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{Empty title} | The Nation

Tom Hayden asks whether Obama will "keep his pledge to withdraw combat forces from Iraq on a sixteen-month timetable, and all forces by 2011?" Inquiring journalists need to only to look at the continued construction at bases throughout Iraq. Yes, regular ground forces will depart. But a serious contingent will be needed to protect the embassy. Then there will be the special forces personnel who will stay behind to continue training Iraqi security forces. Those special forces will not operate without intelligence assets flying overhead or combat aircraft to provide on-call firepower. Even these limited forces leave a large footprint, requiring logistics, intelligence and administrative support. Those left behind will near 10,000.