian, the President announced that military authority will be handed over to Iraqi authorities by the end of August. President Obama recently gave a speech at the Disabled Americans Veterans conference in Atlanta, Ga. He highlighted that he had promised a withdrawal in his campaign platform. The President also pinpointed that 90,000 troops have already been withdrawn from Iraq since he took office.  It is projected that on August 31, full military authority will be given to Iraqi forces, and 50,000 American troops will remain in an advisory role. American combat operations will effectively cease at that time.

Focus on Afghanistan

Though the war in Iraq seems to be winding down, the Afghan conflict is still ongoing. According to CNN, Obama has vowed that he will not allow the Taliban and Al Qaeda to return to power in Afghanistan on his watch. The war in Afghanistan has been the subject of considerable controversy of late. A scandalous Rolling Stone interview prompted the firing of General Stanley McChrystal, and the Wikileaks release of 90,000 pages of documents pertaining to the Afghan conflict have created a firestorm concerning the long term occupation of Afghanistan.

Beginning of the end or end of the beginning

The timetable for withdrawal of American troops from Iraq is proceeding as planned. However, the Afghan conflict is far from being resolved. Currently, more troops are in Afghanistan than Iraq, and some believe that the war in Afghanistan may not winnable. No end is currently in sight to the Afghan conflict.

Further Reading

The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/02/barack-obama-us-iraq-combat

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/08/02/obama.iraq.drawdown/index.html?hpt=T1

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