Tag Archives: Robert Gates

Obama plans to extend withdrawal plans to 19 months

Obama promised during his campaign to withdraw troops from Iraq within 16 months of his election.  Well, maybe not.

Officials said Obama is prepared to to add three months due to the concerns of ground commanders who wanted more time to cement security gains, strengthen political institutions and make sure Iraq did not become more unstable again.

Even with the withdrawal order, Mr. Obama plans to leave behind a “residual force” of tens of thousands of troops to continue training Iraqi security forces, hunt down foreign terrorist cells and guard American institutions, as he said he would during last year’s campaign.

In recent weeks, Mr. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, discussed the three withdrawal options — 16, 19 and 23 months — with the president.

The top two commanders responsible for Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus and Gen. Ray Odierno, have declined to say what options they preferred, but military officials made it clear that the two were uncomfortable with the 16-month plan that Mr. Obama backed during the campaign.

Administration officials said it was possible that Mr. Obama would announce his decision on Iraq withdrawals on Friday during a visit to North Carolina, possibly at either Camp Lejeune or Fort Bragg. Camp Lejeune is the home of some 8,000 Marines who are to be deployed to Afghanistan under a plan Mr. Obama announced last week to send 17,000 more troops to the country.

Promises are easy to make.

New York Times

Posted:  02.25.09


Filed under Barack Obama, politics, President Barack Obama

Robert Gates to Stay on as Defense Secretary

Seeking experience in a time of war, President-elect Barack Obama will keep Defense Secretary Robert Gates in that job — if only temporarily — and he has chosen a retired Marine general to be his national security adviser, officials said Tuesday.

Gates and retired Gen. James Jones bring years of experience to the Cabinet of a 47-year-old commander in chief with a relatively thin foreign policy resume.

Gates, a moderate with long-standing ties to Republican administrations and the Bush family, would fulfill an Obama pledge to include a Republican in his Cabinet.

As Obama’s choice for national security adviser, Jones has impeccable military credentials, an ambassador’s polish and an imposing physical presence at 6 foot 4 inches.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because Obama has not authorized anybody to discuss the deliberations.


Posted:  11.26.08

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Filed under Barack Obama, politics, President Elect Barack Obama, Uncategorized