Obama: withdraw combat troops within 16 months
Barack Obama continues to promise to withdraw only combat troops from Iraq – paving the way for a prolonged, albeit diminished, occupation of the country. He laid out his platform in the recent Nevada debate:
There is no doubt that because we put American troops in Iraq, more American troops in Iraq, that they are doing a magnificent job.
And they are making a difference in certain neighborhoods. But the overall strategy is failed because we have not seen any change in behavior among Iraq's political leaders. And that is the essence of what we should be trying to do in Iraq.
That's why I'm going to bring this war to a close. That's why we can get our troops out -- our combat troops out within 16 months. That's why we have to initiate the kind of regional diplomacy, not just talking to our friends, but talking to our enemies, like Iran and Syria, to try to stabilize the situation there.
But I just want to make this important point, because all of us as we're campaigning, we're seeing this in human terms. People are on two, three, four tours of duty. Families are carrying an enormous burden.
This year, we saw the highest casualty rates for American troops in Iraq since this war started.
The same, by the way, is true in Afghanistan. If we have seen a lowering violence rate, that's only compared to earlier this year. We're back to where we started back in 2006.
And so the notion that somehow because we've gone from horrific violence to just intolerable levels of violence, and that somehow that justifies George Bush's strategy is absolutely wrong, and I'm going to bring it to a halt when I'm president of the United States.