Hope of Iraq Withdrawal as Death Tolls Rise
While on the campaign trail, one of President Barack Obama's promised objectives was to withdraw United States forces from Iraq.
With the 100-day mark of Obama's presidency passing and many observers and analysts voicing their opinions of the President's performance thus far, there was speculation that the promise of bringing the troops home from Iraq was uncertain.
Last week, members of the Obama Administration set the record straight, stating that the timetable for withdrawing the troops from Iraq has remained the same and that they are not even discussing the possibility of delaying it unless the situation drastically worsened.
The speculation of early withdrawal has arisen amongst increased violence in two Iraqi cities, with the death tolls growing larger every month.
Many supporters of the war, including some military officials, are privately expressing concern that the American troops would be withdrawing too soon for peace to win out in Iraq, yet they refuse to express those sentiments publicly since the Obama Administration is sticking firm to its guns on the withdrawal deadline.
With criticism coming to President Obama from many different directions as his first 100 days pass, the Administration is trying its best to prevent giving critics further ammunition which would be the case should Obama budge in what was probably the most important and most publicized campaign promise for not only him but for the Democratic Party in general.
With the date set firmly on August 31, 2010 for the end of all combat operations by the Obama Administration, the challenge is now on military officials to execute a plan for a formidable exit strategy that will not end in total chaos is the region as some are predicting.
According to congressional sources, once combat operations are ended, the United States military's involvement in Iraq should be limited to advising, training, and some counter-terrorism operations. It is said that the plan in place is one that will responsibly end the war as it will leave a residual force of 35,000 to 50,000 troops in Iraq. By December 31, 2011, all United States troops will have departed from Iraq according to the Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi Government.
While President Obama is committed to withdrawing the troops on his timetable as many want, the reality of the situation is, many lives have been lost in this war, both American as well as foreign, and more lives will be lost if the United States exit strategy isn't planned as well as executed perfectly.
Obama's commitment to withdrawal should be supported as long as enough data is collected and assessed to determine that the United States efforts and lives lost weren't in vain.