Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) asks Hill what the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement and Strategic Framework Agreement require of the United Statesfor long-term commitments. “You’re talking about the drawing down of forces instead of the withdrawal of forces,” he says, and starts quoting from the SOFA. “There’s quite loose language when we’re talking about a full withdrawal by the end of 2011.” And he’s worried that the Obama administration could unilaterally decide, without consulting Congress, to amend the SOFA to stay in Iraq post-2011 since the Bush administration didn’t submit the SOFA to Congress. What’s going on? Will the United States get out entirely by the end of 2011?
“That is the position as I understand it,” Hill answers. “It is the position that we will withdraw all forces by Dec. 31, 2011.” He prefaced his answer by saying he wanted to get a thorough text-based answer to Webb’s concerns about the specific language of the SOFA, but that’s a flat declaration.