“Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end,” President Barack Obama announced in his February 27 remarks at Camp Lejeune. “As a candidate for President,” he recalled, “I made clear my support for a timeline of 16 months to carry out this drawdown, while pledging to consult closely with our military commanders upon taking office to ensure that we preserve the gains we’ve made and protect our troops. Those consultations are now complete, and I have chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months.” That is, 19 months after taking office.
Caving in to pressure from the European Union, President Barack Obama signaled this week that he wanted “Buy American” provisions struck from the so-called economic stimulus package now going through Congress. The $819 billion plan, which passed on the House of Representatives on January 28, requires the use of U.S.-made iron and steel in public works projects. This set off a “quiet fury” among politicians in the European Union, who have denounced the provisions as “protectionism,” even though they are proceeding with protectionist measures of their own on products ranging from auto parts to dairy products.
On the morning of Tuesday, January 27, President Barack Obama gave an interview with Al Arabiya, an Arab news network based out of Dubai, in an attempt to quell Arab distrust and hate of America. He also sent former Senator George Mitchell to the Middle East as an envoy to help broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
The UN's "Special Rapporteur on Torture," Manfred Nowak, in a message recorded on January 20 for broadcast that evening on Germany's ZDF television, urged the United States to bring charges against former President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for torture and bad treatment of prisoners held at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay. "Judicially speaking, the United States has a clear obligation" to bring proceedings against Bush and Rumsfeld, said Nowak.
The Obama administration plans to increase overall troop commitments abroad this year, according to the Washington Post. The Obama administration has reportedly signed on to a Pentagon plan to increase U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan by 30,000 this year. It would essentially be a “surge” for Afghanistan.