Peace out, Iraq

The war in Iraq is over and the President promises us that all American troops will be home for Christmas.

That’s a huge statement — and a great one to hear. Though I do worry about the stability and security in Iraq after we leave, I think it was the right call on President Obama’s part. The Iraqi government wasn’t willing to work with us on the Status of Forces Agreement and Iraq’s position would have left American troops subject to prosecution under Iraqi laws — which is completely unacceptable. So, just like that, we’re done.

Peace out, Iraq — literally.

Americans, for the most part, couldn’t be happier about it. It’s been a long, unpopular war that has claimed too many American and Iraqi lives and destroyed even more bodies and families. I, for one, am very glad for the end to be so soon in sight. But would it have killed President Obama to make some sort of statement of victory? I can understand him wanting to avoid saying “Mission Accomplished”, but with Saddam dead and his regime destroyed, our mission there was accomplished. Can’t we just say, “we won”?

News stories say that, though American troops will be out of Iraq, 4,000-5,000 military contractors will be there to provide security to diplomats, on top of the troops who will have to stay to guard the embassy an such sites and personnel. Four thousand to 5,000 — Kind of makes you wonder how many people we’ll have there that need guarding. That sounds more like a quasi-military presence to me than a security force…

Here is the official letter from the President regarding the end of the war:

The White House, Washington
Good morning,

I’m writing to tell you that all US troops will return home from Iraq by the end of December. After nearly nine years, the American war in Iraq will end. Our servicemen and women will be with their families for the holidays.

The war in Iraq came with tremendous cost. More than a million Americans served in Iraq, and nearly 4,500 gave their lives in service to the rest of us. Today, as always, we honor these patriots.

When I came into office, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end. As Commander in Chief, I ended our combat mission last year and pledged to keep our commitment to remove all our troops by the end of 2011. To date, we’ve removed more than 100,000 troops from Iraq.

This is a significant moment in our history. For more information, including video, please visit

The end of the war in Iraq reflects a larger trend. The wars of the past decade are drawing to a close.

As we have removed troops from Iraq, we have refocused our fight against al Qaeda and secured major victories in taking out its leadership–including Osama bin Laden. And we’ve begun a transition in Afghanistan.

On the first day of my Administration, roughly 180,000 troops were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. By the end of this year that number will be cut in half, and we’ll continue to draw it down.

As we welcome home our newest veterans, we’ll enlist their talents in meeting our greatest challenges as a nation—restoring our economic strength at home. Because after a decade of war, the nation that we need to build is our own.

Today the United States moves forward, from a position of strength.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama