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. 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 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. 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~~~~~

    Of course this comment is not stirring up hate and drama so it will be ignored!

    October 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bassmaster22

    All aboard the crazy train! Nothing brings out the crazy like our fairly inadequate "democratic" system and talk about the magic man in the sky. These forums would dry up if we didn't have those two things to link every,single, last story to.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nate Taylor

    As with all presidents, it is impossible to judge them until long after they are out of office. Only time will tell, he wasn't the best, and he wasn't the worst. Hell, I didn't vote for him but I'm willing to give him his due process.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Pete/Ark

    My father was a veteran of WWII&Korea,I served a combat tour in VietNam,my onlly child did a year in Iraq. I can only hope that this President can also get us out of Afganistan before her scheduled deployment to THAT quagmire next spring. We have proven over and over that almost any mission can succeed WITHOUT longterm troop commitment; 10+ years is a tragic waste of American lives and capital.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate Taylor

      I bet if politicians children had the commitment to country that Pete/Ark have then we wouldn't be in wars for 10+ years.

      October 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Charlie

    1. Obama killed No One
    2. The plan for this withdrawal was made by Bush, Obama is just carrying out the plan.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnny57

      Bush got us into this war and substantiated it on Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The WMDs were never found. We lost 4500 soldiers in this battler over a lie. Bush does not deserve any credit at all for this. He sold this war to the American people on a lie. Then there was that nasty business with Valerie Plame. Bush and Cheney deserve all the credit for getting us into this war, I will say that much.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • skytag

      You didn't do this, but I find it interesting when Obama's detractors claim Obama didn't do anything to get bin Laden and give Bush credit for his death, but when it comes to the economy a very different set of rules are applied. In that case Bush hasn't been president for years and Obama is solely responsible for it. Aren't double standards interesting?

      October 21, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Marcellus

    This may not be the general feeling, but I think that his is good news. I think that the war in Iraq was a great success. First the threat from Sadam Hussein was defeated. Secondly, the war in Iraq served as a magnet that attracted all the jihadis that had fled Afghanistan. There Al-Qaeda was defeated on the battlefield, but most importantly ideologically. After 9-11 there were many people in the middle east naming their kids Osama, and there was great support for al-qaeda. After witnessing what that ideology and the atrocities that they committed not only against westerners, but mainly on the other muslims, most people were turned off. There is very little support for al-qaeda now. On the other hand many people witnessed the purple ink-stained finger of those Iraqi's that faced the threats yet still voted for their future. Although it was not easy, people in the middle east realized that they would rather fight for their own version of democracy rather than the islamic fantasy that al-qaeda offered, and thus gave birth to the Arab spring. They decided that they did not want democracy to come to them via the west, but that they could achieve it themselves.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete/Ark

      Great plot for a made-for-TV movie on Hallmark channel...won't wash on History...

      October 21, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MrJs1G

    And cue the Bush / Rumsfeld / Cheney bashing.

    It's pathetic to see the arguments made in opposition to this war. There are legitimate grievances and concerns, definitely, but unfortunately, these are nowhere to be seen in the asinine tripe spouted by those who opposed going to war because... well, war.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnny57

      I was sort of for the war going into it based on the false pretext of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The WMDs were just a lie however, and the war was not justified in retrospect.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete/Ark

      The vast majority who designed and authorized this exercise STILL have no experience in war...going in or coming out they still don't get it...same for those spectators who have "no skin in the game".

      October 21, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Josh

    What about the private military? Will they be removed?

    October 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete/Ark

      No. Still gonna be there earning 4x-6x what our troops are paid...NOW they're gonna have to decide if the $$$$$$ are worth the risk without backup...nobody forced them to go...nobody is making them stay.

      October 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. the_dude

    It's amazing how gung ho you flea baggers are. When bush was president you were a bunch of wet noodles now all of the sudden you are blood thirsty terrorists.

    October 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dave

    from canada: Thank the Lord. the ,long overdue, by finally pulling out of Iraq the USA dodged the depression bullet ..for now. the best is yet to come, the stock market should rally huge.

    October 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Perry

    Really? Why does everybody have to say that Obama is such a better president than Bush and that Republicans are ignorant idiots? -_- Can't we just be happy that so many peoples loved ones will be back home soon? Ohyeah, and as Sharky said "Um this was Bush's deal to bring the troops home at this time period. You are giving Obama credit for something Bush set up with Iraq." So please stop with the insults and just be happy? Please? Thanks! 🙂

    October 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big_D

      Focus on hating the GOP for not catching any terrorists and killing any jobs that could be created.

      October 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. _______

    hell no, stay in there finish the job and put them in hell

    October 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Big_D

    The GOP should be happy that they are airing this instead of the GOP killing the JOBS bill. The GOP can't win a war, end a war, catch a terrorist, or create a job. It makes me wonder how much better the domestic situation would be if the GOP couldn't have filibustered everything.

    October 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Big Game James

    Romney sticks to the republican playbook. Just say or do the opposite of what Obama does or says.Bottom line Obama may go down as one of the best foreign policy presidents in U.S.history. He may have trouble with the economy but nobody has been able to do anything about that on either side. Four more years for the POTUS. Repubs have nobody.

    October 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
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