President Signs Legislation Committing U.S. to Iraq Withdrawal
Date Affirmed as December 31, 2011, Quarterly Reports to Congress Required
WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- President Barack Obama today
signed legislation that that formally recognizes the U.S. obligation to
withdraw from Iraq and requires the Pentagon to provide quarterly reports on
the progress of that withdrawal.
This is the first time since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that Congress has
passed legislation that affirms that the United States is committed to leaving
Iraq by a specific date, two national Quaker organizations, the American
Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the Friends Committee on National
Legislation (FCNL) said today.
"We congratulate Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin and House Armed
Services Chairman Ike Skelton for including this important milestone in the
2010 military authorization bill," said Aura Kanegis, Director of Public
Policy for the American Friends Service Committee. "The U.S.-Iraq bilateral
agreement is so central to public discourse in Iraq, but too often forgotten
in the U.S." The United States and Iraq signed a bilateral agreement in
November 2008 that commits the United States to withdraw all military forces
from Iraq by December 31, 2011.
The legislation signed by President Obama today requires the Pentagon to
report to Congress every three months on progress to withdraw all U.S. troops,
withdraw or transfer to Iraqi authorities all military equipment, close down
or transfer to Iraqi authorities military bases, and release or transfer to
Iraqi authorities all Iraqi detainees before the December 31, 2011 deadline.
"The first congressional effort to signal support for complete withdrawal was
the ban on establishing permanent bases in Iraq," said Jim Fine, the
Legislative Secretary on Foreign Policy at the Friends Committee on National
Legislation. "Now the Pentagon will issue month by month reports on the
progress made to close down bases or transfer them to the Iraqi government,
which adds new teeth to this historic provision."
With this law, Congress has established unprecedented oversight of the
progress made towards complete withdrawal from Iraq.
The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes
people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and
humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every
person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. For
more information visit http://www.afsc.org
The Friends Committee on National Legislation, the oldest registered religious
lobby in Washington, is a non-partisan Quaker lobby in the public interest.
FCNL works with a nationwide network of tens of thousands of people from every
state in the U.S. to advocate for social and economic justice, peace, and good
government. For more information: http://www.fcnl.org
.http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRel ... RN20091028