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. Chip

    Only three years too late (based on his promises) and just in time for campaign season. What a crock. At least no more American lives will be wasted for people who are incapable of living in a democracy.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe the patriot

      so true, chip, a republican president would never have started such a stupid war. damn liberals wasting money and lives again

      October 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. George

    Goodbye cruel world. Let's see how well the Iraqi people can do without the babysitter around.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kavya

    I am eagerly waiting for Repub's response . Bring it on ... where do we start.. Sarah Palin.. oh wait. she may be trying to locate Iraq in the world map. Don't searh in your front yard Sarah..

    October 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe the patriot

      republicans arent stupid enough to invade iraq in the first place. only libtards do that

      October 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Amy

    this war should never happened in the first place...but thank you for cleaning yet another mess left by republicans.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. fast

    Pres Obama : A+ grade on Foreign affairs, F grade on economy.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brown eye

    40000 more unemployed

    October 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. wakenshake

    We can argue about politics, but I know every single one of us is happy to have our soldiers home this Christmas. That is the most important part. Be happy for the families who have been ripped apart by these 9 years and the fact that they can finally mend what has been lost in time. Thank you, President Obama

    October 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bill Hockstedler

    I am thankful for the return of US troops and the fact that all but a handful of troops associated with the US Embassey wil be out of Iraq. Much success to the Iraq people. Perhaps this will help the US economy recover as we prepare for the next war. Let there be no haters out there, its just a matter of time. Nobody likes war its just a fact that there will be another war, lets just hope its not on American soil.....

    October 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. michaelfury

    Will they clean up all the depleted uranium before they leave?

    http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/circle-ix/

    October 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. No Tea for Me Please

    President Obama is working for the common man, which includes our proud troops. His jobs bill would remove the exemption the GOP gave the "job creators" so they wouldn't have to hire American workers with outrageous Bush tax cuts.

    But the GOP doesn't want to keep American jobs in America.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. northernCA

    I'm not surprised that the 150 to remain are the (Bush/Cheney/Republican) arms dealers.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. joe the patriot

    way to go obama. first you waste a trillion tax dollars by invading iraq and then you it takes you 10 years to finish the war you shouldn't have started in the first place. in the meanwhile savvy republicans spend one tenth of one percent to take out qadaffi and osama. yes yes go republicans, no more obama the incompetent traitor.

    oh wait was it the other way around. nah i'm sure i got it right. no liberal could ever succeed in anything because he is liberal. liberals are murdering my country. go go republicans.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • jesor

      LOL....I almost didn't read the last part, nice post

      October 21, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Hamilton

      "Like"

      October 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      Joe the patriot...you made my day

      October 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jai

      Sarcasm ... LOL ... Love it.

      October 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lara Gourdman

    While I'm happy for the families who have loved ones abroad....this is a political ploy. It's another way of saying, "I'm in trouble for reelection next year and this will hopefully sway any skeptical democrats back in my direction."

    October 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brandon

      You are absolutely correct Lara! Everyone knows that you can pull 40,000 troops out of Iraq overnight! It's a little more than a political ploy. Were in America, vote the way you want, but it's only a matter of time before your relative gets called into an illegal war by another W .

      October 21, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. xyz198155

    Good call Mr Obama... That is good news.... Hope US does not send troops elsewhere for a long while to come.... And lets hope US economy picks up after this, as this war has been a drain on US money and resources.....

    October 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Come On

    Put them along the Mexican border......

    October 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
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