No words, no ceremony can provide full tribute for the sacrifices that have brought this day to pass.Defense Secretary Leon Panetta • U.S. Officially Ends Iraq War (via nationaljournal)
A war is ending. A new day is upon us. And let us never forget those who gave us this chance: the untold number of Iraqis who’ve given their lives; more than 1 million Americans, military and civilian, who have served in Iraq; nearly 4,500 fallen Americans who gave their last full measure of devotion; tens of thousands of wounded warriors and so many inspiring military families. They are the reason that we can stand here today. And we owe it to every single one of them, we have a moral obligation to all of them to build a future worthy of their sacrifice.President Obama • In remarks to the press pool, joined by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Obama has pledged that U.S. forces will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the year, saying in October that “our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.” The U.S. presence in Iraq is not, however, going away completely — while some 8,000 active duty military personnel are returning home, along with nearly 5,000 private military contractors, the U.S. embassy in Iraq still boasts a personnel staff of 15,000, making it the largest U.S. embassy in the world. Obama has said he intends to cut that number substantially, but that given Iraq’s situation immediately following the war, the embassy’s security staff will by necessity remain higher than most. source (via • follow)
Nothing has changed with the withdrawal of the American forces from Iraq on the security level because basically it has been in our hands.Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki • Emphasizing that the country can handle the forthcoming departure of U.S. troops, as an eight-year war dies down. Al-Maliki says he has “no concerns whatsoever” about the ability of his troops to maintain security in the region, and says the sectarian violence that broke out immediately in the wake of the downfall of the Saddam Hussein government is a thing of the past. “I assure the world that the Iraqi forces and the general situation in the country hasn’t changed and will not change,” he emphasizes. source (via • follow)
As promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.Barack Obama • Discussing his decision to completely end the war in Iraq, a war that has cost the U.S. more than $800 billion dollars and led to the death of thousands of servicemen and thousands more Iraqis. (Combat troops left last year, but thousands of support troops stayed behind.) While Obama had considered leaving a handful of troops in the country to help the Iraqis, the debate ends with this definitive statement. What do you all think? Did it take too long to make an exit? Or did we do it at the right pace?
» Going on a diet: With over half a million soldiers, the U.S. Army isn’t lacking in warm bodies, but those numbers went way up in recent years, in part due to the troop surge in Afghanistan. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, the Army is ready to move on. “We feel that with the demand going down in Iraq and Afghanistan, and given the time to conduct a reasonable drawdown, we can manage (the force reduction) just as we have managed drawdowns in the past,” noted Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick. Is this nearly enough?