President Obama Announces Total Iraq Troop Withdrawal; CT’s Senator Blumenthal Calls the Announcement Welcome News

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President Barack Obama on Friday declared an end to the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all American troops would be withdrawn from the country by year’s end.


Obama’s statement put an end to months of wrangling over whether the U.S. would maintain a force in Iraq beyond 2011. He never mentioned the tense and ultimately fruitless negotiations with Iraq over whether to keep several thousand U.S. forces there as a training force and a hedge against meddling from Iran or other outside forces.

Instead, Obama spoke of a promise kept, a new day for a self-reliant Iraq and a focus on building up the economy at home.

“I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year,” Obama said. “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.”

“Over the next two months our troops in Iraq, tens of thousands of them, will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home,” Obama continued. “The last American soldier will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops.”

Obama spoke after a private video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and he offered assurances that the two leaders agreed on the decision.

“The President’s announcement of withdrawal from Iraq by year’s end is welcome news for our service members and their families. I look forward to welcoming home our National Guard and other troops in the coming months as they return home for the holidays,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in a recent statement.

Blumenthal continued, “The men and women who served in Iraq have the thanks of a grateful nation and we must recommit to the important challenge of providing support to our returning veterans who have fought bravely to defend our freedom. There is no greater sacrifice than the one made by our service members and their families and just as they have been there for us, we must provide them with the training, education, and health care they need to transition back to civilian life.”

The U.S. military presence in Iraq stands at just under 40,000. All U.S. troops are to exit the country in accordance with a deal struck between the countries in 2008 when George W. Bush was president.

Obama, an opponent of the war from the start, took office and accelerated the end of the conflict. In August 2010, he declared the U.S. combat mission over.

More than 4,400 American military members have been killed since the U.S. and its allies invaded Iraq in March 2003.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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Posted by admin on Oct 21 2011. Filed under Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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