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The Situation in Iraq regarding President Barack Obama's foregone Promises

Facharbeit (Schule) 2014 22 Seiten


Table of Contents

1. Preface

2. What did Obama promise in 2009?

3. How did President Obama proceed in order to keep his promises?
3.1 Promise No.1: The withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq until the end of 2011
3.2. Promise No.2: Diplomacy and a peaceful, prosperous Iraq
3.3. Promise No.3: US Engagement across the Middle East in order to strengthen relations between Iraq and neighbouring states.
3.4. Promise No.4: Better veterans’ health care and counselling for their families.

4. Conclusion and personal statement

5. Material

6. References

1. Preface

In the following paper the situation in Iraq with regard to the U.S. drawback, which had begun in the first weeks of March 2009, will be investigated. Fundamental for this is President Barack Obama’s strategy he presented shortly after he became president in 2009. Until today there are several theories why the U.S. invaded Iraq on March 22, 2003 under President George W. Bush, although there is an official statement by him. 1 The rationale for it was to abolish “a regime that developed and used weapons of mass destruction, that harbored and supported terrorists, committed outrageous human rights abuses, and defied the just demands of the United Nations and the world.” 2 Barack Obama inherited the occupation in a way and was also responsible for the drawback, since Mr. Bush said “setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure, and that would be irresponsible.” 3 Was George W. Bush right or did Barack Obama fail in order to keep his promise?

2. What did Obama promise in 2009?

In 2009 Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States of America (U.S.). He belongs to the Democratic Party and won the general election against the Republican nominee John McCain. On January 20, 2009 Obama held his inaugural address in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. . Changing healthcare and fixing the economic problems in the U.S. were not the only things he talked about. Also the withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan were mentioned by Obama: “We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan.” 4

About one month later Obama attended the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, North Carolina, which is a military training location to let hundreds of soldiers know about his strategy of leaving Iraq.

In this first section I want to point out what Obama’s strategic plan implied and how much time he set for the accomplishment.

The first of three total steps included the retreat of all combat troops who were deployed in Iraq. For this, Obama wanted to confer with the military commanders, so that the removal would work in a safe and well-ordered way. He described a timeline of 18 months and said this as clearly as possible, “Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.” 5 During the process of this drawback, the security and safety of Iraqi civilians and U.S. troops would be essential.

After the combat brigades would return to the U.S. there would be a force built out of 35 - 50 000 troops in Iraq, which would have the task to train, equip and counsel Iraq Security Forces. They would also be responsible that the endeavours the troops made would be protected and to assist the Iraqi government with counter-terrorism missions. The goal Obama and the U.S. were striving for was an autonomous and responsible Iraq, so that all U.S. troops could be brought home by the end of 2011.

The second step was to produce “sustained diplomacy on behalf of a more peaceful and prosperous Iraq.” 6 The U.S. wanted to help Iraq build a footing for security and continuous peace, so that the government could take responsibility of their future. The U.S. wanted to facilitate national elections and enhance local government. There were two more objectives though: to attend Iraq as an adjuster, so that the leaders in Iraq could be brought together again, and to make sure that the rule of law was secured to decrease corruption as much as possible. For that, the U.S. wanted to corporate with the United Nations.

To make the change in Iraq possible, the people should know that is a great chance they should make use of. America does not want to conquer Iraq. As Obama said in his speech: “The United States pursues no claim on your territory or your resources.” 7

Step three is not directly about Iraq’s inland situation, but it is very important for perpetual success in the future in terms of politics and security. Iraq has to strengthen its relations with all the neighbouring countries like Syria, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The U.S. cannot get involved with regional problems any longer and the future of Iraq is more or less dependent on the relations with the named countries. The U.S. would support Iraq with three greatly experienced diplomats (George Mitchell, Dennis Ross and Richard Holbrooke) in addition to Obama himself and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Barack Obama did not only make plans about the diplomatic and military affairs. While the men and women have done their duty in Iraq they lived to see dramatic and agitated times and suffered the heaviest burden. Those who served in Iraq will live with terrible memories for the rest of their lives. Obama wanted to enlarge and offer even better veterans’ health care, so more patients could get medical and psychological treatment. Obama stated the military families are of the highest priority, so he planned to provide job-training, child care, education (e.g. in High schools) and to extend counseling for families who experienced the stress and detachment of war.

In summary, President Barack Obama commands the drawback of U.S. troops by detracting the combat troops first (until August, 31, 2010), followed by the training troops (until the end of 2011) and to introduce long running diplomacy not only in Iraq, but also in the whole region of Middle East. One other major point was the expansion of veteran health care and other social services for military families in addition to a new 21st century GI Bill in America, which is good for fulfilling the soldier’s dreams.

His goal is a durable, sovereign and self-reliant Iraq with lasting peace and security without violence in the region. 8

3. How did President Obama proceed in order to keep his promises?

In the following paragraphs I want to investigate how Obama went on to keep his promises by illustrating how he and the government went ahead, while rating the success or failure after each partial aspect regarding to the today’s situation.

3.1 Promise No.1: The withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq until the end of 2011

Barack Obama’s highest priority was the arrangement of a very secure and well-ordered drawback of troops, so that neither Iraqi civilians nor U.S. - or Iraqi forces would run into trouble.

President Obama and the Department of Defence did not start the drawback with a proper removal of U.S. troops from Iraq. In the first week of March 2009 U.S. military commanders decided against sending roughly 12 000 troops to Iraq. They remained in the U.S., which meant that instead of fourteen there were stationed twelve in Iraq. At this moment in time, there were over 142 000 U.S. troops stationed in Iraq. In addition to the 12 000 troops remaining in the U.S., Britain was about to pull back there last 4 000 troops. There would soon be less support from other nations for the U.S. as well as for Iraq. 9

Until June 29, 2009 Obama reduced the number of soldiers to 130 000. 10 That decrease of about 24 000 troops might sound very auspicious at first, but not if you look at the turbulent situation in Iraq during the time. On April 10th, a suicide bomber killed five U.S. and two Iraqi soldiers driving a truck bomb into a patrol. This devastating event in Mosul (about 240 miles north of Baghdad) caused injury to more than 60 innocent people. 11 About two weeks later two more suicide bombers killed over 80 people, while wounding at least 120. It was the bloodiest and cruellest suicide attack in 2009. 12

Iraqi insurgent and suicide bombers were not the only groups accountable for the deaths of many people. Sergeant John Russell built a new house in Texas and because of this he had to make a defrayal of $1 500 each month. He applied for being a career soldier to ensure he could pay continuously. A commander told Sergeant Russell that he must hand in his gun and receive psychological counselling. Russell quickly became nervous because he thought that he might be rejected and lose his job as well as his salary. After Russell talked to a worker at the hospital, he returned with a weapon, which nce/index.html>. March 24, 2014.

he likely purloined from his escort, and killed five companions. 13 This brutal incident shows the conflict of different opinions between the soldiers really well. Many troops certainly advocated the drawback, so that they are secure and without fear with their families in America. Other troops were apprehensive in regards to their financial situation, even with the aid of a military pension.


1 cf. Kramer, Jane and Thrall, Trevor. Why Did the United States Invade Iraq? New York: Routledge, 2012, p. 1-5.

2 cf. U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs. Winning the War On Terror. < 4172.pdf>. April 8, 2014.

3 cf. Bush, George W. President Bush’s Speech on the Iraq Spending Bill. <>. April 8, 2014.

4 Obama, Barack. First Presidential Inaugural Address. < aladdress.htm>. March 06, 2014.

5 Obama, Barack. Responsibly Ending the War in Iraq. < une2009.htm>. March 03, 2014. (quoted as: Obama, Barack. Responsibly Ending the War in Iraq.).

6 Obama, Barack. Responsibly Ending the War in Iraq. During the war hundreds of thousands of Iraqis sidestepped violence. The U.S. would like to work on resettlement of these Iraqi refugees together with the Iraqi government, so they can live their lives as they lived before.

7 Obama, Barack. Responsibly Ending the War in Iraq.

8 cf. Obama, Barack. Responsibly Ending the War in Iraq.

9 cf. The New York Times. J. David Goodman. U.S. and British Forces in Iraq Are Reduced. March 8, 2009. March 24, 2014.

10 cf. The New York Times. Editorial: The First Deadline. June 29, 2009. March 24, 2014.

11 cf. The Guardian. <>. March 24, 2014.

12 cf. CNN. Jomana Karadsheh and Cal Perry. Bombings kill nearly 90 in Iraq. <

13 cf. The New York Times. James Dao and Lizette Alvarez. Counseling Was Ordered for Soldier in Iraq Shooting.>. March 24, 2014.


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Titel: The Situation in Iraq regarding President Barack Obama's foregone Promises