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U.S. troops must withdraw from Iraqi cities and towns by June 30 as part of the Status of Forces Agreement that was ratified by the Iraqi Parliament last November. The agreement also stipulates that all American troops must leave the country by 2011. General Ray Odierno, the top US military commander in Iraq, told CNN he "believes they're [American troops] are ready" to leave and "security remains good." Iraq has experienced a series of deadly bombings ahead of the withdrawal. According to the AP, more than 250 people have been killed in a little over a week from bomb blasts.
Reuters reports that Iraqis began celebrating the pullout on Monday.
U.S. troops pulled out of Baghdad on Monday, triggering jubilation among Iraqis hopeful that foreign military occupation is ending six years after the invasion to depose Saddam Hussein.
"It is a big joy to see them leaving," said Abu Hassan, 60, a shop owner. "There might be some more attacks because of struggles between the different parties, but Iraqis are controlling security now. It's up to our forces now."
We asked you to share your thoughts about the impending troop pullout. Here are your comments.George Stoddard from Utah:
Lynn from Missouri:
I am the grandfather of a 21 year-old Marine who is in Ramadi, Iraq. During recent weeks he has been involved in combat operations that resulted in the death of at least one of his friends. Although I have never experienced combat, I have learned much from clients when I was a practicing psychotherapist and from reading the available literature. I view war realistically and am aware of the risks that our troops face daily.
As with so many other military families, my grandson is in our thoughts every day and we will be greatly relieved when he is no longer in harms way.
Kathy from New Jersey:
Finally! Finally, our son will be home.
Keri Wheelwright from South Carolina:
My younger brother is currently stationed in Iraq. As young as he is, seeing him go to place where he was being put in harms way was perhaps the most difficult thing my family and I had ever had to do. Although we come from a big family (8 siblings) his presence is missed very greatly and his safety is prayed for everyday. The reality of the war hit home when a friend of mine got killed in Iraq. His funeral was a wake up call to what we can possibly expect one day. My mother, my siblings, and myself await the day that my brother tells us he's coming home for good. Till then, I ask God to keep him, and four family friends who are there with him safe from all harm. We are waiting for each and every one of them.
David McGlaughlin from Pennsylvania:
It's hard to believe that there will be any affect at all on military families, as dwell time is still the same, and my husband will most likely deploy again to Afghanistan. Sure we are told that 1,000's of troops will leave Iraq, but what does that mean when they leave again in 15 months to go somewhere that's just as dangerous? As a member of Military Families Speak Out, I've seen the worst of what this war can do to families. How are we to be expected to carry on, knowing that despite the fact there there is no military solution to either wars our family members will be taken away and put in harm's way every other year?
Matthew from California:
A band aid for a gaping laceration. No exit plan. Endless war. They all died for a lie. Our mission is what?
This can't happen soon enough. This was an illegal act pure and simple. We should stop rationalizing.
Others shared your thoughts in the comments section of the post.from TheBlackCat:
I'm an army wife, whose husband has already done a tour in Iraq. He is now finishing up his B.A. and is expected to deploy again after he gets out of school. As he is a 1LT in a platoon which is short on officers, the only difference this is likely to make for us is that now he will likely get deployed to Afghanistan instead of Iraq.
But, HuffPo, we're not withdrawing. Haven't you noticed? And permanent war (and permanent profits) is now spreading to Afghanistan/Pakistan.
Having some good friends coming back now, I am glad. But also having some good friends going over to dismantle and remove certain things, like bridges and such, I am not glad as they will surly be shot at and not have the forces there to protect them like they should.
When they start puling them out of the country 1-2 brigades a month, then I 'll get giddy.
It means my neighbor down and across the street will finally, hopefully be coming home for good and not worried that after FOUR tours he doesn't make it back. We've already lost two and we are a small town. One is too many two is too many and on and on.
Well, it should certainly be a relief on the economy and the stature of the U.S. That should be a positive effect for all Americans.
Hundred of thousands including more that 4,000 US finest lost their lives due to this unfortunate war. A war of choice and personal war of one heartless man. All US forces have to return home without delay.
What do you think about the troop withdrawal? Take this HuffPost poll, or leave your thoughts in the comments section below.