After the briefing, Gibbs went to the president for clarification. Gibbs then called me to his office to relate what the president said. The president told him it IS locked in - there is no flexibility. Troops WILL start coming home in July 2011. Period. It's etched in stone. Gibbs said he even had the chisel. White House: July 2011 Afghanistan Withdrawal 'Locked In' The United States should have used the killing of Osama bin Laden to declare victory and quickly withdraw from Afghanistan and now faces an increasingly nationalist uprising in the country, a senior Saudi prince said on Wednesday. "Killing bin Laden would have been the perfect moment when your president can say we've done it ... this is the timetable that we've set for withdrawal of troops and goodbye and good luck. But it hasn't happened that way." WAPSFM: Saudi prince: U.S. missed chance for Afghan withdrawal (2011-09-07) Seventeen months after President Barack Obama pledged to withdraw all combat brigades from Iraq by Sept. 1, 2010, he quietly abandoned that pledge Monday, admitting implicitly that such combat brigades would remain until the end of 2011. Obama declared in a speech to disabled U.S. veterans in Atlanta that Americas combat mission in Iraq would end by the end of August, to be replaced by a mission of supporting and training Iraqi security forces. That statement was in line with the pledge he had made on Feb. 27, 2009, when he said, Let me say this as plainly as I can: by Aug. 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end. In the sentence preceding that pledge, however, he had said, I have chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months. Obama said nothing in his speech Monday about withdrawing combat brigades or combat troops from Iraq until the end of 2011. Obama Drops 2009 Pledge to Withdraw Combat Troops From Iraq by Gareth Porter -- Antiwar.com This is getting lost in the shuffle of the US economic crisis.