US-Iraq/war/exit strategy

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The US-Iraq War


There were early calls for an exit strategy from Iraq, including from the conservative Cato Institute[1]. In a speech on 2004-05-24, Bush gave a withdrawal date of June 30 -- just one month later -- as the date for a transfer of authority, but also stated that troop levels would be maintained indefinitely, effectively negating the idea of "withdrawing" at all.

Later on, Bush insisted that setting a date for withdrawal was a bad idea because it would "invite defeat".



  • 2004-05-24 Transcript From Bush Speech on American Strategy in Iraq "There are five steps in our plan to help Iraq achieve democracy and freedom. We will hand over authority to a sovereign Iraqi government, help establish security, continue rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure, encourage more international support and move toward a national election that will bring forward new leaders empowered by the Iraqi people." ... "On June 30, the coalition provisional authority will cease to exist and will not be replaced. The occupation will end and Iraqis will govern their own affairs." -- but "Given the recent increase in violence we'll maintain our troop level at the current 138,000 as long as necessary."


  • 2003-10-01 Bush Must Find Exit Strategy from Iraq "...Bush has acknowledged that the United States faces a "security issue in Iraq", a "massive and long-term undertaking." The conflict will soak up a large share of American military strength for years."
  • 2005-06-25 In 1999, Bush Demanded A Timetable "In 1999, George W. Bush criticized President Clinton for not setting a timetable for exiting Kosovo, and yet he refuses to apply the same standard to his war."
  • 2005-08-27 Bush's Exit Strategy: Escape to Crawford "Bush repeatedly declares, through stubbornly clenched jaw, that the US will never retreat from its historic mission to bring freedom and democracy to whatever country the White House chooses to invade. But when it comes to his personal mission, Bush is only too happy to beat a retreat from the Oval Office and escape to Crawford."
  • 2006-08-16 Bush's (Possible) Five-Point Iraq Exit Strategy
  • 2007-08-03 Bush's non-exit exit strategy "Not only is the "surge" not working, it's destabilizing Iraq. Yet military leaders say troops should stay for the long term."
  • 2008-10-21 Bush and his 'exit strategy' "The Bush administration, so disdainful of setting exit dates from Iraq, is facing an end-of-the-year deadline on just that: a timetable for a troop pullout. [...] ...the details need negotiation [...] on the steps leading to a final pullout in 2011. [...and] the topic undercuts the long-held Bush position that talk of timetable would invite defeat."
  • 2009-12-03 Afghanistan: The Obama-Bush Exit Strategy "President Obama's new strategy for Afghanistan sounds a lot like President Bush's new strategy for Iraq."