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Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all American troops would be withdrawn from the country by year’s end.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the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the country by year's end.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the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the country by year's end.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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allhans
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allhans 10/21/11 - 08:31 pm
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Obama..The Giant

Obama..The Giant Killer..bring on the Muslim and Islamic tyrants...

Meanwhile Joe Biden scares the daylights out of 4th graders with his talk of bad guys.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 10/21/11 - 08:38 pm
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United States will never

United States will never allow Iraq to leave its national security embrace. I think I heard these words on NPR news at 8 pm Fri 21 Oct 2011: "An agreement has been reached (for the U.S) to train and equip Iraq forces but details were not released." At any rate the U.S. has built the largest embassy in the world in Iraq. It will be guarded by 7,000 mercenaries - I mean private security contractors - complete with a squadron of Blackhawk helicopters and armored vehicles to ferry U.S. embassy officials safely around "pacified" Iraq. Also 100,000 or more mercenaries - I mean private contractors - are not leaving Iraq. In fact their numbers are increasing. Only uniformed U.S. troops are leaving, and there is still room to negotiate for U.S. "trainers" to stay behind - you know to service the 16 F-18s we are selling Iraq and to train Iraqi pilots. They will no doubt also have license to "defend" themselves. Obama may think he has at least won a political victory, but IMO he will suffer the same fate at the polls as Bush 41 did after his Gulf War victory of 1991. The bottom line is that United States cannot bring this war to a satisfactory conclusion because the U.S. invasion of Iraq was based on known lies and has been illegal since Day One when the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003. The whole world except for Americans who are in denial knows this.

allhans
24964
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allhans 10/21/11 - 08:31 pm
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allhans
24964
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allhans 10/21/11 - 08:36 pm
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I doubt that Obama will pull

I doubt that Obama will pull the troops, after all he has now become "the war president" and will find an excuse to postpone the evacuation.
He is also a champion grand-stander/campaigner.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 10/21/11 - 08:44 pm
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I think this move is already

I think this move is already staring to go over like a lead balloon with Republican yahoos like McCain and Graham. True to form expect Obama to cave to the Republican national security hawks or engineer a pretext to attack Iran in order to maintain his Commander in Chief macho. There are already signs of right wing rancor: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/US-Withdrawal-Raises-Questions-o...

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 10/21/11 - 08:48 pm
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double post

double post

KSL
144551
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KSL 10/21/11 - 08:51 pm
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Those so-called mercenaries

Those so-called mercenaries make quite good money. Actually, your post, Cain, should relieve the minds of a lot of us who really hate to see another Viet Nam.

My real fear is that America has become a country who ties its hands behind her back and doesn't fight to win, like we did in WW11. We worry about collateral damage and the enemy does not. Is that a fair fight? Oh, and before you come back and state we fight with sophisticated equipment, like drones, which makes it incumbent on us to do so, who wants to cut the military budget?

KSL
144551
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KSL 10/21/11 - 08:54 pm
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I do agree with you about

I do agree with you about Obama. I'm certain you are totally disappointed with him. Well, maybe not totally. I assume you like his ridiculous health care bill.

KSL
144551
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KSL 10/21/11 - 08:55 pm
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Nice to see you posting, by

Nice to see you posting, by the way.

allhans
24964
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allhans 10/21/11 - 08:58 pm
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I admire the fact that Obama

I admire the fact that Obama continues to follow the Bush agenda. Bush said by 2012 and Obama follows the leader. Good job.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 10/21/11 - 09:18 pm
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Make no mistake, the U.S. war

Make no mistake, the U.S. war in Iraq is a political war not an existential war for survival against any terrorist threat from Iraq. Establishment neoliberals have adopted the military objectives of the neocons' Project for a New American Century which was the blueprint for this war. Iraq was to be the first domino in the total reshaping of the entire Middle East through the use of U.S. military force. One neocon wag spilled in the beans in 2003 when he said "Iraq is bigger than an aircraft carrier." Since this is a political war and an neocolonial war like the U.S. war in Vietnam, the U.S. cannot wage total war for total victory. Political wars seldom if ever end in with a military victory. They always end through political negotiations. The U.S. wars of choice in Iraq and Afghanistan are political wars and will be ended not through decisive military actions but through negotiations. United States is moving on toward war in south Sudan and in Uganda for oil and war for control of rare earth minerals in Congo. Syria and Iran will be the denouement of the neocons' blueprint PNAC.

KSL
144551
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KSL 10/21/11 - 09:27 pm
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So you won't be voting for

So you won't be voting for Obama?? I do appreciate your explanation. And I learned a new word, neoliberals.

KSL
144551
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KSL 10/21/11 - 09:33 pm
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Just curious, and you know I

Just curious, and you know I respect your opinion. We go back to 2007. Who would you support in the Dem. party? Both parties have pretty much sold us out. You lean one way, I lean the other.

Bruno
780
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Bruno 10/21/11 - 09:43 pm
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Cain, your assertion that the

Cain, your assertion that the war was/is illegal was debunked long ago when the forums were still operating.
Even if Obama brought all of the troops home, the economy and employment would still be in the toilet. I never thought that I would see a President as ineffectual as Carter but Obama is pulling up close.

KSL
144551
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KSL 10/21/11 - 09:50 pm
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Bruno, he will forever say

Bruno, he will forever say that the Iraq was an illegal war. I truly don't understand the pass bam gets from him.

bclicious
770
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bclicious 10/21/11 - 10:03 pm
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War in Iraq: $1.29

War in Iraq: $1.29 Trillion
Hurricane Katrina: $82 Billion
TARP Bailouts: $700 Billion
Watching politicans destroy our middle class: Priceless

bclicious
770
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bclicious 10/21/11 - 10:08 pm
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I for one am proud of my

I for one am proud of my service in Iraq. I lost alot of good friends there, but I believed in what I was doing over there. With that, I do not appreciate those who solely blame the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on our current economic downturn. The plot goes much deeper then that folks.

I only go as far as saying that the wars were merely a contributing factor to a much bigger problem.

KSL
144551
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KSL 10/21/11 - 10:08 pm
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allhans, I normally agree

allhans, I normally agree with you, but I have no admiration for Obama. It really doesn't take much to follow what is already in place. And with the economic situation, bringing home the troops as agreed on is a positive for him. It's pure politics.

KSL
144551
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KSL 10/21/11 - 10:14 pm
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I definitely agree with you

I definitely agree with you b. I am a conservative person. Have been all of my life, despite having a somewhat liberal Ivy League educated father and a southern mother whose family had voted Democrat since the Civil War. I do doubt my grandparents who were born in the 1800's would vote Democrat today.

KSL
144551
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KSL 10/21/11 - 10:15 pm
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And thank you for your

And thank you for your service.

Vito45
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Vito45 10/21/11 - 11:46 pm
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bclicious Friday, Oct. 21

bclicious
Friday, Oct. 21 11:08 PM
"I for one am proud of my service in Iraq. I lost alot of good friends there, but I believed in what I was doing over there. With that, I do not appreciate those who solely blame the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on our current economic downturn. The plot goes much deeper then that folks.

I only go as far as saying that the wars were merely a contributing factor to a much bigger problem."

You should be proud, because any American with a shred of patriotism is proud of you for serving this country selflessly, regardless of the political motivations of those sending you into harm's way. It just sickens me though, that so many of you patriots come back maimed or permanently scarred in some way just for some political ends. We should no longer tolerate what has happened in the past 50 years.

KSL
144551
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KSL 10/22/11 - 12:11 am
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I agree, Vito. Now here is

I agree, Vito. Now here is what I say: If we are going to put our bravest and best at risk, we should be da*mned ready to win, not [filtered word] foot around. We do these courageous patriots a dishonor doing nothing less. They deserve our total commitment. I'm sick and tired of political correctness, and especially when it comes to our troops.

KSL
144551
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KSL 10/22/11 - 12:18 am
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I agree, Vito. But we

I agree, Vito. But we Americans don't always have all of he facts. Wonder how Americans would have felt pre WW11 had we been privy to all of the facts? I don't think I would be in favor of Roosevelt serving that 3rd 4 years.

RunningMan
346
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RunningMan 10/22/11 - 04:46 am
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The war stared by Bush 9

The war stared by Bush 9 years ago will continue to have negative consequences for many years after the last American has left. Many Iraqis still want the US to remain, but at what cost? Again, we have spent too much and lost too many lives to only be where we are today. At some point the Iraqis must take ownership of their own future. Its easy for politicians and others who have never deployed a day in their life to sit back and want the US to stay longer, but there are many military families that will say otherwise. This is no longer our fight. The Iraqis and countries in that part of the world must learn it is in their own best interest to live together peacefully, and not depend on the US.

RunningMan
346
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RunningMan 10/22/11 - 04:51 am
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After reading many of the

After reading many of the posting on this topic, i am convinced some of you are just plain blind to reality and will say just about anything to slam our great President. Too bad, and I really feel sorry for you.

hounddog
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hounddog 10/22/11 - 09:09 am
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‘i am convinced some of you
Unpublished

‘i am convinced some of you are just plain blind to reality and will say just about anything to slam our great President.’
Best joke of the day, ‘great president’ HA, HA,

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 10/22/11 - 09:17 am
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JRHC:"Iraq was to be the

JRHC:"Iraq was to be the first domino in the total reshaping of the entire Middle East through the use of U.S. military force."

I said that from the get-go. WMD was just the excuse for a bigger plan; democracy in the ME.

seenitB4
98477
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seenitB4 10/22/11 - 09:27 am
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vitosaid... JRHC:"Iraq was to

vitosaid...
JRHC:"Iraq was to be the first domino in the total reshaping of the entire Middle East through the use of U.S. military force."

I 100% agree with that---the beginning of the falling dominos---reshaping the MEast----getting rid of tyrants.....opening the world to people living in the darkness-----education is a wonderful thing.

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 10/22/11 - 09:31 am
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I don’t remember this speech

I don’t remember this speech but why would I? He was only a state Senator at the time.

Obama's 2002 Speech Against the Iraq War

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUV69LZbCNQ

seenitB4
98477
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seenitB4 10/22/11 - 09:33 am
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I think when Obama became

I think when Obama became President he finally saw the big picture & that was the reason he went along with some of the plans already in progress.....it wasn't that he was caving to the Reps. it was because B4 he didn't know all the facts....Just think...just a few countries held the WORLD in their grasp with the oil production....should they control more areas as Saddam tried---they could bring the economy down to its knees anytime they wanted...

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