Mission Accomplished! Our work in Iraq is done, America: today President Obama officially announced that all American troops will be removed from Iraq by the end of the year (except for approximately 160 soldiers that are attached to the US Embassy). The nine-year-long war has cost the U.S. more than $800 billion dollars, left 3,525 American service members dead, and killed over 100,000 Iraqi civilians (an exact number remains elusive, because the Pentagon doesn't bother to count them). But it was all worth it to destroy Al Qaeda and tranform Iraq into a shining beacon of democracy for the rest of the Middle East!
It was earlier reported that Obama would ask as many as 3,000 soldiers to be the last ones to die for George Bush's mistake, but over the weekend a senior military official told the Associated Press that Obama was taking all the troops out. The Status of Forces Agreement between the U.S. and Iraq expires at the end of the year, and a White House official tells ABC, "This deal was cut by the Bush administration, the agreement was always that at end of the year we would leave, but the Iraqis wanted additional troops to stay. We said here are the conditions, including immunities. But the Iraqis because of a variety of reasons wanted the troops and didn’t want to give immunity." What, they don't trust us?
There are currently 39,000 American troops in Iraq. During his speech today, Obama said, "The rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over. The tide of war is receding."
But that doesn't mean we won't be there for Iraq when they want to buy weapons! The Wall Street journal reports that the U.S. will maintain a close diplomatic presence in Iraq to facilitate purchases of American weapons systems, including Abrams tanks and F-16 fighters. Surf's up. The Iraqi government also recently paid "something like $1.6 billion for something like 20 F-16s," according to a White House official. Iraq also has a deal with G.E., and American exports of democracy, whiskey, sexy will no doubt soar next summer, when the country is expected to surpass Iran in oil production.