Pentagon officials said Thursday they will be ready on Inauguration Day with plans for a quick pullout of U.S. combat troops from Iraq if Barack Obama orders one, as he pledged to do during his White House campaign.
A 16-month timeline for withdrawal of battle forces from Iraq is among options being prepared, with an eye to Obama’s pledge to call the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the White House on his first day in office with instructions to close down a war he opposed.
By ANNE GEARAN, AP Military Writer
“Our military planners do not live in a vacuum,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. “They are well aware that the president-elect campaigned on withdrawing (combat) troops from Iraq on a 16-month timeline, so it would be only prudent of them to draw up plans that reflected that option.”
The 16-month option, which would represent a speedier withdrawal of battle troops from Iraq than defense officials preferred, would be among a range of plans presented to Obama whenever he asks, Morrell said. Since that request could come as early as the afternoon of Inauguration Day on Tuesday, the plans will be ready then, Morrell said.