President Obama: End to Iraq War By Year's End

The president announces intentions to pull all U.S. forces out of Iraq by 2012.
13:44 | 10/21/11

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Transcript for President Obama: End to Iraq War By Year's End
Susan BBC news Special Report. Hello I'm George Stephanopoulos of ABC news headquarters in new York and we're interrupting your regular program because President Obama is about to come to the White House briefing room. To announce that all American troops will leave Iraq by the end of this year remember. That war began in March 2003. At its peak. 170000. American troops are serving in Iraq over the course of these last eight years there have been 4482. American Dad!. 32002. And thirteen American wounded. In the time in Iraq since those true for percent in March 2000 reality that it Jake Tapper. At the White House briefing room broke the news this morning that all American troops would be coming on how this decision -- Well President Obama and others and his administration had been negotiating with the Iraqis who wanted US troops to stay. But they would not give immunity to this US troops -- talks broke down. And President Obama made the decision He would abide by this status of forces agreement. A negotiated by the Bush Administration to have a complete withdrawal all US troops to zero. By the end of this year they are saying it's going to be a very diplomatic a very robust diplomatic. Our presence in Iraq US troops will be gone for filling one of the president's key campaign promises as a candidate -- Okay let me bring in Martha -- very quickly she's been to Iraq more than twenty times Martha -- all -- troops get out I didn't see their 39000 there now. Yet that they can definitely get out they were planning -- -- although many in the military really did want to keep a number of troops there to continue training the Iraqis this could be a real problem. With just six medevac the air force the Iraqis are ready in many ways but they're gonna do -- on -- around. And there's tremendous political pressure obviously in Iraq they could not given immunity that American. Negotiators want -- here's the president right now. Good afternoon -- but it. As a candidate. For president. -- pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end. For the sake of our national security and the strength of American leadership. Around the world. After taking office I announced a new strategy that would -- our combat mission in Iraq. And remove all of our troops by the end of 2011. As commander in chief ensuring the success of the strategy has been one of my highest national security prior orders. Last year I announced the end to our combat mission in Iraq. And today we've removed more than 100000 troops. Iraqis have taken full responsibility for their country's security. A few. Hours ago I spoke -- of Iraqi prime minister -- I reaffirmed that the United States keeps its commitments. He spoke of the determination. Of the Iraqi People to forge their own future. We are in full agreement about how to move -- So today I can report that as -- the rest our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years. America's war in Iraq. Will be over. Over the next two months our troops in Iraq. Tens of thousands of them will pack up their -- And worked on boards for the journey home. The last American soldier it will -- cross the border. Out of Iraq. What -- held heads held high proud of their success. And knowing that the American people stand united. In our support for our troops. That is -- America's military efforts in Iraq -- and but even as we mark this important milestone we're also moving into a new face in the relationship between the United States and Iraq. As of January 1 and keeping whether -- strategic framework agreement with a -- It will be a normal relationship between sovereign nations. An equal partnership based on mutual interest and mutual respect. Today's conversation prime minister Maliki and I agree that. A meeting of the higher coordinating committee of the strategic framework agreement will convene in the coming weeks. And I invited the prime minister to come to the White House in December. As we plan for all the important work that we have to do together. This will be a strong and enduring partnership. What -- diplomats and civilian advisors in the lead. Will help Iraqis strengthen institutions that are just representative and accountable. We'll build new ties of trade and commerce culture and education that unleash the potential. The Iraqi People. -- partner within Iraq that contributes to regional security and peace just as we insist that other nations respect Iraq's sovereignty. As I told prime minister market. We will continue discussions on how we might help Iraq train and equip its forces. Again just as we -- for training and assistance to countries around the world. After all there will be some difficult days ahead for Iraq. And the United States will continue to have an interest in rock that a stable. Secure and self reliant. Just it's Iraqis have persevered through war. I'm confident that they can build a future worthy of their history as the cradle simple inflation. Here at home. The coming months will be another season of home -- Across America our servicemen and women will be reunited with the -- Today I can say that our troops in Iraq. We'll definitely. Be home for the holidays. This December will be a time to reflect on all that we've been through in this war. All join the American people and paying tribute to the more than one million Americans. Who have served in Iraq. There are many wounded warriors and the nearly 4500. American patriots. And -- Iraqi and coalition partners. Who gave their lives to this -- Finally I would note that the end of war in Iraq reflects a larger transition. The talk of war is -- The draw down in Iraq allowed -- to refocus our fight against al-Qaeda and achieve. Major victories against its leadership including Osama bin lot. Now even as we remove our last troops from Iraq were beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. Where we've begun a transition to Afghan security. In leadership. When I took office roughly 180000. Troops were deployed and both these wars. And by the end of this year that number will be cut in half. And make no mistake will continue to go down. Meanwhile yesterday marked the definitive end of the Gadhafi regime in Libya. And their troops -- military played a critical role in shaping. A situation on the ground in which the -- people can build their own future. Today NATO is working to bring this successful mission to a close. So to sum up. The United States is moving forward position of strength. The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year. The transition. In Afghanistan is moving forward. And our troops. Are finally coming home. If they do fewer deployments and more time training will help keep our military. The very best in the world. And as we welcome home our newest veterans will never stop working to give them and their families here. The benefits and the opportunities that. They ever. This includes -- -- our veterans in the greatest challenge that we now faces a nation. Creating opportunity and jobs. In this country. Because after a decade of war the nation that we need to build the nation that we will -- is our. America that sees its economic strength restored. Just as we've restored -- leadership problem. Thank you -- Obama announcing a major milestone on the war in Iraq nearly nine years after it began will and by the end. Of this year more than a million Americans served in Iraq I want to talk to Martha Raddatz first. -- you service that you work was -- the military who served in Iraq in this war became so unpopular. Did they see -- as the success of the president said it was today. I think the military sees that his success certainly because they went through the worst of times -- -- the president talking about the season of homecoming. But these men and women who have served there over and over and over I know so many people who have done. 3457. Deployments have missed so many holidays so for those who have served in Iraq this is indeed. A huge moment a moment that they now. They will be go home be going home to their families now the president did talk about Afghanistan to -- -- drive down there. That will take many many more years George that's not until the end of 2014. When the combat troops are supposed to be. Handing over their duties to the after the city Afghans so that will be many more years that Iraq indeed there are a lot of happy families. A lot of happy. Military service. That would Begin in Afghanistan you know -- Jake Tapper right now at the white as Jake the president decides where the top of his remarks this was a promise kept. And you could argue He became president because of his early opposition to this war in Iraq. That's right from the very early on calling of the Warner -- -- dumb war President Obama. Was able to distinguish himself from his campaign rivals in the 20072008. Democratic primaries. Hillary Clinton John Edwards at -- By saying that He never would have voted. To go to war in Iraq is a war He opposed from the beginning that's how He caught the attention of so many Iowa Liberal Democrats and that's why his campaign. Caught fire early on so this is the true fulfillment of 1 of his central campaign promises to. And Christiane on them for the president talking about a new stage and in normal relationship. With Iraq this for some more than twenty years. But we're still vying for influence there with one of our chief adversaries in this chief adversaries in Iraq that's right -- authorities say this is good news for Iran this is going to beef -- the Shiite government that. And is going to compromise the Sunni minority in Iraq. But you know Maliki the prime minister figured out wanted the troops to say He could not get a vote through his on and He knows that the job is not over this this is. Not yet the stable country and we should not pretend that it is it's great for the US forces coming home of course -- -- -- -- so many years of war. But this is not yet stable and even in Afghanistan. My sources are telling me that the president may talk about an even more accelerated withdrawal from Afghanistan. As well and by no means is the war -- that yet -- -- stability board that. -- be -- looking at being able to do attacks from the -- the drones this kind of new military method that's been employed so well and not having so many boots on the ground. -- the president said difficult days ahead but a major announcement today from President Obama after nearly nine years the war in Iraq will end. By the end of this year we want to review again. What what kind of commitment Americans and made their more than a million served. Almost 5000 Americans died. In this war since 2003. More than 32000. Americans have been -- of course -- great economic cost as well so investments of more than a trillion dollars. And I want to go back to Martha Raddatz now. Martha this war as you emphasize the fact -- so many. In our military had to serve again and again and again the military was stretched very thin by this war. Stretched very thin especially in those very very dark years about 2006. In the beginning of 2007 before President Bush -- -- surge forces. I it was very iffy at that time really what direction this war would go and President Bush send in those surge troops. I'm Dave Petraeus was sent in there and there really was a turnaround. This is one of those missions that I think when their military first went -- and realize how bad things war. They just realized it was up to -- they had to take the initiative to change the course to try to do something different there. Our counter insurgency was -- started their counterinsurgency was relied on heavily. Trying to help the population trying to secure the population try to win over the hearts and minds. And Jake you know this pretty remarkable string of foreign policy's success is now for the president in recent days but I wonder -- from from talking his. His team do you think that they're going to be able to turn this. These successes into a political plus -- they just wanna get back to -- Well they hope that this will be seen as a political plus by the American people that the winding down the drawing down of these wars and the smaller footprint. Less expensive foreign policy operations and the victories when it comes to Osama bin Laden a -- -- Gadhafi. But. Obviously they know with rising unemployment -- or high unemployment. That's still will be the central focus of the American people. And in foreign policy successes. Will be. Seen as a campaign plus but the American people are more focused on jobs right now. Can Jake Tapper Christian home for Martha Raddatz thank you very much we'll have much more tonight on world news tonight Diane sort of can force all day long and -- -- dot com have good.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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