Babylon & Beyond

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IRAQ: Time for Marines to leave, and go to Afghanistan, commandant says

January 24, 2009 |  8:39 am


It's time for Marines to leave Iraq, the commandant of the Marine Corps told reporters Friday.

Gen. James Conway said he would like the 22,000 Marines in Iraq to leave in 2009 and for many of them to redeploy to Afghanistan.

The mission in Iraq has become primarily one of nation building, not the ground combat that is the Marines' specialty, Conway said.

Conway was pleased that one of President Barack Obama's first moves was to meet with military brass to talk about Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It is great symbology, he's on our turf," the Associated Press quoted Conway as saying. "More importantly, he gets to meet and shake hands with hundreds of people in all the services."

Click here for an earlier story on the Marines' plans for Afghanistan.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Marines in Iraq. Credit: Department of Defense