President Barack Obama is honoring all U.S. servicemen and women who have served in Iraq. He is thanking them on Tuesday as he officially prepares to end combat operations in Iraq.
Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched in 2003 by U.S. and coalition forces,which toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations. More than 4,400 U.S. military personnel were killed in the Iraq War and thousands were wounded.
"Whether you are for the invasion or whether you opposed the invasion, you had our men and women in uniform who undertook the commands of their commander in chief, and should be held up and celebrated for what they've done in allowing combat troops now to come home," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.
CBN News Sr. Reporter George Thomas talked more about the situation in Iraq on the Aug. 31 edition of the CBN Newschannel's Midday program. Click play for his comments.
Last week, the last combat troops left Iraq. It was a huge step toward America's goal of putting the Iraqi republic's future in the hands of its people.
About 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq for about another year, working in non-combat roles.
All U.S. forces must leave Iraq by the end of 2011 under a security agreement signed by the U.S. and Iraq before Obama took office.
"This redoubles the efforts of the Iraqis," Gibbs said. "They will write the next chapter in Iraqi history, and they will be principally responsible for it. We will be their ally, but the responsibility of charting the future of Iraq first and foremost belongs to the Iraqis."