President Obama outlines plan for Iraq troop withdrawal

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama speaks February 27, 2009 at Goettge Memorial Field House in Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, North Carolina. Obama set a date of August 31, 2010 for the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq, and said he intended to fully withdraw all troops by the end of 2011.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama outlines his plans today for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq, which will be accomplished by Aug. 31, 2010.

According to senior administration officials, a substantial number of the roughly 100,000 U.S. combat troops to be pulled out of Iraq by Aug. 31, 2010, will remain in the war zone through at least the end of this year to ensure national elections there go smoothly.

That pacing suggests that although Obama's promised withdrawal will start soon, it will be backloaded, with larger numbers of troops returning later in the 18-month time frame.

Obama is to announce his strategy today at the sprawling Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where thousands of Marines are soon heading to another war front, Afghanistan.

The administration now considers Aug. 31, 2010, the end date for Iraq war operations.

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