Lawmakers react to Iraq pullout plan

February 27, 2009 7:52:40 PM PST
President Barack Obama has set the date for getting out of Iraq. Friday, the commander in chief said combat troops will be gone by the end of August next year, but as many as 50,000 troops could remain.

SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you

Obama chose to announce his plan to end the war before an audience of Marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

"By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end," Obama said.

But the president added that a transitional force will remain to train Iraqi security forces, fight terrorists and protect ongoing U.S. civilian and military efforts.

"Initially this force will likely be made up of 35,000-50,000 U.S. troops," Obama said.

Obama plans to have the last of the U.S. forces will leave by the end of 2011, which drew mild applause from the Marines at Camp Lejeune and criticism from North Bay Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, an ardent opponent of the war.

"We've been training the Iraqi police and the Iraqi military, that's what we've been doing for the last few years, so we're going to stretch that out a whole another year and a half, I don't agree with that," Woolsey said.

Woolsey says she is glad the president is ending the war; she just believes it should be sooner.

"The sooner we are out of there with all of our troops, the sooner we will be certain the Iraqi people will know it's their responsibility to run their own country," Woolsey said.

In San Francisco Friday morning, during a visit to a Mission District preschool, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi defended the president's time table.

"Well, the president has a plan that will again end the war and remove all troops from Iraq at the end of 2011," Pelosi said.

Pelosi added that she believes leaving 50,000 troops is too generous.

"Many of us believe that the smaller the force, the safer the troops because they won't be as big a target," Pelosi said.

Thursday, the president met with Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee, another long time opponent of the war.

"Of course there's still questions remaining for myself and others with regard to what the mission and the role of the 35,000 troops who will remain in Iraq will be, hopefully they won't be combat troops," Lee said.

       Today's latest headlines | ABC7 News on your phone
Follow us on Twitter | Fan us on Facebook | Get our free widget