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U.S. Troops To Leave Iraq: What Happens Now?

The Obama administration will withdraw troops from Iraq as scheduled. We’ll take a look at what happens now.

An Iraqi police officer uses a  detector at a checkpoint in central Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. A U.S. Department of State program to train Iraqi police lacks focus, could become a "bottomless pit" of American money, and is not even appreciated by the Iraqi government, a U.S. government watchdog warned in a report released Monday. (AP)

An Iraqi police officer uses a detector at a checkpoint in central Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. A U.S. Department of State program to train Iraqi police lacks focus, could become a "bottomless pit" of American money, and is not even appreciated by the Iraqi government, a U.S. government watchdog warned in a report released Monday. (AP)

George W. Bush cut the deal, but Barack Obama confirmed it on Friday. After nearly nine years of war, US troops will be out of Iraq by the end of this year. No extension. No big stay-behind vestigial force in the country to keep the peace or keep Iran at bay. A million US service men and women have served in Iraq. A hundred and fifty will stay to guard the embassy.

It’s not what the Pentagon wanted. It is what Barack Obama promised. It is what Iraqi politics demanded. And it’s coming very soon.

This hour On Point: US troops head for the exits in Iraq.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Christopher Hill, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, and dean of the Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver.

Ellen Laipson, president, Henry L. Stimson Center

Julian Barnes, Pentagon correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.

Tim Arango, Baghdad Bureau Chief for the New York Times.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “Beyond the final withdrawal of troops that President Obama announced Friday, America’s fiscal troubles are dictating a drastic scaling back of plans for diplomatic, economic and cultural programs once deemed vital to steadying Iraq, building a long-term alliance and prying the country from Iran’s tightening embrace.”

Foreign Policy “The Obama administration is claiming it always intended to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of this year, in line with the president’s announcement today, but in fact several parts of the administration appeared to try hard to negotiate a deal for thousands of troops to remain — and failed.”

Al Jazeera “In a decision promptly denounced by Republicans, President Barack Obama announced on Friday that all US troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the Christmas holidays in late December.”

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