The President’s announcement today that all U.S. troops in Iraq will return home by the end of the year is a major step in the right direction for our nation. As the President said, “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.”
“Today is a great day for America and a moment of celebration that this long ordeal is finally over,” remarked Win Without War Co-Chair David Cortright. “We thank President Obama for fulfilling his campaign pledge to end this war and bring home American troops. This decision reflects the will of the American people who helped elect the President in 2008 to end the war in Iraq.”
Unfortunately, today’s announcement comes far too late for the nearly 4,500 killed and over 32,000 wounded Americans and an untold number of Iraqis who lost their lives during the war.
While the President’s announcement is an important step towards ending American conflict in Iraq, the President failed to address significant concerns over the unprecedented growth of private military contractors in Iraq or the role of America’s intelligence community’s increasingly lethal arsenal. Until the Administration addresses these serious questions, the ultimate role of U.S. force in Iraq will continue to be unclear, despite the departure of U.S. military personnel.
As our troops return home from Iraq, we must also remember the nearly 90,000 troops who continue to risk their lives in Afghanistan. While the President reiterated his plans for a gradual drawdown of U.S. troops, how many more lives will be lost before we finally see the President step to the podium and announce that all of our brave men and women in uniform are finally coming home from Afghanistan?
Susan Shaer, Co-Chair of Win Without War, commented, “This is a good news-bad news story. I feel relief that’s it’s over, and pain for the lost years, lives, and money. The sorrow for the families both here and in Iraq is irrepressible. Now we must push on to end the war in Afghanistan and get a realistic policy for how this country handles conflicts abroad.”