Tuesday, August 31, 2010

US ends Iraq combat mission

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told Iraqis today their own soldiers and police are up to the job as US forces ended a combat role after seven years of fighting that has cost thousands of lives.

A major troop pullout over past months has left less than 50,000 US soldiers in Iraq while a simultaneous surge in car bombings and shootings, many targeting local security forces, has raised security concerns. US President Barack Obama was to mark the symbolic end of combat operations in a speech from the Oval Office at 0000 GMT (3 am on Wednesday for Baghdadis), after visiting a base in Texas where he was to meet returned Iraq veterans.

He was also expected to speak by telephone with former President George W. Bush who, backed by key ally Britain, took the decision to invade Iraq in March 2003, ousting dictator Saddam Hussein within weeks. In advance of Obama's speech, Maliki said on state television that Iraq was a "sovereign and independent" state and he was confident the last US forces would leave the country as planned at the end of 2011. — AFP


What a journey.

Is it worth it?

Only history will tell.

The terrible cost:

Courtesy of New York Times.

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