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First 100 days: Out of Iraq

The AP says that President Obama's Iraq plan "will withdraw all combat forces over the next 18 months, or 19 months dating to his inauguration. He had promised a slightly faster pace of 16 months after taking office. Obama settled on a time frame after extensive consultation with military and security advisers. Yet, in a sign of the shifting war debate in Washington, Obama isn't facing scrutiny over the exact timing of the withdrawal, but rather how deep it really is."

"Obama told a closed-door meeting of Republican and Democratic leaders from Capitol Hill that 35,000 to 50,000 U.S. troops would remain in Iraq, congressional officials said." 

More from the AP: "The administration now considers Aug. 31, 2010, as the end date for Iraq war operations. That timetable is slower than Obama had promised voters, but still hastens the U.S. exit."

"The residual troops, which the Obama administration is calling a 'transition force,' will remain only through December 2011, when a strategic agreement negotiated by President George W. Bush before he left office mandates the withdrawal of all American troops," the New York Times writes. "While the Bush team once envisioned a long-term military presence in Iraq long after violence subsides, akin to the deployment of tens of thousands of American forces in Germany or South Korea for decades after wars there, the Obama team said it plans to stick to the complete withdrawal by the end of 2011."

The plan, the Washington Post reports, has pleased Republicans like John McCain, and disappointed Democrats like Harry Reid. "'50,000 is a little higher number than I anticipated,' Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said… Sen. John S. McCain (R-Ariz.) said he 'supports the plan to leave 50,000 troops in Iraq as briefed by [chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] Admiral [Michael] Mullen and [Defense] Secretary [Robert M.] Gates.'"