Friday, October 21, 2011

President Obama: All U.S. troops to leave Iraq by the end of the year

From The New York Times' "U.S. Troops to Leave Iraq by Year’s End, Obama Says:"
WASHINGTON — President Obama said Friday that the last American soldier would leave Iraq by the end of the year, bringing to an end a nearly nine-year military engagement that cost the lives of 4,400 troops and more than $1 trillion, divided the American public, and came to define America’s role in the world.

Mr. Obama said that as of Jan. 1, 2012, the United States and Iraq would begin “a normal relationship between two sovereign nations, and equal partnership based on mutual interest and mutual respect.”

In a videoconference on Friday morning with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Mr. Obama told him of the administration’s decision, which grows out of an inability of the United States and Iraq to come to an agreement on leaving a few thousand military trainers in the country.

The United States had earlier agreed to exit Iraq by the end of the year and leave 3,000 to 5,000 troops in Iraq as trainers with some members of Congress advocating for a remaining force well. But after Iraq’s Parliament refused an American demand to give soldiers immunity from legal prosecution, the Pentagon changed in plans in recent weeks, scaling back even that meager number. ...
There are about 40,000 U.S. non-combat U.S. troops in Iraq now. The 3,000 to 5,000 troops that might have remained as trainers could be replaced by contractors willing to operate under Iraqi law. We shall see.

The war in Iraq was financed off-budget: "The Bush administration has chosen to finance the war by off-budget emergency supplemental appropriations, rather than include Iraq spending in the budget sent to Congress." In 2009, early in his administration, President Obama announced that the financial ruse set-up by the Republican administration of George Bush would no longer continue; see "Obama: No More War Spending Tricks."

Here is a CBS News video of the announcement, found here, where the 40,000 non-combat troop count was obtained. I believe that there are no U.S. combat troops in Iraq at this time.

Next year, Afghanistan! Germany! Japan! Korea! Where there are about 90,000, 50,000, 35,000 and 28,000 troops, respectively.

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