When it comes to the U.S. presence in Iraq, there’s been a lingering question as to how many American servicemen and women would remain in the country in 2012. Even as U.S. combat troops returned home, there was an expectation among many that thousands of American servicemen and women would continue to serve in Iraq to assist the country with special operations and training.
That’s not going to happen. This afternoon, President Obama announced that all U.S. forces will be entirely out of Iraq by the end of this year.
In his remarks in the White House briefing room, the president noted that, as a candidate, he “pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.” It’s a commitment he’s been able to keep.
“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. 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. That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end… Today I can say that troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.”
Perhaps realizing what’s on the minds of American voters, the president added he intends to “enlist our veterans in the greatest challenge that we face as a nation: creating opportunity and jobs in this country. After a decade of war, the nation that we need to build — and the nation that we will build, is our own. An America that sees its economic strength restored, just as we restored our leadership around the world.”
It looks another check mark on the president’s “promises made, promises kept” list.