You Are Better Off Now Than Four Years Ago Because the Iraq War is Over

Four years ago, Barack Obama, then a U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate, promised that if elected, he would end the war in Iraq.  At its height, there were 170,000 American military personnel in Iraq, and despite the war’s growing unpopularity, in 2008 there were still 140,000 American soldiers fighting in the war.

As President, Obama fulfilled his promise.  In February 2009 President Obama announced a deadline for the withdrawal of American troops.  By August 2010, all but a transitional force of 50,000 soldiers had been withdrawn, and on Dec. 18, 2011, after seven and a half years of fighting, the last American troops finally left Iraq.

The Iraq War was founded on lies: of weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist and of Iraqi ties to al-Qaeda that proved unfounded.  American involvement in Iraq ended up costing American taxpayers $900 billion in direct government spending.  Counting the war’s larger impact on the American economy, the cost was over $3 trillion.  4486 American soldiers were killed, and more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians lost their lives.

President Obama told the truth on the campaign trail.  On his first full day in office, President Obama met with key military commanders and senior national security officials to begin outlining a plan for ending the Iraq War.  With care and deliberation, President Obama immediately began crafting an American exit from Iraq that would minimize casualties and leave the Iraqi people with the greatest chance for success.

The Iraq War was costly and painful.  Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and their families made enormous sacrifices and still suffer the lingering effects of the war.  As a nation, Americans are grappling with the colossal debt incurred during a war that was paid for entirely by credit.  The effects of the war remain, but thanks to President Obama’s kept promise, American troops are no longer in Iraq.

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