After hosting Iraqi Prime Minister Malaki at the White House to end the war in Iraq, President Obama will visit troops in Fort Bragg, NC to pay tribute to troops that have served and died during the Iraq War. 4,421 U.S. troops have paid the ultimate price during the Iraq war. Fort Bragg, the home of the 82nd Airborne Division and Special Operations, has lost 202 troops in Iraq.
Meanwhile today in Fallujah, Iraq there was another celebration. Hundreds of Iraqis took to the streets and celebrated the impending departure of U.S. troops. During their celebration they burned both U.S. and Israeli flags. They shouted slogans in support of the resistance and had banners inscriped with phrases like, “Now we are free” and “Fallujah is the flame of the resistance.” They also had pictures of of apparent insurgents and pictures of U.S. soldiers killed and military equipment destroyed.
The U.S. troop withdrawal is controversial, with critics concerned that the withdrawal will strengthen Iranian influence in Iraq. Some 16,000 U.S. security personnel will remain behind to protect the U.S. embassy. While, according to reports the military had recommended that as many as 40,000 U.S. personnel be left behind, the decision was made to withdraw all of them. General Allen told FOX News yesterday that 40,000 U.S. troops are deployed within the Gulf region to protect American interests.
A welcome home for Fort Bragg troops is a bit of a stretch, while Iraq may be over, Afghanistan is still ongoing. Troops continue to rotate in and out of Afghanistan.
Michelle Obama made the opening remarks to the troops and mentioned the spouses serving alongside of the troops, despite not wearing a uniform. She also mentioned her campaign to honor the troops along with Jill Biden. She said Obama is fighting for the troops and their families every day. Unfortunately it turned into another campaign speech led by Michelle.
We’re here to mark a historic moment for our country. You have been here all the way from the first invasion to the final departure. He welcomed them home. This is an extraordinary achievement and you made it possible. He said that the last troops will be leaving Iraq with their heads held high. He also said that the troops have taught America an important lesson. “You remind us we are one nation,” he said.
He made mention to the XVIII Airborne Corps, the 82nd Airborne Division and Special Ops Branch.
As an aside, President George W. Bush and his Administration set the withdrawal of troops from Iraq in motion. A campaign promise maybe, but not without the help of George Bush. The surge that was authorized by Bush worked and the President was against the surge as candidate Obama.
Regardless this is an important moment in American history. It is the end of an era.
Again 4521 Americans gave up their lives in Iraq and 30,000 were wounded. Let’s hope it was not in vane.
Full Text of President Obama’s Speech:
Hello Fort Bragg! All the Way!
Fort Bragg, we’re here to mark an historic moment in the life of our country and our military. For nearly nine years, our nation has been at war in Iraq. And you-the incredible men and women of Fort Bragg-have been there every step of the way, serving with honor, sacrificing greatly, from the first waves of the invasion to some of the last troops to come home. 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.
It is great to be here at Fort Bragg-home of the Airborne and Special Operations Forces. I want to thank General Anderson and all your outstanding leaders for welcoming us today, including General Dave Rodriguez and General John Mulholland. I want to give a shout-out to your outstanding senior enlisted leaders, including Command Sergeants Major Roger Howard, Darrin Bohn and Parry Baer. And give a big round of applause to the Ground Forces Band. Read More on Fox News