Iraq War Over
If you’re 9 years old, U.S. soldiers have been fighting a war in the Middle Eastern country of Iraq almost every day of your life. It’s one of the longest wars the U.S. has been involved in, and according to reports, nearly 4,500 American soldiers died fighting in it and 32,000 more were injured. Over 100,000 Iraqis died.
Yesterday, the war officially ended.
The war began because then U.S. President George W. Bush concluded that Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, was developing dangerous weapons that could be used against the U.S. and that he may have been involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks. Both conclusions proved incorrect, but the goal to remove him from power remained. Saddam Hussein was captured in 2006, he was convicted of terrible crimes against Iraqis, and was later put to death by Iraqis for his crimes. But even though he was gone from power, there was still great unrest and violence in Iraq. And meanwhile America’s involvement in Iraq remained controversial.
Both President Bush and President Obama promised to end the war while trying to ensure enough stability for the Iraqi people to govern themselves.
Thousands of troops have come home in recent months, with the last of the military returning by the end of December. Iraq’s elected leader, Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, met with President Obama earlier in the week at the White House, to talk about the U.S.’s relationship with Iraq beyond the war. A limited number of soldiers, security forces, and other personnel are staying in Iraq in an effort to help with Iraq’s transition to democracy.
President Obama also met with returning soldiers yesterday in a ceremony marking the end of the war saying, “As your Commander-in-Chief, on behalf of a grateful nation, I’m proud to finally say these two words – and I know your families agree: Welcome home. Welcome home. Welcome home. Welcome home.”