Obama announces total troop withdrawal from Iraq

Friday, Oct. 21, 2011 12:59 PM
Last updated 5:04 PM
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WASHINGTON — President Obama on Friday declared an end to the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all American troops would be withdrawn from the country by year’s end.

President Barack Obama on Friday declared an end to the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the country by year's end.  Associated Press
Associated Press
President Barack Obama on Friday declared an end to the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the country by year's end.

Obama’s statement put an end to months of wrangling over whether the U.S. would maintain a force in Iraq beyond 2011. He never mentioned the tense and ultimately fruitless negotiations with Iraq over whether to keep several thousand U.S. forces there as a training force and a hedge against meddling from Iran or other outside forces.

Instead, Obama spoke of a promise kept, a new day for a self-reliant Iraq and a focus on building up the economy at home.

“I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year,” Obama said. “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.”

Obama spoke after a private video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and he offered assurances that the two leaders agreed on the decision.

The U.S. military presence in Iraq stands at just less than 40,000. All U.S. troops are to exit the country in accordance with a deal struck between the countries in 2008 when George W. Bush was president.

Obama, an opponent of the war from the start, took office and accelerated the end of the conflict. In August 2010, he declared the U.S. combat mission over.

“Over the next two months our troops in Iraq, tens of thousands of them, will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home,” Obama said. “The last American soldier will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops.”

More than 4,400 American military members have been killed since the U.S. and its allies invaded Iraq in March 2003.

The Associated Press first reported last week that the United States would not keep troops in Iraq past the year-end withdrawal deadline, except for some soldiers attached to the U.S. Embassy.

Denis McDonough, the White House’s deputy national security adviser, said that in addition to the standard Marine security detail, the U.S. will also have 4,000 to 5,000 contractors to provide security for U.S. diplomats, including at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and U.S. consulates in Basra and Erbil.

In recent months, Washington had been discussing with Iraqi leaders the possibility of several thousand American troops remaining to continue training Iraqi security forces.

Throughout the discussions, Iraqi leaders refused to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, and the Americans refused to stay without that guarantee.

Moreover, Iraq’s leadership has been split on whether it wanted American forces to stay.

When the 2008 agreement requiring all U.S. forces to leave Iraq was passed, many U.S. officials assumed it would inevitably be renegotiated so that Americans could stay longer.

The U.S. said repeatedly this year it would entertain an offer from the Iraqis to have a small force stay behind, and the Iraqis said they would like American military help. But as the year wore on and the number of American troops that Washington was suggesting could stay behind dropped, it became increasingly clear that a U.S. troop presence was not a sure thing.

The issue of legal protection for the Americans was the deal-breaker.

But administration officials said they feel confident that the Iraqi security forces are well prepared to take the lead in their country. McDonough said assessment after assessment of the preparedness of Iraqi forces concluded that “these guys are ready; these guys are capable; these guys are proven; importantly, they’re proven because they’ve been tested in a lot of the kinds of threats that they’re going to see going forward.

“So we feel very good about that.”

Pulling troops out by the end of this year allows both al-Maliki and Obama to claim victory.

Obama kept a campaign promise to end the war, and al-Maliki will have ended the American presence and restored Iraqi sovereignty.

The president used the war statement to once again turn attention back to the economy, the domestic concern that is expected to determine whether he wins re-election next year.

“After a decade of war the nation that we need to build and the nation that we will build is our own, an America that sees its economic strength restored just as we’ve restored our leadership around the globe.”

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wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 10/21/11 - 01:15 pm
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The American withdrawal by
Unpublished

The American withdrawal by the end of 2011 was sealed in a deal between the two countries when George W. Bush was president..................

so barry had nothing to do with this?....figures.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 10/21/11 - 01:34 pm
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0
And the neocons who got us

And the neocons who got us into it would have withdrawn? Bush=foreign policy failures. Obama=foreign policy successes. Kills y'all doesn't it?

justthefacts
22680
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justthefacts 10/21/11 - 01:50 pm
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From the Associated Press:

From the Associated Press: "The American withdrawal by the end of 2011 was sealed in a deal between the two countries when George W. Bush was president." Funny, President Obama never fails to blame all his troubles on someone else and take personal credit for anything positive.

Little Lamb
46859
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Little Lamb 10/21/11 - 01:58 pm
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There can be no doubt left,

There can be no doubt left, he is in full campaign mode now. Unfortunately, we taxpayers are paying for his campaign expenses both with our money and with suffering through the effects of his crippling policies.

RunningMan
346
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RunningMan 10/21/11 - 02:32 pm
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Much of the money the federal

Much of the money the federal government has spent over the last 9 years is due to the war in IRAQ. I was there when it started, and can only imagine how all of those troops feel to be coming home for the holidays. Great job by all of them, and thank you Mr. President for making it so.

CorporalGripweed
0
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CorporalGripweed 10/21/11 - 02:34 pm
0
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Obummer's looking a little

Obummer's looking a little long in the tooth ain't he?

harley_52
23959
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harley_52 10/21/11 - 02:50 pm
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0
Pity we've lost another

Pity we've lost another one.

When will we ever learn?

Haki
31
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Haki 10/21/11 - 02:55 pm
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0
Thank you, Mr. President.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Cassandra Harris
-3
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Cassandra Harris 10/21/11 - 02:56 pm
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harley - there were no

harley - there were no weapons of mass destruction - Bush's excuse for invading, Al Qaeda is not in Iraq, bin Laden was found in Pakistan not iraQ, Saddam Hussein was captured, tried by his people and executed, and we are removing our troops out by the agreed upon time frame of the two countries.

Could you now explain what you mean by "we've lost another one"?

Cassandra Harris
-3
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Cassandra Harris 10/21/11 - 02:58 pm
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Peace upon us and the people

Peace upon us and the people of Iraq. Please end our conflict in Afghanistan soon.

harley_52
23959
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harley_52 10/21/11 - 03:16 pm
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Runningman, I salute you for

Runningman, I salute you for your service and you should be very proud of what you did. So should all your brothers in arms. Pity your government didn't have the courage to complete the Iraq mission and just as bad that we'll crawl home from Afghanistan similarly disappointed.

Cassandra Harris
-3
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Cassandra Harris 10/21/11 - 03:19 pm
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harley - What mission have we

harley - What mission have we yet to accomplish in Iraq? What do you mean by we "lost another one"?

KSL
134138
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KSL 10/21/11 - 03:38 pm
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What he means is what is

What he means is what is going to happen in the area after we leave.

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 10/21/11 - 03:50 pm
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Probably the same thing that

Probably the same thing that has happened since the dawn of man, but we wont be getting our people killed and our money spent.

eagle
94
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eagle 10/21/11 - 03:56 pm
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Yes, this Pres is in full
Unpublished

Yes, this Pres is in full campaign mode and has been for the last 3 years. Shackled our military in Iraq, wouldn't listen to the officers in the field (I forgot, BHO can do it better), and now, gives Al-Quida full range in Iraq. Harley, you're right!

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 10/21/11 - 03:59 pm
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Right Taylor B. Perhaps my

Right Taylor B. Perhaps my motivations are different than some and harsh to boot; but after I saw some wounded warriors ( the age of my sons) at a GJ game several years ago I went home and wept. I vowed then that their ruined lives were not worth every &%$ Iraqi or Afghani on earth. We have NO interest abroad that is worth the lives of our young men and women in the military, unless it pertains to the direct military safety of the Unites States. Not the oil. Not the Quadaffis and Khomenis, AKmajammerdams and Huesseins. NONE of them

harley_52
23959
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harley_52 10/21/11 - 04:04 pm
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I hate to say it Eagle, but I

I hate to say it Eagle, but I get physically sickened when I see what's happened in Iraq and what's happening in Afghanistan. In both instances, we've lost thousands of lives, more thousands of limbs, and Trillions of Dollars on wars we did not (or will not) win.

Like Vietnam and to some extent Korea before them, Iraq and Afghanistan will go down in history as failed military ventures. But none of them were military failures. ALL of them were political failures because after sending our citizens off to fight and die we discovered that we, as a Nation, didn't have the guts to WIN.

harley_52
23959
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harley_52 10/21/11 - 04:15 pm
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Vito45 said "I vowed then

Vito45 said "I vowed then that their ruined lives were not worth every &%$ Iraqi or Afghani on earth. We have NO interest abroad that is worth the lives of our young men and women in the military, unless it pertains to the direct military safety of the Unites States. Not the oil. Not the Quadaffis and Khomenis, AKmajammerdams and Huesseins. NONE of them"

I agree with you Vito. We might disagree on when the "direct military safety of the United States" is at stake, or even where oil comes into play, but it is very clear to me that our political leaders have been too quick to pull the trigger for the citizens they're representing.

We could argue about "why?" Is it the hawkish politicians, or the dovish citizens that are the problem here? I don't know.

What I do know is that it is horribly unfair to destroy all these lives, rip apart all these families, and spend all this money for the results we achieve. These people have given a lot for their Country. Some all they had to give.

We cheapen their honor and their sacrifices when we decide to come crawling home with our National tail between our legs from a war we have chosen NOT to win.

Cassandra Harris
-3
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Cassandra Harris 10/21/11 - 04:31 pm
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harley - I agree with both

harley - I agree with both you and Vito on the casualties of our troops. As I pointed out before, Al Qaeda is not focused in Iraq, Saddam Hussein is overthrown and dead, there were NO weapons of mass destruction (our alleged purpose of going to war was to secure those) and a government has been chosen by the people and is in place. Could you please explain what objectives you feel we still must meet to win? If you're talking about causualties (which would only be vengeance, not a true military objective) we've killed well over a half million Iraqi's for our slightly more than 4K loss in Iraq.

What objectives do you still feel we must meet? This timeline was agreed on by two presidents and the current government (which WE put into power). What else do you want us to do before withdrawing?

KSL
134138
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KSL 10/21/11 - 04:40 pm
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0
Now if we could stop

Now if we could stop foolishness like this. Obama's administration has to be both the most stupid and the most corrupt in modern times.

180
Fisker_auto

Just when we thought nothing could beat Solyndra in terms of dirty corruption scheme presented as an “investment in green energy of the future,” we have something even worse: $529 million Federal loan guarantee to a start-up electric car company named Fisker. Which is okay, except that . . . Fisker took the money to Finland to produce their cars there. The owner of the company, Henry Fisker, has no experience in the auto-making industry, and his company has no previous history of any successful project. That is, he created the company for the sole purpose to take the government guarantee and get loans from the banks.

There’s no politics involved, of course. Except that the major financial backer of the Fisker Company has contributed more than $1 million to political causes, mainly to the Democrats. But that’s just a coincidence.

Read more: American Federal Loans Create Jobs . . . in Finland | Godfather Politics http://godfatherpolitics.com/1644/american-federal-loans-create-jobs-in-...

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 10/21/11 - 05:11 pm
0
0
The real reason Obama is

The real reason Obama is bringing the troops home is so he can use them to stop next year’s election and fill his secret FEMA processing plants.

“REPUBLICANT GREEN IS RIGHTWING PEOPLE!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Sp-VFBbjpE

[That concludes today’s hysterical conservative PSA]

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 10/21/11 - 05:12 pm
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0
tanbaby
1304
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tanbaby 10/21/11 - 05:22 pm
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i hope it truly happens, but
Unpublished

i hope it truly happens, but i also hope that the voters will see through this as just another move on his part to try to secure a re-election...

KSL
134138
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KSL 10/21/11 - 05:27 pm
0
0
There is no telling what

There is no telling what extent Obama is willing to go to get reelected or worse, set aside the election.

Bruno
780
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Bruno 10/21/11 - 05:37 pm
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0
Good. Now let's get them out

Good. Now let's get them out of Afghanistan and Libya too.
Cassandra, the WMD's were only ONE aspect of why we went into Iraq. That talking point of "no wmd's" only works on people who don't know any better. Time to let your GWB hate die.

alfrrst4
18
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alfrrst4 10/21/11 - 05:49 pm
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0
Thank you Mr.

Thank you Mr. President!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 10/21/11 - 05:52 pm
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0
KSL: “There is no telling

KSL: “There is no telling what extent Obama is willing to go to get reelected or worse, set aside the election.”

Foxy Brown, Dolemite, Blacula, and Mandigo will be appointed “dance czars” and are already busy masterminding the electoral Hiphopalypse. To counter Republican voter ID laws, they will implement “voter dance laws”; in order to vote, people will have to pass a break dancing test.

They’re calling it: Breakin 2, Electoral Boogaloo

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 10/21/11 - 06:04 pm
0
0
insane. we wanted to stay but
Unpublished

insane. we wanted to stay but the iraq prez said no! he knew without immunity we would leave. so thank you Mister President of Iraq! please explain how we lost iraq? al queda is and was in iraq. don't know how much they matter anymore? iran has taken over for them. what's your over/under on the existence of israel? israel is now surrounded by well-armed/well-trained enemies. even egypt and turkey have turned on them. oh well. so it goes.

harley_52
23959
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harley_52 10/21/11 - 06:05 pm
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Bruno said "Now let's get

Bruno said "Now let's get them out of Afghanistan and Libya too"

I agree completely.

We have as much chance of winning in Afghanistan as we do in Iraq. Zero.

We shouldn't waste one more life or spend one more dollar on a cause we don't have the guts, or the resolve, to win.

Who wants to be the last man to die for a war we don't want to win?

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 10/21/11 - 06:14 pm
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harley_52: “We have as much

harley_52: “We have as much chance of winning in Afghanistan as we do in Iraq.”

Define “Win”.

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