Online Staff Report
President Barack Obama pledged Oct. 21 to bring all U.S. troops home from Iraq by the end of the year, declaring an end to the more than eight-year war in Iraq.
“As promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year,” Obama said in a White House briefing Oct. 21, following a private video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.
“Today, I can say that troops in Iraq will be home for the holidays,” Obama added.
The war in Iraq began March 20, 2003, after the U.S. and United Kingdom asserted Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. No evidence of weapons of mass destruction has been found since the war began. The war is among the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history.
U.S. casualties in the war have totaled 4,476, with 32,102 wounded. Brown University’s Costs of War project estimated the total for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan is at least $3.2-$4 trillion. The report said the Department of Defense’s direct spending on Iraq totaled at least $757.8 billion. It also included complementary costs at home, such as interest paid on the funds borrowed to finance the wars and a potential nearly $1 trillion in extra spending to care for veterans returning from combat through 2050.
Obama said the U.S. will have a “strong and enduring partnership” with Iraq after troops return home.
Former President George W. Bush was president when a deal to withdraw troops from Iraq by the end of 2011 was signed by Iraq and the U.S. Obama declared the end of combat operations earlier this year.
The U.S. had been discussing with Iraqi leaders the possibility of several thousand U.S. troops remaining in Iraq. However, Iraqi leaders refused to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, and the U.S. refused to stay without that agreement.
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was captured Dec. 13, 2003. He was charged by the Iraqi Special Tribunal with crimes committed against residents of Dujail in 1982, following a failed assassination attempt against him. Specific charges included the murder of 148 people, torture of women and children and the illegal arrest of 399 others. He was found guilty Nov. 5, 2006, and hanged Dec. 30, 2006.