Today President Obama spoke at Fort Bragg in North Carolina on the end of the Iraq war. He focused on the sacrifices made, and courage shown, by American troops in the war and noted that they leave Iraq with "heads held high." As the last U.S. troops leave Iraq this month - a move that commands significant expert, popular and international support - proponents of continuing the war have resorted to faulty and highly political responses. Below are several myths about the end of the Iraq war, followed by facts that dispel those myths. Taken together, they underscore a central point: Ending the war will make America safer and is the best way to honor the sacrifices of those who have served.
Today, President Obama meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki at the White House. The two leaders will discuss the next phase of U.S.-Iraqi relations following the full withdrawal of American troops by the end of the year. That meeting, part of a series of events this week, underscores a larger milestone: After more than eight years, the Iraq war is over. Credit for this success belongs to U.S. troops and civilians who served there, as well as the Iraqi people. Their dedication and sacrifice leaves Iraq fully sovereign, a democracy and a U.S. partner. This is a promise kept for President Obama, who has been at the forefront of the movement to end the war since he was an Illinois state senator. Ending the war will make America safer by allowing us to shift resources and attention towards a broader set of priorities -- specifically Asia, fighting terror and rebuilding the U.S. economy.
Last Friday's announcement by President Obama that all US troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year marks an important closure. As NSN Senior Adviser and former Commanding General of the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team (CMATT) in IraqMajor General Paul Eaton, US Army (Ret) said in response: "His decision honors the commitments of the United States: to a sovereign Iraqi nation, to the brave American troops and diplomats who have served for almost a decade and to the American people... Hundreds of thousands of dedicated Americans have served our country in Iraq, and nearly four thousand five hundred people have given their lives to support Iraq's transition to a sovereign democratic nation. Today we thank and honor these men and women and mark a promise kept to Iraqis, to Americans and to the values they serve."