December 4, 2008
To Ensure That The Security Agreement Is Consistent With The Capacity Of Iraq’s Security Forces, The Dates Included In This Agreement Were Discussed With The Iraqis, General Petraeus, And General Odierno - They Allow For The Continued Transition Of Security Responsibilities To The Iraqis
As we further transition security responsibilities to the Iraqi Security Forces, military commanders will continue to move U.S. combat forces out of major populated areas so that they are all out by June 30, 2009.
- The Security Agreement also sets a date of December 31, 2011, for all U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraq. This date reflects the increasing capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces as demonstrated in operations this year throughout Iraq, as well as an improved regional atmosphere towards Iraq, an expanding Iraqi economy, and an increasingly confident Iraqi government.
- These dates therefore are based on an assessment of positive conditions on the ground and a realistic projection of when U.S. forces can reduce their presence and return home without a sacrificing the security gains made since the surge.
December 8, 2008
This withdrawal will take place in two stages: The first stage will occur next year, when Iraqi forces assume the lead for security operations in all major population centers, while U.S. combat forces move out of Iraqi cities and move into an overwatch role. After this transition has occurred, the drawdown of American forces will continue to the second stage, with all U.S. forces returning home from Iraq by the end of 2011.
Bush’s finest moment on Iraq: SOFA, not the surge
by Marc Lynch
Peter Beinart today bravely repeats the emerging would-be conventional wisdom. Rather than simply denounce everything Republican, he argues, Democrats should admit that the “surge” worked and — uniquely echoing a thousand recent op-eds — was President Bush’s finest moment. I have a hard time imagining anything as tedious as rehashing those tired debates from the campaign about the “surge” — perhaps we could have another round of arguments as to whether the surge brigades arriving in the spring of 2007 caused the Sunni turn against al-Qaeda in the fall of 2006? But in the interests of post-partisanship, I am willing to offer an alternative as Bush’s finest hour in Iraq: the Status of Forces Agreement.
And thus I offer Bush’s willingness to sign the SOFA mandating U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, and not the surge, as his finest moment in Iraq.
Last American combat troops leave Iraq. I think President George W. Bush deserves some credit for victory.