The better part of the past decade of American history has centered around the War in Iraq, which began on March 20, 2003. Over the past eight years, the world has watched as the United States have battled in Iraq. Initially, the United States invaded Iraq during the War on Terrorism.
In 2002, the United Nations Security Council called for Iraq to cooperate with UN weapon inspectors to confirm there were no weapons of mass destruction. The following year, the invasion began, as Iraqi leader, Saadam Hussein was accused of helping al-Qaeda. Two years prior, al-Qaeda was a part of the September 11, 2001 bombings, which left thousands of Americans dead and destroyed the World Trade Center.
Towards the end of the administration of President George W. Bush, the American people were ready to end the War in Iraq. During the early years of the war, Saadam Hussein was caputed and killed and the United States began helping Iraq rebuild. The war, paired with the ailing United States economy, set the stage for the 2008 Presidential Election. When the new administration took over, the United States citizens were ready to officially leave Iraq.
Upon being elected, President Obama said the War in Iraq would be over before the end of 2011. With two weeks left in 2011, the war has officially ended. While the war has ended, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens lost their lives, along with 4,500 American soldiers.
US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta spoke on the end of the War in Iraq.
Read US Defense Secretary Panetta’s statement below:
“After a lot of blood spilled by Iraqis and Americans, the mission of an Iraq that could govern itself has become real.”
“Iraq will be tested in the days ahead â€” by terrorism and by those who would seek to divide it, by economic and social issues, by the demands of democracy itself.”
“The US will will stand by the Iraqi people as they navigate those challenges.”
“This is a time for Iraq to look forward. This is an opportunity for Iraq to forge ahead on a path to security and prosperity.”
“And we undertake this transition today reminding Iraq that it has in the United States a committed friend and partner. We owe it to all of the lives that were sacrificed in this war not to fail.”
Following nine years of United States military involvement in Iraq, the United States have officially pulled out of Iraq, but the battle for independency for Iraq will go on for years to come. Panetta also said the United States withdrawing from Iraq is nothing short of miraculous and one of the most complex logistical undertakings in US military history. A war, which many felt would only last for a few months, ended up lasting for nearly a decade.
While the mission has been accomplished, many feel as if there was no win, according to Sergeant Teddy Loftis. However, the American troops who have been traveling back and forth to Iraq do indeed feel like winners, as they now have the chance to return home to their families.