Finally adhering to one of his biggest campaign promises, President Barack Obama announced last Friday that all troops will be pulled out of Iraq by the end of 2011.
This decision came in accordance with the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq negotiated by the Bush administration in 2008.
Along with the war’s continuous decrease in popularity, Obama has been withdrawing scores of troops. However, a current estimate holds that there are still 41,000 of the 170,000 U.S. troops that were in Iraq in 2006. The president has promised to have them all home by December 31, 2011, to the great joy of soldiers, their families, and the many Americans who didn’t agree with the war in the first place.
“I’m on the fence about it. They did attack us, so I believe there should have been a war, but they shouldn’t have drawn it out as long as they did,” Jacob Overpeck said. “I’m absolutely excited that they’re finally getting out, I’ve already lost one friend to this war.”
The war has come at an incredible cost – more than 4,400 soldiers have been killed, and another 32,000 have been wounded. Those close to Obama’s advisers have let on that the administration, though always intent on ending the war, was trying to negotiate a continuing troop presence in Iraq. Because of these negotiations, there have been many public protests, both by American and Iraqi citizens. The Iraqi government remained in discord, as Shia groups and nationalists disapproved of a remaining U.S. military presence, including those only part of training operations or diplomatic posts.
Deliberation over the smallest number of remaining troops that could handle the assigned missions and still provide stability for the rebuilding nation ultimately proved futile. For reasons still unknown, both sides gave up trying to negotiate logistics, and Obama officially decided to cut the U.S.’s losses.
“After a decade of war, the nation that we need to build and the nation that we will build is our own,” Obama said.
It took extensive talks with Baghdad and a video conference with Iraq’s Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, over the U.S.’s planned troop withdrawal, for the President to announce his decision before the press.