President Obama marks end of Iraq war

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By Sanjay
Date  15 Dec 2011

US President Barack Obama has welcomed home some of the last US troops from Iraq. This marks a symbolic end to the nearly nine-year war that strained America’s armed forces and inflicted lasting damage to its standing worldwide.

Welcome home -- a simple greeting. But for US troops who’ve just returned from Iraq, it means a lot. After 9 years of fighting, thousands of soldiers can finally spend the Christmas holiday with their families.

Obama said, "So as your commander in chief and on behalf of a grateful nation, I’m proud to finally say these two words and I know your families agree - welcome home, welcome home, welcome home."

Addressing soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on Wednesday, Obama stopped short of declaring victory in Iraq. But he did call the winding down of the conflict "an extraordinary achievement."

Obama said, "One of the most extraordinary chapters in the history of the American military will come to an end. Iraq’s future will be in the hands of its people. America’s war in Iraq will be over."

As of this week, there were about 55-hundred US troops left Iraq. At their peak, there were more than 170,000 in the war that Obama’s predecessor George Bush started in the wake of the 911 attacks.

Nearly 4,500 Americans and at least 60,000 Iraqis have been killed in the war.

All US troops are to be out by December 31st, though Obama has pledged the US will continue civilian assistance for Iraq as it faces an uncertain future in a volatile region of the world.

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