NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It’s over.
President Barack Obama announced Friday that the nearly 40,000 U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the year.
For more the President’s decision, continuing coverage at CBSNews.com
“As promised, the rest of 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,” Obama said. “Our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays,” Obama said.
Obama said the final U.S. soldiers will leave with their “heads held high.” Obama said the future relationship with Iraq will mirror other nations that have normal diplomatic status with the U.S.
“Over the next two months our troops in Iraq — tens of thousands of them — will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home.”
1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan gets reaction from New Yorkers in Times Square
Long Island congressman, Peter King, told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer he would have preferred to keep up to 25,000 soldiers in Iraq, but said the Obama “had no choice.”
“Once the Iraqi government, however, refused to give immunity to our troops, the President had no choice but to order their withdrawal,” King said.
Obama left the door open to a continuing training presence of U.S. forces in Iraq, adding that would resemble the presence in other nations.
The decision ends more than eight years of U.S. involvement in Iraq. More than 4,400 American military members have been killed since the beginning of the conflict in 2003.
The report prompted immediate reaction from veterans and residents in the Tri-State Area.
“I feel like this is great but I feel like there will always be some sort of a contingency force there. Just because we’re out of Iraq doesn’t mean we’re out of Iraq,”said Matt Wojciechowski of Montclair N.J., a former Army captain who served two tours in Iraq. “I don’t think we’re ever going to be fully, 100 percent out.”
Marge Drescher and her husband, George, broke down in tears after the President’s announcement. It means that their son Army Capt. Christopher Drescher, who has already served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, won’t be sent back to Iraq again.
Drescher was due to ship out in mid-December. The couple already knows what they’ll do when they see him.
“A big bear hug. He knows what’s coming — big pat on the back, ‘good to see you,'” George Drescher told Kramer.
“I was ecstatic,” said Marge Drescher.
Others commenting on the report on CBSNewYork.com’s Facebook page, reacted incredulously.
“Now get them off Afghan soil,” wrote John Ferro. “And don’t go sending any to Libya either.”
“About time its been 8 in a half yrs in the making…BRING’EM HOME BABY!!” Kachary Dominguez wrote.
“Don’t celebrate until all our troops are home and back with their families,” wrote Larry Hamrlicek. ” Not over until the last transport plane lands on US soil.”
Watch: Obama’s Full Announcement
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