This week marks the ninth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war. Americans should pause to remember and honor the hundreds of thousands of brave men and women who served there, especially the 4,486 who died in the service of our country. Their service and sacrifices deserve recognition, no matter the controversies that continue to trouble the nation over the rationale, execution, and consequences of the war.
President Barack Obama came to office on a pledge to end the Iraq war, and his administration fulfilled that pledge—U.S. troops left the country last year rather than staying with an open-ended commitment that many had proposed. The redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq from 2008 to 2011 strengthened overall U.S. national security in five key ways:
- Dedicated more resources to fight the Al Qaeda network
- Restored U.S. military readiness
- Expanded options to deal with other Middle East threats, including Iran and its nuclear program
- Reduced the financial burden of the United States caused by war
- Rebalanced overall U.S. national security strategy to deal with the real threats to our nation