Last US combat troops leave Iraq

August 19th, 2010 by Staff

Source: The Guardian — The last US combat troops have left Iraq, seven-and-a-half years after the US-led invasion, and two weeks ahead of President Obama’s 31 August deadline for withdrawal from the country.

The final troops to leave, 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, rolled in convoy across the border and into Kuwait this morning, officially ending combat operations which began in March 2003.

Former president George W Bush launched the US-led invasion, which saw the toppling of Saddam Hussein, but the war became increasingly unpopular against a backdrop of heavy civilian and troop casualties and arguments over the legality of the conflict.

The Obama administration had pledged to withdraw troops to 50,000 by 31 August. CNN reported that according to the US military there are now 56,000 US troops in Iraq, meaning another 6,000 must leave if the US president is to meet his own deadline.

Those remaining beyond the end of the month will be tasked with training Iraqi armed forces and police units.

“Over the last 18 months, over 90,000 US troops have left Iraq,” the president said in an emailed statement published by the Huffington Post.

“By the end of this month, 50,000 troops will be serving in Iraq. As Iraqi security forces take responsibility for securing their country, our troops will move to an advise-and-assist role.

“And, consistent with our agreement with the Iraqi government, all of our troops will be out of Iraq by the end of next year.

“Meanwhile, we will continue to build a strong partnership with the Iraqi people with an increased civilian commitment and diplomatic effort.”

NBC News video showed the last Stryker vehicles carrying the troops rolling through the border gate into Kuwait, officially ending US combat presence in Iraq.

PJ Crowley, a spokesman for the US department of state, said that despite the departure being “an historic moment”, the US mission in Iraq continued.

“We are ending the war … but we are not ending our work in Iraq,” he said.

“We have a long-term commitment to Iraq.”

The New York Times reported this morning that a “remarkable civilian effort” would be required to fill the void left by the withdrawal, and suggested the number of private security guards could double in the country over the next 18 months.

It said the department of state would assume responsibility for training Iraqi police by October of next year.

“I don’t think state has ever operated on its own, independent of the US military, in an environment that is quite as threatening on such a large scale,” James Dobbins – a former ambassador to Afghanistan, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo and Somalia – told the paper. “It is unprecedented in scale.”

NBC News reported that the last soldiers to reach Kuwait were proud of the collective effort in Iraq.

“We are done with operations,” Lt Steven DeWitt of San Jose, California, told the website as his vehicle reached Khabari Crossing on the border.

“This was a professional soldier’s job,” he said, describing “a war that has defined this generation of military men and women.”

“And today it’s over,” he added.

2 Responses

  1. pat

    Wow Mission Accomplished-5000 plus dead Americans due to the
    CIA lie about Weapons of Mass Destruction and now that we are leaving and Dick Cheney is 2 billion dollars richer.And
    now the raghead Muslins can go back to killing themselves like they have been doing for 3000 yrs.At least we didn’t lose 58.235 over another Texan president’s CIA lie the Gulf of Tonkin.George Washington said in his farewell address to
    Congress “we should keep out of other countries business”
    and the next 43 presidents failed to listen.When the next
    presidential election rolls around let’s write in George’sname

  2. tom

    before you say the CIA lied you should get you facks straight. the head weapons maker in his trial said he was sending reports to sadam the he was building them but never did. Because he knew the US would invade. also just to let you know i did 2 tours in that hell hole. the invasion, and also the clearing of faluja. i lost alot of good friends

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