Reaction is mixed on U.S. troop withdrawal

February 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
President Obama didn't give details of his plan for Iraq in Monday night's address to Congress and the nation, but administration insiders say as soon as this week -- he could announce a plan to remove all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by August of 2010.

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There is mixed reaction to the plan and what it would mean for returning troops.

"His orders say 365 days is the length of his deployment or until the mission is accomplished. So that could be sooner or later, you never know," said Debbie Parks.

Days go by slowly for Parks, as she counts the days until her son returns from his tour in Iraq. But in a matter of days, President Obama is expected to announce his plan to withdraw all 140,000 combat troops from Iraq, in 19 months.

"It's good to know this isn't going to go on endlessly," said Parks, a Blue Star Mom.

"It's time for the U.S. to begin to wrap up its military presence there," said Larry Diamond, Ph.D., a Hoover Institution senior fellow.

Diamond is a political scientist and former advisor to Iraq's transitional government in 2004. He says withdrawal should only happen once Iraq has a clear constitution and political leader in place.

"The danger is if we withdraw too rapidly and Iraq has not worked out its political differences internally between the different ethnic, sectarian, and political groups in the country, that the violence could explode again," said Diamond.

"It was very volatile, honestly," said Jon Nord, an Iraq War veteran.

Nord knows what it's like to fight in Iraq since he was deployed twice. He thinks pulling out troops by August 2010 will be too soon for both the Iraqi or American governments.

"As far as the 19-month timeline being a little bit too short for maybe the removal from Iraq, but definitely I believe it's too short to fully put the infrastructure in place back in the United States to receive all these troops coming home," said Nord.

Nord hopes more job placement programs will be created for veterans since their unemployment rate is two-percent higher than civilians.

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