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Bragg soldier on Iraq: 'We left it a safer place'

Posted December 13, 2011
Updated December 14, 2011

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— President Barack Obama and his wife will salute members of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg on Wednesday as U.S. forces are pulled out of Iraq.

Although it's Obama's first trip to Fort Bragg as president, the event will be the fourth presidential visit to the post since combat began in Iraq almost a decade ago.

President George W. Bush spoke to troops at Fort Bragg in 2005, calling Iraq "the latest battlefield" in the war on terror.

"Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question, 'Is the sacrifice worth it?'" Bush said.

More than 200 troops stationed at Fort Bragg have died in Iraq since 2003.

Bush returned to the post in 2006 and again in 2008, each time pledging victory in Iraq.

"As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down," he said.

Obama promised to end the war as a presidential candidate in 2008 and put a timetable on ending it once elected.

All U.S. troops are to leave the country by Dec. 31.

Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, has spent the last year in Iraq, overseeing the day-to-day details of the troop exit. He recently expressed confidence that Iraq can survive on its own, with its U.S.-trained military and police force.

Obama with Nouri al-Maliki Obama, al-Maliki to salute Bragg troops

About 3,500 soldiers from Fort Bragg have been in Iraq in the last few months. Helmick said nearly all of them will be home for the holidays.

Soldiers who have recently returned to Fort Bragg from their deployments to Iraq also said they were optimistic about that country's future.

"I feel like we left it a safer place. Now, it's just up to the Iraqi people to do the right thing and keep it safe," Spc. Tommy Anglin said Tuesday.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will join Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at Fort Bragg to mark the milestone.

"We worked hard and it was a success, and we're all excited that it's over, to be back home with our families and friends," Spc. Brandon Price said.

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  • gallbury Dec 15, 2011

    It's safer because half of the native Iraquis have been forced out or killed.

  • Ezekiel c23 v19to20 Dec 14, 2011

    "if there is anything Obama excels at it creating UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE!"

    Apparently he's bad at that too, affirmativediversity.

  • Ezekiel c23 v19to20 Dec 14, 2011

    Nicely put, Evolve. I like it.

  • Ezekiel c23 v19to20 Dec 14, 2011

    "I never understood the logic of putting a half-millon dollar missle (tomahawk for example) into a $10 tent."

    That one is actually pretty easy. Troops are expensive to replace too, the missle gets on target much faster making it more likely to get the high value target in question, adn I don't ahve to write condolence letters to the missles family if we mess up.

  • affirmativediversity Dec 14, 2011

    I never understood the logic of putting a half-millon dollar missle (tomahawk for example) into a $10 tent. We need less military, not more (and I'm an active duty Marine). At least our Commander and Chief is doing the right thing. per love2dostuff

    -------------------------

    Well if Obama gets his way (and apparently your way too) you'll be enjoying all that hopey changey stuff from the Unemployment line.

    But, then again, let's give credit where credit is due...if there is anything Obama excels at it creating UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE!

  • Evolve Dec 14, 2011

    19%, NINETEEN PERCENT!!! Did I mention 19%? We spend 19% of our annual budget on defense!!!! Know what we spend on education? THREE PERCENT!!! I am a veteran, patriotic and love my country, however, all of the wars in the middle east have been about politics. Terrorism needs fought, but the threat is not what the GOP makes it out to be. Bush so much as said the war was political. He was trying to push democracy on a region that is not at all receptive to that mindset. The best way to fight terrorism is through intelligence- NOT 50 CAL's. We have thwarted many recent attempts through intelligence gathering. So why not concetrate on that? Because it wouldn't gain near as much backing from the Old Testament spouting 'Eye for an Eye' crowd as big guns and big explosions. We need to spend more money on education. Some of the posters on here are proof of that.

  • Ezekiel c23 v19to20 Dec 14, 2011

    " remember all of the violation of numerous UN resolutions that were part of their ceasefire agreement after their defeat in the first war? Remember Iraq kicking out weapons inspectors? Remember any of that?"

    None of which justifies the US acting like criminals and as bad, or worse, than our enemies.

  • livinggood2 Dec 14, 2011

    It seems alot of you could care less about our defence, I hope and pray you are right,and by the way I am a Democrat,but am changing to independent or Republican.....The Democratic party has become to ratical.

  • love2dostuff Dec 14, 2011

    I never understood the logic of putting a half-millon dollar missle (tomahawk for example) into a $10 tent. We need less military, not more (and I'm an active duty Marine). At least our Commander and Chief is doing the right thing. I also served under bushwacker and never understood why we were there in the first place. Dubya and his toonies lied to congress. Yet conservitards still idolize that failure. Go figure.

  • original intent Dec 14, 2011

    LOL//// the only ones coming out of this smelling like a rose--are the Military Industrial Complex(that GOP President Eisenhower warned us of)---and yes the Opium dealers in Afghanistan & around the world!---Our military folks have been maimed and killed in the name of PROFIT NOT FREEDOM-- As Ron Paul stated:"Foreign aid is taking money from POOR people in America and giving it to RICH people in poor countries'!!! And thats is so corporations can then OUTSOURCE YOUR J.O.B..!!

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