Obama to Withdraw Troops From Iraq in 19 Months

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2009 4:19 PM CST
Iraqi army soldiers stand guard outside a polling center.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – President Obama plans to withdraw most US troops from Iraq by August 2010, the AP reports. Insiders say a training force of 30,000 to 50,000 will remain but will be largely evacuated by December 2011, when the security pact between the US and Iraq expires. The US has about 142,000 troops in Iraq now, and Obama the candidate pledged to bring them home in 16 months. He'll miss that deadline by 3 months.

The 19-month exit strategy is longer than the one Obama brought to his generals, but shorter than a 23-month plan considered as well. Also pulling out will be defense contractors, almost 40,000 of whom are US citizens, and military installations. Some bases could take up to 18 months to close. Obama is expected to announce the plan this week.