Washington, D.C. – Today, the Center for American Progress released the following statement on President Obama’s announcement of the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq by the end of 2011:
President Barack Obama’s announcement that the last remaining U.S. troops in Iraq will return home by the end of the year marks the end of the long and difficult war. We congratulate the brave men and women of the United States military for their incredible sacrifice and endurance in service to their country.
This day marks the fulfillment of a commitment made by President Obama to end the war in Iraq responsibly. He has kept his word to the American and Iraqi people, and we thank him for keeping his pledge.
The decision to invade Iraq will be debated for decades. Despite the immense cost in American lives, the drain on our financial resources, and the lessons of the intervening period, many supporters of the original invasion are demanding that U.S. troops stay in Iraq indefinitely.
Yet President Obama’s decision follows through on an agreement first reached with the Iraqi government by former President George W. Bush in 2008. And it is well past time to put future security of Iraq where it belongs: in the hands of the Iraqis themselves.
The United States will continue to offer its support to Iraq throughout its political and security transition. Even without troops on the ground, the United States will have its largest diplomatic presence in the world, and the State Department will remain heavily involved in programs to train Iraqi security forces.
This withdrawal of all U.S. military forces from Iraq clearly represents what the people of both the United States and Iraq want. Americans want their troops to come home, and Iraqis want to take more control over their own security and their own lives. President Obama is right to finally bring an end to this war.
More than 4,700 Americans lost their lives in the fighting, and tens of thousands more were wounded and will bear the physical and psychological scars of the war for the rest of their lives. We honor their courage, commemorate their loss, and pledge the enduring commitment of the United States to ensure their needs and the needs of their families are met.
The Iraq War is finally over.
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