Obama orders 'responsible' withdrawal from Iraq
On Jan. 21, 2009 — his first full day in office — President Obama met privately with the military commanders in charge of Iraq.
The White House announced that morning that attendees were to expected to include the following: Vice President Joe Biden; a representative from the State Department; Defense Secretary Robert Gates; White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel; national security adviser Gen. James Jones; chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen; Gen. David Petraeus, commander in chief, U.S. Central Command; U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker; and Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq. Odierno was expected to join via video conference.
After the meeting, Obama issued a statement, included below in its entirety:
"This afternoon, I met with our ambassador to Iraq, the commander in Iraq, and the overall theater commander in the region in order to get a full update on the situation in Iraq. Key members of my Cabinet and senior national security officials also participated in this meeting.
"The meeting was productive and I very much appreciated receiving assessments from these experienced and dedicated individuals. During the discussion, I asked the military leadership to engage in additional planning necessary to execute a responsible military drawdown from Iraq.
"In the coming days and weeks, I will also visit the Department of Defense to consult with the Joint Chiefs on these issues, and we will undertake a full review of the situation in Afghanistan in order to develop a comprehensive policy for the entire region."
The White House Office of the Press Secretary, statement from President Obama, Jan. 21, 2009