Local Politics

Hagan: Leave Iraq withdrawal up to generals

Posted February 19, 2009 12:56 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:13 p.m. EDT

— U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan said Thursday she still supports pulling troops out of Iraq but said she would leave the decision to the military officers in charge.

Hagan, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, toured Fort Bragg Thursday morning and participated in a video teleconference with Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, the post's commanding officer who currently is second in command of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Hagan said Austin told her troops are training Iraqi police and soldiers and that the number of improvised explosive devices troops have encountered has gone down "tremendously."

President Barack Obama has pushed for withdrawing most U.S. troops from Iraq within 16 months and redeploying forces to focus on the war in Afghanistan. This week, he announced plans to deploy another 17,000 troops, including Marines from Camp Lejeune, to Afghanistan.

Military leaders have asked for extending the time-line for an Iraq withdrawal to 23 months.

"I'm going to leave that to the generals in charge," Hagan said. "I think they're doing a very good job. I think (the withdrawal) also depends not only on what we do but also on what the Iraqis do and their timetable.

"I do see us withdrawing troops," she said.