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Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all American troops would be withdrawn from the country by year’s end.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the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the country by year's end.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the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the country by year's end.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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scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 10/21/11 - 05:14 pm
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why don't we get out of south
Unpublished

why don't we get out of south korea, japan, europe and every other place we have soldiers? we spend billions for what? bring them all home!

harley_52
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harley_52 10/21/11 - 05:30 pm
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One more thing.... After we

One more thing....

After we slink home from Iraq, watch what happens. It will be buried in the news, but thousands of Iraqi citizens will be slaughtered. All those who believed what we told them about driving out and defeating the radical islamic terrorists will now be at their mercy. All the infrastructure we built will be destroyed, or used to support the radicals. Citizens will be beaten, tortured, and slaughtered in the streets. They will all rue the day they attempted to make peace with the United States only to watch the United States abandon them.

Again.

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 10/21/11 - 05:38 pm
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we are being asked to leave?
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we are being asked to leave? we agree. we have no responsibility after granting their wish? if we don't leave when asked we're imperalist occupiers?

harley_52
25872
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harley_52 10/21/11 - 05:43 pm
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bjphysics said "Define

bjphysics said "Define “Win”

That's the problem, isn't it bj?

Winning a war means defeating the enemy. Much like winning a football game, or winning a fist fight. If you fight only until you're tired of fighting and then slink home with your tail between your legs, it's usually considered more than a little disingenuous to claim you've "won."

We haven't "won." We haven't even "tied." We've deposed Saddam. We've searched, mainly in vain, for WMD that we didn't find. We are not sure where they went (at least officially). At various points we said we wanted to stay until we had prepared the Iraqis to protect and govern themselves and that we wanted to maintain a strategic base in Iraq for use as we needed.

We leave in failure, by any measure, of "winning" no matter how you define it.

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 10/21/11 - 05:47 pm
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harley you talk in circles.
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harley you talk in circles. do you want us in or out?

allhans
24885
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allhans 10/21/11 - 05:51 pm
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I don't believe a word of

I don't believe a word of this. He doesn't have the gumption to bring the troops home when he knows what will likely happen to Iraq. He will find an excuse to postpone any actions until after Nov 2012.
Just more headlining from the pretender.

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 10/21/11 - 05:54 pm
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he's not "bringing the troops
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he's not "bringing the troops home", we're being asked/told to leave and he's obliging. politically perfect scenario! there is no possible fallout.

RunningMan
346
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RunningMan 10/21/11 - 05:55 pm
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Its amazing how some don’t

Its amazing how some don’t give him credit because Bush put this into play 3 years ago, and on the other hand criticize him for not finishing the war that Bush started. It just goes to prove it’s not about the job he is doing as president that is causing this disapproval by some. This is not about politics, but about doing the right thing and finally putting an end to this war. We went in based on emotions from 9/11, with trillions of dollars spent, and lost of countless military and civilian lives. The Iraqis should be able to control their own density, and I can assure you there are thousands of US families that will be having a Very Happy Holiday Season this year because of the announcement made today by the current Commander-In-Chief. Lets move on and wish them and the Iraqis a great future.

Cassandra Harris
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Cassandra Harris 10/21/11 - 06:09 pm
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Bruno - what GWB hate? If I

Bruno - what GWB hate? If I has told a lie about his use of the bogus "weapons of mass destruction" to get the people to support his invasion of Iraq it would be different. However that was his rallying cry and he later admitted the "evidence" was coerced by torture.

RunningMan
346
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RunningMan 10/21/11 - 06:13 pm
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SH-You only know what someone

SH-You only know what someone has told you and the rest of us. Were you there to count them? I didn't think so. Finally, you got something right, Bush for putting it into play and Mr. President for making it so. Now tell the rest of your gang to get on board. From the Drama King.

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 10/21/11 - 06:16 pm
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"coerced by torture"? never
Unpublished

"coerced by torture"? never heard that one. thought it was delivered by the cia, fbi, et al? anyway, the UN and congress with many lib dems included voted for action against iraq. unlike libya which was done without proper authorization from congress. louis farraken is livid with the bamster for assassinating a fellow muslim. are you?

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 10/21/11 - 06:18 pm
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were you there? no. admit
Unpublished

were you there? no. admit your term countless is absurd. in fact define it.

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 10/21/11 - 06:23 pm
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don't have a gang or posse.
Unpublished

don't have a gang or posse. pull yo pants up.

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 10/21/11 - 06:25 pm
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correction, should read for
Unpublished

correction, should read for the "bamster's role in assassinating a fellow muslim."

scgator
1042
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scgator 10/21/11 - 06:28 pm
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I talked to a friend today,

I talked to a friend today, who's son is in Iraq; he told her that this announcement was made to them earlier this week, but they were not coming home................they were being deployed to Africa on orders from the President......................It seems that Obama can't tell the complete truth, no matter what.

KSL
143787
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KSL 10/21/11 - 06:30 pm
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I guess some here have not

I guess some here have not read Georges Sada's book, Saddam's Secrets. It's quite interesting.

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 10/21/11 - 06:31 pm
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africa is a continent. where
Unpublished

africa is a continent. where in africa? best place in the world to contract malaria and aids. think i'd rather stay in Iraq?

KSL
143787
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KSL 10/21/11 - 06:33 pm
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If we indeed are being asked

If we indeed are being asked to leave, it's disgusting that the liar in chief is claiming any credit.

If they are being deployed to Africa, I hope every Bush basher, Obama supporter complains adamantly and loudly. Watch that not happen.

KSL
143787
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KSL 10/21/11 - 06:36 pm
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scorehouse, if you keep

scorehouse, if you keep calling him mouth instead of man, your comments will be removed. They used to allow posters to do that, but when they tightened up commenting policy, that was a no-no.

I kind of hate it. I have a friend who was most clever at altering names.

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 10/21/11 - 06:39 pm
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another absurdity. 40k troops
Unpublished

another absurdity. 40k troops aren't going to africa. maybe 1000 to uganda/ruwanda in the interest of national security. reports have gorillas are organizing to attack D.C.

Vito45
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Vito45 10/21/11 - 06:41 pm
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Ya'll thanking "Mr.

Ya'll thanking "Mr. President" should be saying "Mr. President and Mr. Bush". As I recall, wan't GWB meeting with them and signing an agreement to be out by the end of this year when the reporter threw the shoes at him? Someone refresh me on that, but if not right, I do remember Bush signed a commitment to be out on a date certain, which should be around the end of this year, ~5 yrs out. If so, Obama is doing no more than honoring the U.S. commitment, his sworn duty.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 10/21/11 - 06:44 pm
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harley, possibly, but at

harley, possibly, but at least Americans won't be the ones pulling the trigger (rightfully or otherwise)

KSL
143787
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KSL 10/21/11 - 06:45 pm
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It's about time Obama did

It's about time Obama did something to uphold an agreement and promise. Now if he would just honor the rest of his sworn duty to the people of America.

harley_52
25872
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harley_52 10/21/11 - 06:57 pm
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KSL said "If we indeed are

KSL said "If we indeed are being asked to leave, it's disgusting that the liar in chief is claiming any credit."

We have been "asked to leave" many times. There is (and always has been) a portion of the population that wants us out. It's not unlike the various opinions on whether we should have gone in the first place. What's important is that it was in our National interests to accomplish certain goals in Iraq. We suffered all the loss of lives, spilled all the blood, and spent all the money, and got nothing in return. Plus....we've set up the Iraqi people for a horrible future.

The Obama Administration wanted us out by December 31, because that was Obama's campaign promise. No other reason. The military Generals who wanted to see us get at least something out of the disaster wanted to leave sufficient forces there to finish training the Iraqis and to keep a base there we could use for future operations. The Administration dragged their feet until it was too late on purpose.

She also said "If they are being deployed to Africa, I hope every Bush basher, Obama supporter complains adamantly and loudly. Watch that not happen."

A small force of about 100 U.S. Special Operations Forces has been sent to Uganda to help put down a bunch of ruthless, murdering tribesmen called the Lord's Resistance Army who have been slaughtering civilians in Uganda and South Sudan. I haven't heard many complaints so far.

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 10/21/11 - 07:01 pm
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gotta give the bamster
Unpublished

gotta give the bamster credit. his track record on killing muslims and africans is outstanding!

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 10/21/11 - 07:02 pm
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gotta give the bamster
Unpublished

gotta give the bamster credit. his track record on killing muslims and africans is outstanding!

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 10/21/11 - 07:13 pm
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President Obama on Friday
Unpublished

President Obama on Friday declared an end to the Iraq war,

LOL..he declared it?? He had nothing to do with ending it.....Can we say Vote for me??

KSL
143787
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KSL 10/21/11 - 07:21 pm
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Why not, wonders? He can say

Why not, wonders? He can say "If you love me you will help me pass this bill."

KSL
143787
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KSL 10/21/11 - 08:17 pm
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harley, pretty easy to make

harley, pretty easy to make a campaign promise already agreed upon before you enter office, wouldn't you say? My problem, well one of them, is that Obama wants to take credit for anything good that happens whether or not he has anything to do with it happening. But he blames others (Bush) and other events (tsunamis, earthquakes, etc.) for things going wrong under his regime. His stimulus plan doesn't work and he blames Bush. Hopefully his new stimulus won't pass and the voting public will not fall for his lies.

Jake
34052
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Jake 10/21/11 - 08:27 pm
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All I can say is "Good".

All I can say is "Good". Should have ended a long time ago but never should have happened at all.

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