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.

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soundoff (1,032 Responses)
  1. Logic Over Emotion

    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 Iraq war is far from over, just three weeks ago there was a major attack on the U.S. Embassy. This is all a political move for Obama. He is doing this so he can say well look what I did, I killed Osama and brought our troops home. I want our troops home just as much as the next guy, but to bring them home just so one person can look good for the cameras.

    This is a disservice to the safety of all Americans. We need to make sure Iraq is safe and secure before we just up and leave. I am not confident that this decision was based on sound military judgment, bur rather a key political move.

    October 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bible Clown

      Very emotional and weepy post. I feel your pain. Where's the logic?

      October 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnny57

      Our distinguished president, Mr. Barack Obama, would probably not be bringing the troops this early but the Iraq government will not grant them immunity. I don't think you are very well informed on the issues here.

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

    Savor the homecoming, folks. Because the real victor in this is Iran. And – in case you hadn't noticed – they don't like us. In fact, that's where most of the sophisticated IED's, etc come from that have been killing our soldiers. As we celebrate the homecoming of our troops, rest assured that they are also celebrating in the halls of government in Tehran.
    By the rules of war, the first off the battlefield is the loser, the last is the winner. Even tho we leave because of a legal issue such as immunity for our troops. To make matters worst, Iraq is clearly not capable or willing to secure itself.
    But not having US troop immunity is a game-breaker, especially since war involves killing people – sometimes the wrong people. So we have no choice but to leave. It's short-term gratification, and a long-term lost cause if Iraq doesn't get its act together. When Iraq and Iran become more than friends, we'll really see what trouble looks like.
    Let's hope that the trip home is not the first leg of a round-trip ticket which would be even more costly later We may be giving our enemies another safe-haven country from which to attack us again. Such are the imperatives of politics.
    Welcome home, guys! But unfortunately, keep a small bag packed. That neighborhood could heat up again.

    October 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hasselhoff

      Obama won't invade Iran, Perry or Romney will i guarantee it. Judging by that debate they all hate Iran. And said they must stop them from building the bomb. A war with Iran will be WW3. We don't need to go there.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rich

    our president shows how much more he has upstairs than W or Cheney and for sure Cain & Perry.....The GOP wants education cut so they can widen their BASE!.......

    October 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. The Dude

    I'm not going to give anyone credit for this... the @hole Bush got us into the war, however the current POS (no I didn't abbreviate) did not negotiate this deal either...

    October 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnFromJersey

      Who cares if this deal was not negotiated by Obama? He could have fought to extend the terms, but didnt. Have you stopped to think of why? Perhaps because he never wanted those troops there to begin with. Would you pull out all the stops to fight for an end result that you dont even want? I dont think so

      October 21, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Hasselhoff

    Of course Republicans are gonna cry it's just for re elction, he's pulling them out too early(that's what she said), blah blah blah, get over it , it's done, one of the best things Obama has done and Yes I will vote for him again. If it's an election ploy it works for me!!!

    October 21, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hasselhoff

    There will always be wars no matter who's president. get over it.

    October 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. KrissyNTX

    This is fantastic news. So sad about all of the negative comments from both sides. Our troops are coming home, people trying to be negative or call each other names right now should be ashamed of themselves. Praise the LORD these troops are coming home to their families.

    ~~~~PROUD Tea Party Libertarian voting for ANY GOP candidate b/c I believe less government is the way~~~~~

    October 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Hasselhoff

    Anyone who thinks this is a bad thing needs to be on serious medication.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bible Clown

      There isn't enough medicine to medicate the staff of FAUX NEWS.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LL72

    But will we still have a heavy presence in Kuwait? True, it's nothing like Iraq or Afghanistan, but it would still require sending troops away for extended periods in the Middle East.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tao

    Obama killed Bin Laden. As was pointed out, Bush may not have ordered the raid because of his awful ties with Pakistan. Remember Obama killed has least as many if not more terrorists than Bush and Obama was willing to go over borders much more than Bush. Bush might have asked for Pakistani cooperation, and they would have tipped off Bin laden. How do you think he was hiding there for so long? Obama strategy regarding Libya was also correct.
    He is a great President and the conservatives can’t stand it. For all you detractors, why don’t you spend your time getting YOUR party to actually do something, instead of ragging on Obama whenever he does something.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      So you are for breaking international laws, violating rules of engagement. I suggest you look up the dangers of the drone wars, given that is what Obama loves to do.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bible Clown

      They are hoping to make him look bad somehow and gain votes that way. Silly traitors, it isn't working. Turn away from the Dark Side and come back to the light. You know, like Vader in the last part of RETURN OF THE JEDI. Help us fix the economy and we will remember when your case comes up again.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tao

      Sharky-President Obama has done a great job keeping us safe and getting the bad guys. You should be more concerned about the illegal war Obama is ending and why we were there in the first place.

      October 21, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JimMNH

    10/21/2011 – It is not comforting to see the world continue on as if nothing significant has happened. A 2 year old girl died .. not from war, disease, or some other tragic event but from intentional disregard for an innocent human life. The world should observe two full days of mourning for this terrible tragedy. If we do not pause at this moment we have failed as a species .. and I do not say that lightly. This is one of the coldest horrifying scenes involving an innocent life I have ever seen in 40 years of living. What a horrific set of events for this 2 year old Chinese child, Wang Yue ("YueYue"), to endure. Run over and left to die, arms reaching out looking for comfort, no one stopping, passing coldly, left alone, bleeding and crying on the cold dark street. May God take her to a better place .. please.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JOE

    This is the only modern democracy in the world where one side of the government and almost half of the country wish each and every day to see the president and the country fail simply because of the ethnicity of the president. You won't see that kinds of behavior in England, or France or Germany or in any other modern democracy today. Let's face it, President Obama is not just the President of the left but he's also the President of the right too and the President of conservatiives and liberals alike. I personally believe that it is time you rightwingers and teabagers stop spreading your hate and bigotry and try to come together so we can show the world that we are still the greatest country in the world. Is that so hard for you people to do?

    October 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Race Card Expired!!!!!!

      Obama's destruction of the US is why people do not like him. Enough with the racial BS. Bringing in the race card is the ONLY thing you have left in any argument or defense of Obama. Bravo.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • reason

      But it is ok that everyone bashes Bush and continues to blame him for everything that has gone wrong with the world??? So that is ok, but when people complain about Obama it is racist?????? Whatever!

      October 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnFromJersey

      sharky and reason – Please. Wake up. It was only a year ago where one third of this country didnt even believe he was a US citizen. When was the last time a white president had to deal with that? Even more believed he was a Muslim. Based on what exactly?? The color of his skin seems to be the most logical reason and given the sad state of affairs in this country today it's the most accurate answer. So you are wrong, the race card in Obama's case has certainly not expired. Dislike him for his policies all you want, but dont delude yourself into believe racism is dead in this country

      October 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • skytag

      "This is the only modern democracy in the world where one side of the government and almost half of the country wish each and every day to see the president and the country fail simply because of the ethnicity of the president."

      This isn't quite what's happening. I despise the behavior of those on the right, but race is not a major issue directly. Being a black Democrat, though, probably makes it easier for the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to brainwash people on the right into believing all manner of nonsense about him that characterizes him as evil incarnate.

      October 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. skytag

    This is off topic, but this article reminds me of something that occurred to me a while back. There are a lot of Americans who see Islam as evil, all Muslims as hating us, blah blah blah. Interestingly, none of them ever seem to be troops who have served in Muslim countries. I asked my son, who served two tours in Iraq about this and he doesn't have any problems with Muslims. I think that's interesting.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • LL72

      That's because they can put an individual face to people. Humans, as individuals, are pretty nice. Humans in groups can be real jerks.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bible Clown

      Most people who have weird ideas about black people have never met one. You know, a lot of them DO like fried chicken. I like it myself. The worst bigots seem to be from places that don't have many minorities.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banditcdr

    The current Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed by the US (Bush Administration) and Iraq stated that US forces would be out of Iraq at the request of the Iraqis or the expiration of the SOFA (Dec 31, 2011). The US (Obama Administration) and Iraqis were negotiating a new SOFA that would have extended the stay of US forces in Iraq; the breakdown was that the Iraqis would not allow "immunity from prosecution" for US forces, a showstopper for the US. If Pres. Obama had really wanted to pull the troops out, he would have NOT been negotiating a new SOFA, he would have just said, "We're done and leaving by 31 December" six months ago, not two months prior to the current SOFA expiring! To say that he is ending the war is a half-truth; he was negotiating to extend our stay, not end it. Again, a political spin by his team on not being able come to terms on a new SOFA. For him to be completely honest, he should have said that he would not allow US forces to stay in a country where they were not immune to prosecution and so he is pulling our forces out of Iraq. BTW...don't think that all those troops will be coming home; there will be a healthy presence in Kuwait in case they are needed back in Iraq...

    October 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Steve851

    Cheryl and Cow, please try and educate yourselves to what is fact. Sara, I agree with you 100 percent.

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