Obama Announces Full Iraq Drawdown

    In this Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011 photo, U.S. Army soldiers make their way to a C-130 aircraft at Sather Air Base in Baghdad, Iraq to begin their journey home to the United States.  The U.S. has promised to withdraw from Iraq by the end of the year as required by a 2008 security agreement between Washington and Baghdad. Some 44,000 U.S. troops and an estimated 58,000 American contractors are scheduled to clear out _ along with their equipment. It's still unclear if the U.S. military will keep several thousand troops in Iraq as leaders weigh whether staunch political opposition in both nations is worth the risk. The uncertainty has been a logistical nightmare for American commanders, who could be asked at the last minute to keep some equipment and manpower back _ but for now must push ahead in case the withdrawal plan stands. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

    Maya Alleruzzo / AP Photo

    President Obama has announced that all American troops in Iraq will return to the U.S. by the end of the year. "After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over," Obama said in a press conference at the White House, adding that most U.S. troops will be "home for the holidays." In a telephone conference this morning, the president confirmed the news with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, with whom the U.S. is now in "full agreement" to move forward with the drawdown. Officials from both countries had since discussed keeping U.S. troops there to train security forces against potential Iranian terror plots. However, the Pentagon changed its mind after Iraqi political leaders refused to grant U.S. troops legal immunity in Iraqi courts. Obama noted that he'd vowed to end the war in Iraq during his 2008 election campaign. The fact that he kept that promise will be a crucial appeal to voters during his difficult 2012 reelection campaign.

    Read it at The Washington Post