Today the U.S. military officially declared an end to the war in Iraq. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta participated in a symbolic ceremony in Iraq, making the declaration and retiring the flag of U.S. Forces-Iraq according to Army tradition. Locally, Rep. Jim Moran (D) released a statement welcoming the end to the war and thanking service members for their involvement.
“Today, our men and women in uniform, their families, and a war-weary country welcome an end to our direct involvement in Iraq.
“I opposed the invasion from the outset because President George W. Bush’s rationale was erroneous and unjustified. It lacked an exit strategy and realistic plan to stabilize and rebuild the country once Saddam Hussein was removed from power. The cost of U.S. involvement has been too high in blood and treasure. To date, the United States has spent more than $806 billion and lost more than 4,450 American lives.
“I applaud President Obama for responsibly ending our military involvement in Iraq. Through his three-stage drawdown plan, President Obama fulfilled his campaign promise to bring our troops home.
“As we welcome home a new generation of veterans, we have a concomitant responsibility to provide them with more than just a word of thanks. The caliber of the individuals who served speaks volumes about our country and demonstrates the enormous potential for our nation’s future. It is now our obligation to assist these individuals as they transition to civilian life, by providing the proper health care, educational and employment opportunities.”