US troop level in Iraq down to 20,000

All U.S. forces will be out of the Middle Eastern nation by Dec. 31, a deadline set by the George W. Bush administration. The Obama administration and Iraqi officials had been negotiating extending that deadline but failed to reach a deal in time.


Maj. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, deputy commanding general of US Forces-Iraq, told reporters earlier this month that the withdrawal was being carried out “at a high rate of speed.”

Calling the withdrawal plan “flexible,” Spoehr said all American troops could be out of Iraq weeks before the Dec. 31 target.

President Obama has several times trumpeted the fact that all U.S. forces that were in Iraq as of early fall will be home for the holiday season.