Obama: U.S. Troops To Leave Iraq By Year's End
President Obama says Iraq War, one of the longest and costliest in U.S. history, to end in December.
President Obama announced Friday he will withdraw all American troops from Iraq by the end of the year, bringing to a close a nine-year war that killed 78 New Jersey residents, at least 14 of whom were Army and Marine Corps servicemen from Bergen and Passaic Counties.
The United States had previously agreed to exit Iraq by the end of the year and leave 3,000 to 5,000 troops in Iraq as trainers, but after failed negotiations with the Iraqi government, as little as 150 troops will remain in the Middle Eastern country. The current military presence in Iraq stands at just under 40,000.
After a private video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Obama told reporters at the White House Friday that he had kept his 2008 campaign promise to end the war in Iraq, adding that the U.S. should focus instead on building up its economy at home.
"As promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year," Obama said. "After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over."
More than 4,400 American military members, 78 of whom were from New Jersey, have been killed since the U.S. and its allies invaded Iraq in March 2003.
Fourteen residents from Bergen and Passaic Counties - serving in the Army and the Marine Corps - were killed in the conflict. Ranging in age from 19 to 51, the men hailed from Little Ferry, Carlstadt, Emerson, Lodi, Waldwick, and River Vale, as well as Paterson, West Milford, Little Falls and Passaic. For a complete list of New Jersey's dead, visit the NYTimes' interactive feature, Faces of the Dead, or Vet Friends' list of military personnel who died in Iraq since the start of the war. NJ.com also compiled profiles of New Jersey's Iraq War casualties.