Obama sets deadline to withdraw troops from Iraq

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled an 18-month plan to end combat operations and troop withdrawal in Iraq. He was quoted as saying "Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end," to marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Obama stated that the 50,000 troops not involved in combat are expected to stay in Iraq to provide support, training and advice to counter terrorism, which had mixed reactions from the Democrats and the Republicans. This war has so far cost more than 4250 U.S. lives in combat operations in the last six years. The Iraqi deaths are unknown but are estimated to be in the tens of thousands.

Obama added that this withdrawal will allow the U.S. to focus on Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the fight against terrorism. Obama also said he is planning to remove all U.S. troops by 2011, in order to complete the transition of Iraq to the Iraqi people. Obama Administration officials said that there was not a more specific schedule set by the president because he wanted to allow the commanders in Iraq more flexibility during the exit strategy.