August 31st, 2010
01:39 PM ET
8 years ago

U.S. combat mission in Iraq nears end


 U.S. soldiers from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, known as the Old Guard, return home from Iraq to Andrews Air Force Base on Saturday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

Editor's Note: Watch President Obama's speech live on CNN at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, online, on TV and on the CNN App for the iPhone.

Washington (CNN) - Almost 7½ years ago, President George W. Bush launched a blistering "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq.

The goal: eliminate a perceived threat of weapons of mass destruction while replacing a hostile, tyrannical regime with a friendly democracy in the heart of the Middle East.

At 5 p.m. ET Tuesday - at a cost of more than 4,400 U.S. military personnel killed and 30,000 wounded - America's combat mission in Iraq will officially draw to a close.

The quick removal of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein ushered in years of grinding sectarian violence, war, terrorist attacks and, according to some observers, increased Iranian influence in the region. But it also paved the way for nationwide elections and increasing economic development.

Whether the war was worth the price remains a subject of fierce debate both at home and abroad.

Full story

Filed under: Iraq • issues
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Tim

    Thank you Bush. All because of you, we are able to pull back with our heads held high. Had you buckled to liberal pressures, we would have left in disgrace.

    You are the picture of courage and class, Keep it up, our country could use some true leaders.

    August 31, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  2. Granger

    Our troops are in peril, and Obama redecorating the Oval Office...shows the country where his interests himself!

    August 31, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. jim

    Obama fought againt everything we tried in Iraq and now is trying to take credit for whats happening there. So sad !!!

    August 31, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Answer this. Who is responsible for the following:

    -Yellowcake Uranium from Africa?
    -Outting Valerie Plame?
    -Al Queda safe havens in Northern Iraq?
    -Abu Ghraib Prison scandal?

    We were LIED into a war that cost the lives of 4,400 American troops and is responsible for the injuries of 100,000 plus troops. I want to see justice served. How soon we forget about Cindy Sheehan who demanded answers about this illadvised war. The Bush Administration, specifically Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush are war criminals!

    August 31, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but....

    Success in Iraq will only be declared when 10 year old Iraqi children are working 12 hour days for 10 cents an hour stitching together Elmo backpacks for Wal-Mart. All joking aside, what a shame that our troops fought and died for Halliburton, only to have China come in and scoop up all of the lucrative oil contracts. Cheney must be furious. Have a nice day!

    August 31, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. Obama's call to President Bush

    " Hi George, Barack here," Barack Obama. it's me, the President, President Barack Obama. Of the United States..

    Anyway, wanted to give you a heads up George on what I am saying tonight in my speech. What's that, you're going to a Texas Rangers baseball game and will not be watching me? And you are really not interested in what I am saying? Okay, if that is how you feel, enjoy the game.

    What's that George? No, I haven't captured Osama Bin Laden yet. Yes I know I told America duing my campaign that was the reason I am still in Afghanistan, but there are other considerations. No, I cannot name those at the moment, but i am sure Emmanuel knows what they are. What's that George, Osama is no longer in Afghanistan? You sure? How do you know. Oh, Fox News – no I don;t watch that; I like Katie Kouric. you happen to know where Osama is? I see. Well. I am not sure we can attack Pakistan George. What's that – get out of Afghanistan? How can I do that now? Just leave like the Russians? Okay George I will think about it. Enjoy the game.

    August 31, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. Eric

    And we looked everywhere for those chemical and biological weapons, except for the hiding spot where Saddam stashed them prior to the invasion: Syria.

    August 31, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. Obama Mama

    Happy to see our troops coming home after they were sent to Iraq on a wild goose chase for something that didn't exist. All the money spent and lives lost to kill one clown

    August 31, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. shoegazer

    Another couple of notable reminders of the Bush years,"shock and awe" along with "mission accomplished" will be forever linked to the lost years of Shrubs tenure.

    August 31, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  10. Shawn-Ga

    Welcome home, God bless you as you get back into "regular" day-to-day and especially those that are getting right back on planes to Afghanistan.

    August 31, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Thank you Commander in Chief President Obama. Thank you for all you are doing to bring someones child, father, brother, sister or mother home, they have all given so much and they deserve our respect and not diversity.

    August 31, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. GI Joe

    Good – now spend that money on rebuilding OUR economy - OUR country.

    All those dead kids and all that money "to get the man that tried to kill my daddy" was a waste. God rest their souls (over 4000 ).

    August 31, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. Len

    To many lives lost (Americans, Europeans, and Iraq civilians, etc.) for a war that was concieved on false information and lies. Remember folks, Al-Queda was not in Iraq. We destroyed millions of this day, they have electricity 4 to 5 hours a day....We should have never gone in and I am glad we are out of the war zone. What a waste of human lives. We should be ashamed.

    August 31, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. Padraig

    I hate to be a bearer of bad news but I understand that there will still be approximately 40,000 support personnel and advisers remaining in Iraq. As we learned in Viet Nam and other foreign lands that when we have military forces of this amount or nature we will continue to be on the front line. In other words we are still being shot at...

    God Bless our military especially those in harm's way.

    August 31, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. Independent for honest change


    (Please liberals, refrain from Bush blaming... and just celebrate the moment. Can you do it? Please? Didn't think so).

    August 31, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  16. Susie

    God bless these young men and God bless America!

    August 31, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. NYCitizen

    I am thrilled to have our men and women soldiers return home from Iraq! I hope and pray that this Administration, and the adminstrations after this one, will always ensure our Veterans and active men and women soldiers receive all the health, housing, college and other benefits that they rightly deserve! Upgrade and renovate our Veterans' facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes. I had an elderly relative pass away who was a 91 year old WWII at the time of his death. He had his health care with the VA in Manhattan, and in his last year of life, when I could no longer physically take care of him myself, he was placed in the St. Alban's VA, in Jamaica, NY, which subsequent to his death, is slated to close. There wasn't only old WWII vets there, there were our veterans, some much younger who needed long term care that were at St. Alban's. This place should never be closed. While my relative received good medical care from the VA system itself, it still is not a perfect system, and there does exist a lot of complacency in its employees. These Veterans fought for us, and we must fight for them.

    August 31, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. Drunken GOP Drivers want the keys back

    End of round two as Ali goes back to his corner and Frazier waits in the middle of the ring for more,hahahahaha

    August 31, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. Debbie

    Boehner said Mr. Obama wouldn't get credit for the withdrawal from Iraq, the GOP should because it started under Bush.

    Hey Boehner, this is when the economy began to withdraw also, so lets give credit where credit is do "the GOP's".

    Remember the Mission Accomplished Banner?

    August 31, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  20. Clwyd

    It never should have been begun in the first place. 4,400+ American lives wasted for nothing!

    August 31, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. Allen in Hartwell GA

    "At 5 p.m. ET Tuesday – at a cost of more than 4,400 U.S. military personnel killed and 30,000 wounded – America's combat mission in Iraq will officially draw to a close."

    And what do we have to show for it except for crowded VA hospitals and more flags in cemetaries.

    August 31, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |