Obama Announces End of Iraq War, All Troops Gone by 2012

"Today I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over."

Obama end of Iraq - AP Photo-Susan Walsh - banner.jpg

Updated 1:44 p.m.

President Obama announced the complete withdrawal of all remaining troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.

"As a candidate for president I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to an end," the president said Friday, speaking from the White House.

"Today I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over."

Pledging that troops stationed in Iraq will "definitely be home for the holidays," the president praised the more than one million men and women who have served in Iraq since war was declared there in 2003.

"The last American soldiers will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high...that is how American military efforts in Iraq will end," the president said.

He also noted that the end of the war in Iraq would reflect a transition in America's military priorities. "The tide of war is receding," he said. The drawdown of 100,000 troops from Iraq since Obama took office freed the armed forces to focus on the war in Afghanistan and the fight against al-Qaeda, he said, with results that have been seen in recent months, including the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Obama's remarks came after a morning call with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and followed the breakdown of U.S. efforts to come to an agreement with the Iraqi government about how residual troops in Iraq would be treated if they remained into 2012, according to The Washington Post. Around 150 troops will remain in Iraq to protect the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, the paper reported.

Image credit: Susan Walsh/AP

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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