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. ghost

    Well, I never thought Id say this but, I think Obama will be our president for the next four years. Not that I really even like Obama, but I would just about bet he will take it by a landslide. First of all, none of these new candidates are worth voting for. Im republican and my vote may be going with Obama just out of default. He really hasn't been that bad of a president. People focus on the negative, but in reality, Obama has done a lot of things to help us.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cosmos42

      Thank you for your honesty.

      October 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThinkLessDoMore

      I'm in the middle but lean to the left myself and I agree with your logic.

      October 21, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel NYC

      BRAVO!!

      October 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotDemocratbutgreatjob

      Though I'm not a Demi head, I gotta admit, this guy has worked pretty hard. I we would compromise more and we could get jobs done like this. Its time for a pat on the back fella.

      October 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • NOYB

      You're not really a Republican and you're very transparent.

      October 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • TJ

      Ghost, Thanks for your honesty. I'm neither Republican or Democratic but your statement at least shows there are some people that can see good in a man that's striving to do the right thing.

      October 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • 00hillbilly

      Obama again did not do a thing to end Iraq war they told us to leave 2 months ago! but he did start 3 more small in Africa try reading the news some time like the rest of us.

      October 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • JDAles

      Bravo!

      October 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Avatar

    on balance was the war worth it? this is a hard call.... yes we have a democratic government in place which will like result in more stable access to oil at generally better prices in the long run (which could ultimately repay cost of war in savings to the american consumer at the pump). But on the downside, we have emboldened iran. Iran now have a strength and influence they could not have gained had U.S. not defeated their arch enemy saddam. Iran could offset savings in oil prices by blocking the gulf and causing spikes. their nuclear ambitions now threaten saudi arabia, etc which adds uncertainty to oil prices. they also are an increased threat to israel. so on balance, it is not clear the iraq war will be a net gain...history will decide.

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

    Great. Thank you President Obama for a job well done!

    October 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patty Biller

      Thank you, Obama! Finally!

      October 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • m&m

      just in time for the election, this is pandering with a capital P

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

    Obama is getting things done. Period.

    He had to come in and clean up the Bush administration's HUGE mess and he is doing the best he can with the Republicans fighting him every step of the way. Vote every last one of the Republicans OUT of office.

    Obama in 2012.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      You like him solely because he's black. Don't lie.

      October 21, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mentallect

    Bush started a war based on lies, and Obama finally finished the debaucle. Curiously, most of the morons supporting the war changed their minds, but too late. 4,400 service members lost their lives so Bush could get revenge on Saddam for the attempted assassination of Bush Sr. No wonder conservatives hate education, they want voters too stupid to see the obvious. Every American should thank Obama who killed Bin Laden, and heralded the Arab Spring. Even Iran is trembling now that our attention has turned to Syria. Thank you Obama. I wish I was still in Uniform when you became POTUS.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nick CA

    Regardless of the politics.. our sons and daughter, dads and moms, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas can come home to their loved ones!!! Its a great day!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ronald Hussein Reagan

    It's National Schadenfruede week for all Obama supporters (and National Mutter Into Your Cups week for Tea Partiers.)

    October 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cf

    Barack Obama: Cleaning up Republicans' messes since 2008.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. that guy

    Don't worry, I'm sure there'll be plenty of "contractors" attached to the embassy and other "strategically important facilities" there, costing twice as much per person. So much for the peace dividend.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dave Freed

    Nine years too late, but am happy to see troops come home!

    October 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. GG

    Glad to see our troops coming home. God Bless those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. And to those returning – welcome home. Too bad they are coming home to a country hardly recognizable. The Socialist movement on Wall Street, the failing economy, massive debt. Depressing. Any one but Obama 2012!

    October 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      stopped reading after God Bless.....already knew where you were going with the rest

      October 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ed

    I am extremely pleased that our troops are coming home. The cynic inside of me starts thinking. The 2012 election is coming up fast and this could be another notch on Obama's belt on what was accomplished during his presidency. By no means I am 100% certain that he is doing this for re-election purposes, but the coincidences are there. Any thoughts????

    October 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • GG

      Ofcourse he is. His ratings are in a free fall. He can't even get his own chopped up bills passed in a Democrat controlled Senate. Obama is a epic failure. inexperience on parade.

      October 21, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick CA

      Regardless of the politics.. this is a good thing. I certainly do agree with the timing of this thing being political, but our brave troops deserve to see their loved ones no matter what. What else do we fight for but our families. Our families deserve this!!!

      October 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Frank A NYC

    Finally. It's time for Iraq to sink or swim on it's own.

    October 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. please

    He is doing this just to get re-elected. He should have done it more than 2 years ago. And people don't see this!!!

    October 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank A NYC

      I'm not an Obama fan but when your Generals are telling you it is not the right time it's hard to argue. Very few soldiers like war, despite what some liberals think.

      October 21, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Marcellus

    This is good news. Despite what everyone else says, 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 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • GG

      Outstanding post!

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