Obama leads U.S. out of Iraq


Erin Maroon, Staff Writer

Twelve blasts shook the neighborhood. Explosions from a combination of roadside bombs and car bombs were heard. At least 250 people  were wounded.

On November 2, Iraqi officials reported a series of explosions across Baghdad that killed at least 30 people. At least 11 explosions rocked Baghdad neighborhoods late that night. The blasts occurred in predominately the same area but some bombs went off near crowded markets and restaurants.

The attacks took place on the same day that hundreds of mourners gathered to pay their last respects to the victims of that Sunday’s attack in a Catholic church in Baghdad. Fifty-seven people were killed and nearly 70 were wounded after militants attacked the Our Lady of Salvation Church and took more than 100 people hostage  on Sunday. The siege ended when Iraqi forces stormed the church hours later. It is not clear how many people were killed by the militants and how many died during the rescue attempt.

The memorial service on November 2 took place at another church near the attack site. France has offered asylum to 150 Iraqi Christians, including some who were wounded during Sunday’s siege.

Equally important, President Barack Obama formally addressed the nation from the Oval Office on August 31, as he announced the end of the combat mission in Iraq. Giving his speech from the desk where former President George W. Bush started the war, Obama ended the Operation of Iraqi Freedom after 89 months of fighting that has killed 4,416 Americans. Obama has already taken 95,000 U.S. combat troops out of Iraq and has left a remaining force under 50,000 to “advise and assist” the Iraqis.

“Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country,” Obama said. “Only Iraqis can resolve their differences and police their streets. Only Iraqis can build a democracy within their borders. What America can do, and will do, is providing support for the Iraqi people as both a friend and a partner.”

Obama said that the “most urgent task” is to restore the economy and put people back to work.

“We have spent over a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas,” Obama said.

Since the war began on March 20, 2003, more than 4,400 U.S. troops have been killed and almost 32,000 wounded. Many more Iraqis have been killed. The war is one of the longest in U.S. history, even as the one in Afghanistan continues.

“Our combat mission is ending, but our commitment to Iraq’s future is not,” Obama said.

Several times during his speech he paid tribute to the nearly 1.5 million men and women who served a term in Iraq.

“I think it’s wonderful that they can finally leave Iraq and go home to their families. The war has dragged on for too long,” sophomore Kelsey Siegel said.

Senior, Sean Feheley’s father is in the Air Force as a fighter pilot. His father has been recently stationed in Korea since October.

“After 10 years of moving around, we moved here, to the United States. He became a reserve so we didn’t have to move around anymore and we settled down  He has had several deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Bulgaria,” Feheley said.