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Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all American troops would be withdrawn from the country by year’s end.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the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the country by year's end.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the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the country by year's end.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 10/22/11 - 10:10 am
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KSL ..No admiration for Obama

KSL ..No admiration for Obama here. That was said tongue in cheek, trust me.

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 10/22/11 - 10:32 am
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“Defeated by

“Defeated by Democracy
Reported as triumph, Iraq elections were really Bush team’s nightmare

[snip]

Fanciful illusion

Yet in the aftermath of the elections, almost no pundits were willing to acknowledge this reality. Instead, many wholeheartedly swallowed the administration’s lofty rhetoric about Iraqi democracy while in many cases ignoring their own earlier reporting on Bush’s steadfast rejection of free elections.”

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2530

Brad Owens
4921
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Brad Owens 10/22/11 - 10:33 am
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Glad it is over, also I know

Glad it is over, also I know that it will be a good money maker in the private security business for a loooong time.

This is good campaign fodder but a bit early I think to help or hurt the President.

Brad

RunningMan
346
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RunningMan 10/22/11 - 11:12 am
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More than 9 years after Bush

More than 9 years after Bush declared "Mission Complete", we may finally be able to do just that. Makes you wonder, exactly what was the mission in the first place, because we sure did pay for a whole lot more over the past 9 years. Thank you Mr. President for not allowing the blindness of others from keeping the withdrawal timeline on track and bringing our folks home once and for all from this unnecessary war.

KSL
144656
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KSL 10/22/11 - 11:26 am
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I know, allhans.

I know, allhans.

RunningMan
346
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RunningMan 10/22/11 - 11:27 am
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And for all of you trying to

And for all of you trying to sugar coat the reasons so many americans have lost their lives in this war, our Command-In-Chief at that time said it was for WMDs, so we went in looking for just that. You can call it bad intel if you like, but we know better. As the saying goes "you should never make an important decision when you are mad", particularly when you are asking others to do the fighting for you. Over the past 3 years we have done more to promote democracy in that part of the world than ever before, and its being done with far less lost of life and money, and while letting those countries take ownership of becoming free and peaceful nations. Proving you don't have to walk around slinging a gun all of the time to be effective.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 10/22/11 - 11:37 am
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"We have known for many years

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002.
"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I b elieve that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

Running Man, who is this "we" you spoke of in your last post?

seenitB4
98561
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seenitB4 10/22/11 - 11:48 am
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jtf...Now that was a good

jtf...Now that was a good post---amazing how some forget what the Dems have said..

I doubt seriously that the nations would have fallen w/o Iraq going first...runningman.

SouthernChic
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SouthernChic 10/22/11 - 05:58 pm
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I'll believe it when I see

I'll believe it when I see it.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 10/22/11 - 06:24 pm
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Western imperialists think

Western imperialists think they are on a roll, but economic, political, and/or military exigencies will shock U.S. and NATO with harsh realities. Yes, Libya is now under the thumb of the west, and United States has eyes on oil in south Sudan and in Uganda and on rare earth minerals in Congo. The U.S. sees itself in a race with China for influence over and domination of resources in Africa and in Central Asia where Hillary Clinton is today. The U.S. is talking trash to Pakistan and warning Iran not to "meddle" in Iraq which is exactly what the U.S. has done for the last 9 years. At some point the sheer size of the U.S. military empire will force it into retreat because of the factors listed above along with geography, demographics, resources, and historical imperatives. The U.S. military empire even in conjunction with western Europeans nations in NATO simply cannot dominate Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia, the Middle East, Yemen, North Africa, Somalia, south Sudan, Uganda, Congo and every other resource rich region on earth. Obama will be a 1 term president and the succeeding Republican Party president will have no more success with this misguided, militarized U.S. foreign policy of domination. Overthrowing Syria and taking military action against Iran will not save the U.S. economy and risks plunging the world into WWIII.

KSL
144656
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KSL 10/22/11 - 07:00 pm
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I read something today saying

I read something today saying where the USA gets it's oil. Only 16% comes from the Persian Gulf states. 50% comes from Canada. Hmmm.

KSL
144656
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KSL 10/22/11 - 07:05 pm
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And we could cut that if

And we could cut that if government and the environmentalists would let us harvest our own.

KSL
144656
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KSL 10/22/11 - 07:13 pm
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Dead Kurds poisoned by

Dead Kurds poisoned by chemicals is proof that he had WMD. It's undeniable that he didn't have them around when the USA finally got there to investigate. But there are credible reasons for their absence.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 10/22/11 - 08:30 pm
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The Kurds were gassed in

The Kurds were gassed in 1988. At the time, near the end of the Iran-Iraq war (during which the U.S. had variously played each side off against the other) the U.S. said basically nothing about this massacre at the time. Then in Dec 1990 and Jan 1991 the 1st Gulf War occurred. UN inspectors went into Iraq after that and destroyed Saddam's crude chemical weapons. Bush 43 did not invade Iraq until 2003 after he told weapons inspectors to leave Iraq because they were finding nothing. BTW, this war is not over. If United States is worried about Iran's influence in Iraq, they should have thought of that BEFORE they invaded Iraq in 2003 under known false pretenses. RunningMan wrote "The war stared by Bush 9 years ago will continue to have negative consequences for many years after the last American has left." That is absolutely the case. Iraqis have wanted us gone for years. Nobody likes their country occupied by a foreign military. Democracy does not come out of the barrel of a gun. Not in Afghanistan, not in Iraq, not in Libya, not in Syria, and not in Iran. The U.S. war in Iraq remains one of the gargantuan fiascoes in U.S. history.

KSL
144656
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KSL 10/22/11 - 08:35 pm
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And the US continues to

And the US continues to ignore certain areas and bless other areas with our assistance. Both parties do that. So stop blaming just Bush.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 10/22/11 - 09:53 pm
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Obama is a war criminal just

Obama is a war criminal just like Bush. Obama should be impeached, removed from office, and charged with war crimes. So should Bush. I will NEVER stop blaming Bush. He was the Commander in Chief who LIED this country into a totally unnecessary war that killed more innocent people than either Saddam Hussein or Idi Amin killed. The only reason these men and others including Cheney are free is because "might still makes right." It is my profound conviction that this country will never move ahead politically or economically until it admits the national crime that was the attack on Iraq and holds those responsible accountable. There is no statute of limitations on war crimes. Thanking our soldiers for their service and celebrating the death of the latest "bad guy" our war establishment kills will not save this country from the condemnation of history.

KSL
144656
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KSL 10/22/11 - 10:05 pm
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What office is Bush holding

What office is Bush holding now?

Little Lamb
49247
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Little Lamb 10/22/11 - 10:09 pm
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Rev. Cain wrote: I will NEVER

Rev. Cain wrote:

I will NEVER stop blaming Bush. He was the Commander in Chief who LIED this country into a totally unnecessary war that killed more innocent people than either Saddam Hussein or Idi Amin killed. . . . There is no statute of limitations on war crimes.

I agree the Iraq military campaign was ill-advised, poorly prosecuted, and unnecessary; but it was and is legal because it was authorized by the Congress and the U.N. It appears that those political bodies were duped by Geo. Bush and Colin Powell, but it is not a war crime to deceive or mislead.

KSL
144656
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KSL 10/22/11 - 10:11 pm
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I haven't seen proof that

I haven't seen proof that Bush lied us into the war. It's very convenient to think he did for his opponents, and you have to admit, you are are an opponent of anything from the Republican side. It must be quite difficult for you to deal with the only party you can have any identity with which is behaving the way it is.

KSL
144656
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KSL 10/22/11 - 10:35 pm
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My research has led me to the

My research has led me to the numbers of Kurds killed by Saddam because of your of your recent comments. Now I do agree, I'm not quite on board with the sacrifice of our finest for the benefit of foreign countries, I do have a problem with your stats. 100,000 Kurds were wiped out. Again, 100,000. But they were Arab, not ........

nothin2show4it
120
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nothin2show4it 10/23/11 - 07:52 am
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Oh good. Another Viet Nam.
Unpublished

Oh good. Another Viet Nam. America has learned nothing from history.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 10/23/11 - 08:57 am
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The UN never authorized the

The UN never authorized the U.S. invasion of Iraq. After 9 years some people still cannot get their facts right. Neither Bush nor Obama accomplished anything in Iraq except succeeding in playing Americans for fools. Bush lied us into war in Iraq. Obama lied when he said the war in Iraq will end on Dec 31. U.S. military efforts in Iraq will continue after that date through private contractors, U.S "trainers" attached to the U.S. embassy, CIA operatives, and any other avenue of "credible deniability" so Obama can say "no U.S. troops on the ground" will be involved. Obama parses the truth, dissembles, and LIES.

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