The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Doug Gordon (202) 822-5200

Anti-War Leader: General Casey's Comments Contradict President's Iraq Policy

Army Chief of Staff Wants Plan To Keep US Combat Troops In Iraq For 10 More Years


Former Congressman Tom Andrews, National Director
of the Win Without War Coalition, released the following statement

Yesterday's comments by Army Chief of
Staff General George Casey that the Pentagon needs to begin planning to leave
U.S. combat troops in Iraq for another decade stands in direct conflict with the
current Status of Forces Agreement between our two countries, the stated policy
of President Obama and the wishes of an overwhelming majority of American and
Iraqi citizens.

Gen. Casey's
statement represents the latest attempt by Pentagon officials to influence
policy and subvert President Obama's commitment to ending the war in Iraq.
Rather than contradict the president's policy, Pentagon planners should be
preparing to implement that policy. The President and Congress must act
immediately to reassert control of U.S. policy in Iraq if they are to meet their
campaign promises and end the war in Iraq.

underscores the importance of Congressional action that would
hold the Pentagon accountable. The House version of the
Supplemental Defense Appropriation passed earlier this month declares support
for the president's policy to remove all U.S. forces from Iraq and directs the
Pentagon to present plans to implement that policy. It also directs the Pentagon
to provide Congress with regular updates on progress toward implementation of
the plans.

It is
critical that this language be included in the final bill that is sent to the
president's desk. Meanwhile, it is far past time for the Pentagon to start
telling the American people how they plan to support the president and his Iraq
policy and not how they plan to undermine it.

Pentagon's resistance to the president's policy on Iraq is well documented. In
December 2008, Commanding General in Iraq Ray Odierno revealed he intended to
keep U.S. combat troops in
Iraqi cities
past their June 30,
2009 withdrawal deadline, creating a firestorm of protest in the Iraqi
Parliament. And this April, the New York Times reported that Iraqi
officials were being asked to reconsider the
definition of "city"
to allow
combat bases within some Iraqi cities to remain after that deadline.

Associated Press today reports that General Odierno "is leading a study to
determine how far U.S. forces could be cut back in Iraq and still be effective".
It is not hard to predict what this "study" will conclude
under Odierno's command.

The goal of
President Obama's policy in Iraq is clear - to return control of and
responsibility for Iraq to the Iraqi people. Requiring, as General Odierno and
the Pentagon would like, that Iraq be free of any violence before U.S. forces
are removed only undermines that goal and risks keeping the United States mired
in Iraq for years to come. The President is right: It is time to return
sovereignty to the Iraqi people, as 80% of the Iraqi population want. It is time
for U.S. forces to go.

Post military reporter and best selling author Tom Ricks reports that there is a
"consensus within the military" that U.S. combat operations are only half over
in Iraq - that we will have combat troops fighting there in 2015!

Obama and Congress must not allow that to happen.

Win Without War is a diverse network of activists and organizations working for a more peaceful, progressive U.S. foreign policy. We believe that by democratizing U.S. foreign policy and providing progressive alternatives, we can achieve more peaceful, just, and common sense policies that ensure that all people--regardless of race, nationality, gender, religion, or economic status--can find and take advantage of opportunity equally and feel secure.