WITHDRAWAL

Last U.S. Combat Troops Out of Iraq

Mission accomplished? The last U.S. combat troops left Iraq early Thursday morning, ending the active combat of the seven-and-a-half-year war. The final convoy of the Army’s 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, based out of Fort Lewis, Washington, entered Kuwait at 1:30 a.m. local time, carrying the last of the 14,000 U.S. combat forces in Iraq. One soldier in the departing brigade shouted, “we won! We won! It’s over! We brought democracy to Iraq!” while another simply said “it feels awesome” to leave. The timing of the departure had been a closely guarded secret, though President Barack Obama had set Aug. 31st as the deadline for all combat forces to be removed. Some 50,000 “advisers” will remain in the country in a non-combat role to provide support and training for Iraqi military. Since March 20, 2003, when the first soldiers marched into Iraq to tackle Saddam Hussein, the U.S. has gone through two presidents and 4,415 American servicemen lost their lives. The U.S. will also double the number of private security forces in Iraq, leaving contractors to train Iraqi police.