Calling on President Obama to Reconfirm Administration's Commitment to Withdrawal from Iraq
Posted on: Friday, March 5, 2010
MADRE joins other organizations in calling on President Obama to reconfirm his commitment to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by August 31, 2010.
President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
We are deeply concerned by recent indications that the Pentagon is developing contingency plans to delay the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq if conditions on the ground worsen. Our organizations strongly support your Administration’s clear commitment to withdraw all combat forces from Iraq by the end of August 2010, and to comply with the bilateral security agreement requiring all U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraq by December 31 2011. Reneging on these commitments by returning to a conditions-based withdrawal plan would undermine conditions in Iraq, break this Administration’s promises to the American people, and violate our binding agreement with a sovereign nation.
News of General Odierno’s suggestion that the U.S. should keep troops in Iraq beyond the agreed timeline made front page news in Iraq and sparked alarm across the political spectrum there. Any attempt to link withdrawal to conditions on the ground would not only violate Iraqi sovereignty, it would provide disastrous incentive for further violence: any group fearing a loss of power in the wake of U.S. withdrawal need only seed further violent conflict to ensure perpetual occupation. This is not acceptable to either the American or Iraqi people.
It is likely there will be increased violence in Iraq as the U.S. withdraws – whether the U.S. occupation ends next month, next year, or two decades from now this transition will not be easy. The US military and political impact on the Iraqi government has delayed the development of a political system accountable to all Iraqis. The U.S. voice must be clear in saying that violent attempts to disrupt this transition and reignite conflict will not be grounds for the U.S. to break its commitment to withdraw from Iraq. Fulfillment of the U.S. withdrawal commitment on the agreed timeline is essential to make way for restored Iraqi sovereignty, meaningful political reconciliation, and future peace.
We have appreciated your Administration’s consistent confirmation of its unwavering commitment to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by August 31, 2010 and withdraw all non-combat troops from Iraq by December 31, 2011. We ask you to restore clarity in the wake of recent mixed messages by reconfirming your Administration’s absolute commitment to a time-based withdrawal in accordance with your existing plan and the bilateral security agreement, not linked to conditions on the ground.
American Conservative Defense Alliance
American Friends Service Committee
Center on Peace and Liberty Independent Institute
CODEPINK: Women for Peace
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Institute for Policy Studies
Just Foreign Policy
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
New Security Action
Pax Christi USA
Psychologists for Social Responsibility,
Violence, War, and Alternatives Program
The Shalom Center
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
United Methodist Church,
General Board of Church and Society
United for Peace and Justice
Voters for Peace