Obama: 'America's war in Iraq will be over' at year's end
U.S. soldiers with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment participate in a patrol on July 15, 2011, in Iskandariya, Iraq.
October 21st, 2011
01:13 PM ET

Obama: 'America's war in Iraq will be over' at year's end

[Updated at 1:13 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama, announcing Friday that "the rest of our troops will come home by the end of the year," said: "After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over."

The new partnership with Iraq will be "strong and enduring" after U.S. troops leave the country, Obama said in the White House briefing room. The United States will continue its interest in a strong, stable Iraq after U.S. troops leave, the president said.

"Today I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays," Obama said.

About 39,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq, and the U.S. had wanted to keep from 3,000 to 5,000 troops in Iraq past 2011 to aid in training and security. But the current Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq dictates the U.S. troops leave by year's end, and the United States and Iraq had been unable to come to an agreement on key issues regarding legal immunity for U.S. troops who would remain in Iraq, effectively ending discussion of maintaining a significant American force presence beyond 2011.

Of the 39,000 troops in Iraq, only about 150, a negligible force, will remain to assist in arms sales.

The negotiations were strained following WikiLeaks' release of a diplomatic cable that alleged Iraqi civilians, including children, were killed in a 2006 raid by American troops rather than in an airstrike as initially reported by the U.S. military.

U.S. troops have already started the drawdown - a brigade from Fort Bliss, Texas, that was originally scheduled to be among the very last to leave Iraq was being pulled out of the country months ahead of its planned departure, military officials told CNN last week.

[Updated at 12:47 p.m. ET] The scheduled departure of virtually all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year will allow the United States to "say definitively that the Iraq war is over," a White House official said Friday.

[Initial post] Virtually all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the year as the current Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq dictates, a U.S. official told CNN Friday.

A small number of U.S. troops will be attached to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

This month, the United States and Iraq had been unable to come to an agreement on key issues regarding legal immunity for U.S. troops who would remain in Iraq after the end of the year, effectively ending discussion of maintaining a significant American force presence beyond 2011.

About 39,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq, and the U.S. wanted to keep from 3,000 to 5,000 troops in Iraq past 2011.

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to make a statement about Iraq around 12:45 p.m. Friday, according to a White House official.

FULL STORY
soundoff (1,032 Responses)
  1. Lalalala

    i hate Obama, but Im glad he's bringing home my husband.

    October 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • ObozoinChief

      Thats good to hear! Congrats!

      October 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnFromJersey

      What a classless comment to make. You would rather vote for someone who keeps your husband there for another 10 years. Only a Republican can so blindly and willingly vote against their own self-interest

      October 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. s kel

    BURY THE TEA PARTY 2012

    October 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. AaronT3

    O U T S T A N D I N G!!! Mr. President 1000 times

    October 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Socrates

    Does anybody still believe this guy? I have lost all respect for Obama. I was one of the idiots who believed his speeches in 2008. What I wake up I have, to the point that every time I saw this guy on TV I change channel. I am having the same reaction I used to have with the last moron before him, I think his name is Bush. Can we believe the next one?

    October 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. WillH85

    Most of them will probably just get sent to Afghanistan. Moving troops from one pointless war to another in the middle east does not make you a good president, just good at fooling some people.

    October 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. GGOPA

    On Dec 2008, the Iraqi Parliament passed a US-backed security agreement and a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which calls for the removal of all US troops from Iraq by December 31, 2011. In reality, Obama is abiding by the SOFA agreement. Obama got a no to stay except keep the $700M embassy occupied. Let see if the muslim sunni and the shiite will live in peace or Iran will move to take over Iraq with the now majority of shiite under Iraq control. Time will tell. I am hoping our troops come home for the holidays and not be shoved to Africa or Afghannistan.

    October 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. 101TIMES

    Fianally a decision LONG overdue. We shouldn't have been there in the first place. GWB should be held responsible for this terrible decision. Finally we can use OUR resources being spent there ($$$$) in our country where its needed more than ever! Great decision Mr. President. Cheers!

    October 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. The Truth

    Can we all please look at this picture from BBC?

    http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/48794000/gif/_48794122_us_troops_iraq_624.gif

    Look at troop numbers since Obama's election. Don't even go there with this "Obama wanted to keep the troops in Iraq" BS. I saw someone earlier post that the president wanted to keep 50,000 troops there past Dec. 30...wait, what? Some of you guys are like the 'birthers' from a little while back – painstakingly attempting to cover up fact with your distorted fiction.

    I'm no Obamaphile – I haven't made my decision about who to support for 2012 yet. But don't insult your intellect, mine, and those of the readers around you by pretending your made up fantasies can be magically turned into facts.

    October 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Zeke In Iraq

      Um... Truth.... Yeah, we did want to keep troops here brother. I worked on the plan. And if the Iraqi's had agreed to immunity for our Soldiers we'd be talking about a different announcement today. Oh, and your chart graphic... yeah, that was the "execution" phase of the plan approved by President Bush and has been faithfully executed... so in summary, your statements are wrong and your assessment of the facts are wrong as well. Sorry man. Hey, that's normal in Iraq, so just chalk it up to experience.

      October 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. David

    You people giving Obama all this credit are disillusional. IN Iraq his entire strategy was to do what the Bush adminsitration did. Nothing else.
    In Libya he waited too long to act even though hillary, the french, the Brits, etc.. all wanted to act right away when the rebels had a stronghold. That debacle could have been over 3+ months ago had he acted quickly and decisively. Instead more people dies for another 3 months and now the radical sect of Islam has been gaining a stronghold in the rebellion forces.
    Afghanistan? He has ignored the generals and given them only 35% of what they want. You either go all in or get out. He has increased the troops there and has very little to show for it.

    I give him props on the Osama Bin Laden operation but make no mistake about it, the intel and people involved who actually succeeded in taking him out did so because of the policies in place from the Bush admin.

    I am not saying Bush deserves credit, and unlike Obama, he does not seek it nor does he blame others for something every other week.

    The successes were a combination of both administrations but all the heavy lifting and groundwork was done by the Bush administration with the very policies (interrogation techniques, gitmo, cell phone tapping of suspected foreign nationals calling the US, following money trails,e tc...) that Obama has decried and tried to shut down since his days on the campaign trail.

    1 more year and he will be a footnote in the history books as one of the 5 worst presidents we have ever elected.

    October 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Rich

    what negative comments can the racist tea baggers come up with now

    October 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bible Clown

      Here's a sample:"This is another one of Obama's tricks. Just like all you brazen liberals who were cynical about everything the great George W. Bush did despite facts, I too am cynical about what our current president is doing here. " The GREAT GEORGE W. BUSH? Are you fecken kiddin' me? The guy was completely dominated by his vice president. Imagine what you'd think if Obama hid in his office eating pretzels while Biden ran the country? He was either drunk or in a state of mental collapse through most of his administration.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JOE

    LESS GOVERNMENT doesn't create MORE jobs and LESS GOVERNMENT doesn't bring MORE of our troops home. NO, it takes MORE GOVERNMENT to get the job done. Thank you PRSEIDENT OBAMA!

    October 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bible Clown

      No, just a well-run government. Nothing wrong with cutting waste, which is coincidentally what we did with Gadhafi.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. patrick

    Whatever you say of Obama, he turns out to be a genius on foreign ploicy. He acheived more in 1 term than 3 president lined up

    October 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bible Clown

      Any athlete can tell you that you have to have the fire in your heart, you have to WANT to WIN. Obama wants the terrorists who attacked us to die. Cheney wanted them held in reserve so they could attack us again when his party needed a boost.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. illegalimmigrant

    Alright.

    October 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. 101TIMES

    All in all this is a great decision. We nned OUR money spent there to spent on OUR homeland where its needed most. Think about it thousands of possible jobs that can be created with the availability of these additional funds! great job Mr. President!

    October 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Illegal_Immigrant

    I'm happy for all the soldiers who are coming home! Whether it was President Obama or the Iraqis not wanting the American troops, Thank You. Now my 5 sons can come home and become citizens.

    October 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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