Council board member Col. Richard Klass, along with the chairman of our research wing, Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, released a report today that outlines how President Obama can responsibly execute his campaign commitment to remove U.S. combat forces from Iraq within 16 months.
Based on recent press reports, there is reason to suspect that there may be an effort underway, led by some military officials and non-governmental analysts, to delay President Obama’s 16-month timetable.
“This plan meets President Obama’s criteria of being as careful getting out as we were careless going in,” said Council board member retired Col. Richard Klass. “Redeployment of U.S. combat forces should be coupled with a diplomatic surge to help stabilize Iraq.”
The report proposes a U.S. redeployment schedule that would result in 100,000 total U.S. troops remaining in Iraq by the end of 2009; 35,000 to 65,000 support troops remaining in Iraq by July 2010, when the President’s 16-month timetable would end if it is initiated in April 2009; and fewer than 1,000 troops remaining by December 2011, when the U.S.-Iraqi security agreement (commonly referred to as the status of forces agreement or “SOFA”) mandates that all U.S. forces be out of Iraq.
“Our national security would be enhanced by implementing President Obama’s 16-month timetable,” said Gard. “President Obama’s plan to remove combat forces from Iraq is militarily workable and can be executed responsibly.”