- (Photo: AP Images / Anja Niedringhaus)
President Barack Obama announced on Friday he will withdraw all U.S. troops in Iraq by the end of 2011, marking an end to one of the most controversial and bloodiest wars in American history.
"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. "Today I can say that troops in Iraq will be home for the holidays.”
Obama said he and the prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, are "in full agreement about how to move forward."
To date, the U.S. has removed more than 100,000 troops, the president said, and "Iraqis have taken full responsiblitiy for their country's security."
Since President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March, 2003, over 4,400 American soldiers have been killed and 2,000 wounded.
The Iraqi death toll has been much higher. According to IraqBodyCount.org, a website that monitors civilian deaths in Iraq, there has been as many as 112,708 Iraqi civilians killed because of the war.
The financial cost of the war has also been staggering, with a 2007 Congressional Budget Office estimation that the Iraq war will have cost approximately $2 trillion, which comes out to nearly $5,000 per person in the U.S., by the time it is over.
A Pew Research Center poll released earlier this month indicated that U.S. troops were divided on whether or not the war effort in Iraq as well as Afghanistan has been "worth it."
According to the Pew Research Center survey, one-third (34 percent) of recent veterans say that both the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars have been worth fighting. Thirty-three percent said neither conflict has been worth the costs.