Illinois Democratic Sen. Barack Obama,whoiscontemplatingarun for the presidency, on Nov. 20 called for a “gradual and substantial” reduction of U.S. forces from Iraq that would begin in four to six months.
Speaking to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Mr. Obama envisioned a flexible timetable for withdrawal linked to conditions on the ground in Iraq and based on the advice of U.S. commanders. He also called for intensified efforts to train Iraqi security forces, U.S. aid packages tied to Iraqi progress in reducing sectarian violence and new diplomacy with Syria and Iran.
“I believe that it remains possible to salvage an acceptable outcome to this long and misguided war,” he said. “But it will not be easy. For the fact is that there are no good options left in this war.”
Mr. Obama was not in the Senate when President Bush sought and received support from Congress in 2002 to use military force against then-dictator Saddam Hussein. But he has publicly opposed the war since then.
Mr. Obama was careful not to set a specific timetable for withdrawal of troops, the Associated Press reports.