Today, December 19, 2011 may be of significance to many Americans, Iraqi’s too, as it marks the first day post-Iraq war. Yesterday, the “last” of the troops vacated the war-torn country. Prez. Obama posted the following message on his blog to mark the occasion:
Early this morning, the last of our troops left Iraq.
As we honor and reflect on the sacrifices that millions of men and women made for this war, I wanted to make sure you heard the news.
Bringing this war to a responsible end was a cause that sparked many Americans to get involved in the political process for the first time. Today’s outcome is a reminder that we all have a stake in our country’s future, and a say in the direction we choose.
Nine bloody years in the making, costing the American taxpayer over $800 billion, the Iraq war claimed the lives of 4,500 Americans and an approximately 100,000 Iraqis. The convoluted, devastating battle initiated by the Bush Administration ended as it began, with U.S. combat troops crossing from Iraq into Kuwait – the same route used to raid the country back in 2003. Around 170,000 American soldiers were stationed in 500 bases across the country at he height of wartime, but only about 150 troops will remain after Dec. 31 at the U.S. Embassy near the Tigris River.
It’s difficult to say with certainty that the world is a safer place due to what ABC News has called the bloodiest U.S. war since Vietnam, but no one can argue that service men and women, as well as their loved-ones, are relieved to be free from the many perils of war. Although the days of combat may be over, U.S. involvement in Iraq is not. Democracy Now reports that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is the largest in the world, and thousands of private contractors will carry out some of the roles once held by occupying troops.
The issues surrounding this deadly nine-year conflict are complex, profoundly affecting everyone from tax paying Americans, to Iraqi’s themselves. What does the close of the war on Iraq mean to you?