BAGHDAD, Iraq — President Obama made some rather bold statements in his Iraq withdrawal announcement on Oct. 21.
“So today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year,” he said in the October announcement. ”Today, I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.”
But it turns out that not every U.S. troop from Iraq will be home for the holidays.
There is a good chance the 1st Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division based in good ol’ Ft. Hood, Texas, will have to stay in Kuwait for a few more months. A brigade is about 3,000-4,000 troops.
A Senior Defense Official on Panetta’s plane ride over to Iraq said some of the forces still in Iraq will go to Kuwait and then transition back home, some will stick around in Kuwait for a period of time.
“The vast majority by far will be home by the holidays,” another senior defense official said.
The senior defense official said that some troops – numbering “something less than a brigade” – will remain in Kuwait for a certain period of time. The official referenced possibly 3,000 to 4,000 and then acknowledged that the details have not been worked out with the Kuwaitis.
“A very small percentage,” will stay behind in Kuwait, the official said, adding that those who have only served part of their deployments in Iraq by Dec. 31 will likely be the ones who stay behind in Kuwait.
The final withdrawal from Iraq has been precipitous. There were more than 39,000 American service members in Iraq on Oct. 21, when the president announced the troops would be coming home. The last American troop associated with the war in Iraq will be out of the country this month. But that apparently doesn’t mean they will all be home.
So if not Christmas for those troops from Fort Hood, which holiday did he mean?