POSTED: Friday, October 21, 2011 - 6:13pm
UPDATED: Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 2:33pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — President Obama announced the end of the Iraq war; one of the longest and most divisive military conflicts in American history. All US forces will be withdrawn by the end of this year.
"Today I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays," President Obama said.
An emotional announcement, but expected from the president. President Bush agreed to a US pullout by 2012. Since 2003, the Pentagon says, the war has cost:
4469 US killed
32,213 US wounded
1146 US amputees
In Iraq, the last 39-thousand US forces are loading up, celebrating years of effort.
“They've got an operating democratic government of sorts,” Gen. Barry McCaffrey, US Army, said.
But civil war remains possible. Critics complain the pullout is premature.
“There is a perception around the world that the United States is weakening and withdrawing,” Sen. John McCain, Rep-Arizona, said.
President Obama would have left some troops in Iraq as trainers, and possible targets, but the Iraqis would not grant them legal immunity, so he pulled the whole force.
"The long war in Iraq will come to an end," President Obama said.
It's a popular move. Now, the president says, we can better focus on jobs.
"Because after a decade of war the nation we need to build and the nation that we will build is our own," he said. “A million Iraq war veterans have found: coming home can mean a struggle to find work.”
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