President Obama will announce today his plan for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The plan is to bring home about 90,000 of the about 140,000 troops by August 2010, 19 months after he took office. The remaining 50,000 will serve roles as peacekeepers, consultants to the Iraq army, and protectors of U.S. interests in Iraq. Those remaining troops will be home by the end of 2011. This is a slight adjustment from his campaign promise to the bring the troops home within 16 months and we can only hope that President Obama will keep to this new schedule.
The cost of the war is now over $600 billion, or about $4,681 per household and $341.4 million per day. The full cost of the war is likely to end up around $3 trillion. Much of that money has been spent by Republicans building Iraq's infrastructure, while at the same time chiding the President for spending a similar amount building America's infrastructure. Why it is okay to spend trillions of dollars in Iraq but not in America is beyond my level of comprehension, but seems exactly the opposite of sound logic.
More importantly, the war has now cost us the lives of 4,252 U.S. soldiers and, even worse, we are now approaching 100,000 Iraqi civilian casualties. All for a country that never attacked us, never threatened to attack us, did not have the capability of attacking us and, according to the Pentagon, did not have links to or support the people that did attack us.
The leadership of President Obama has made me feel safer and more hopeful than at any time since September 10, 2001. America deserves a pragmatic leader who strengthens our interests through diplomacy and pragmatism first, and the force of the military as an absolute last resort. I cannot wait to welcome home our troops who have fought bravely, but at the same time mourn the deaths of those who fought and died for an irresponsible war.