Out Of Iraq in 18 Months

President Barack Obama will take to the podium in a little over an hour to deliver his first State of the Union Address. The big pre-SOTU story tonight is this one from AP News:
Officials: Most troops out of Iraq in 18 months“:

AP reports that the Obama administrations’s withdrawal plan, which should be released early this week, “calls for leaving a large contingent of troops behind, between 30,000 and 50,000 troops, to advise and train Iraqi security forces and to protect U.S. interests.”

The contingent remaining will include intelligence and surveillance specialists and their equipment, including unmanned aircraft, according to two administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has not been made public.

The complete withdrawal of American forces will take place by December 2011, the period by which the U.S. agreed with Iraq to remove all troops.

The withdrawal of troops from Iraq is long overdue. AP notes that as of yesterday, “at least 4,250 members of the U.S. military had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003.”

More than 31,000 have been injured. An additional 35,841 have received medical air transport due to non-hostile incidents.

Congress has approved more than $657 billion so far for the Iraq war, according to a report last year from the Congressional Research Service.

Long overdue… Thank goodness this war based on lies is finally looking like it’s coming to an end.

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