Add another problem to President Obama's growing list of concerns. Members of the antiwar movement, which was instrumental in helping him win the Democratic presidential nomination last year, are expressing increasing concern about the pace of his plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.
Obama promised during the campaign to remove combat troops within 16 months of taking office. That has now slipped to 19 months, and Obama, on the advice of the military, says he will maintain a residual American force there as long as is necessary after that. All U.S. troops are to be out of Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011, a deadline set by Iraq and the United States under an agreement made during George W. Bush's administration.
Leaders of United for Peace and Justice, an antiwar organization, have scheduled a news conference Thursday in New York to mark the sixth anniversary of the start of the war. In a statement E-mailed to reporters this morning, a spokesman noted, "With President Obama's recent announcement of his plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, the antiwar movement, including military families and veterans, is concerned that the timeline for complete withdrawal is too long. In the year and a half before combat troops are brought home—and the almost three years before all U.S. forces are removed from Iraq—we ask how many more Iraqi civilians and U.S. service people will die and how many billions of our tax dollars will be spent?"
The antiwar movement plans to hold a march on Wall Street on April 4.