10/22/2012 10:53 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

52 Reasons to Vote for Obama: #2, Ending the War in Iraq: A Promise Kept

Whether you're PRObama, NObama, or still undecided, 52 Reasons to Vote for Obama gives you all the information you need to share with friends, debate with relatives and decide for yourself as we head toward one of the most important elections of our lifetime. I'll post a new reason in random order every Monday through Friday from now 'til the election.

From the very beginning, Barack Obama was against the war in Iraq, a fact that few elected officials can claim. Even as an Illinois senator, Obama stated his clear opposition to the war in a speech to the Illinois state legislature in October 2002:

I know that invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East and encourage the worst rather than best impulses in the Arab world and strengthen the recruitment arm of al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars; I am opposed to dumb wars.

In a July 14, 2008, op-ed in the New York Times, Obama firmly restated his opposition to the war, saying he considered it a "grave mistake" to have entered Iraq when it posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with 9/11; the candidate vowed to end the war if elected president. He also emphasized the importance of a gradual and careful withdrawal during a sixteen-month period, hoping to get the last troops out during summer 2010, a timetable that even then prime minister al-Maliki of Iraq endorsed.


In his inaugural address, President Obama declared, "We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people," and on his first full day in office, January 21, 2009, Obama ordered his national security team to conduct a comprehensive review of the situation in Iraq to determine the best, safest, and most efficient strategy for redeployment. On February 27, 2009, Obama delivered his first speech on Iraq to a group of Marines at Camp Lejeune, in North Carolina, and he outlined a timeline that included combat in Iraq ending by August 2010 and full redeployment by the end of 2011, with a limited number of troops remaining in Iraq through 2011 to perform special missions such as training Iraqi soldiers, protecting U.S. officials and pursuing counterterrorism.

True to his word, President Obama announced the end of combatmissions in Iraq on August 31, 2010, stating, "Our commitment in Iraq is changing -- from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats." On October 21, 2011, Obama fulfilled his promise by announcing that all troops would be out of Iraq by the end of 2011, ending the eight-year war, and on December 18, 2011, the last U.S. troops left Iraq.

  • 4,487 U.S. troops killed
  • 32,223 U.S. troops wounded
  • More than 100,000 Iraqi civilians killed14
  • Nearly 1.5 million U.S. troops served
  • More than1 trillion spent

President Obama would not have started the war in Iraq, but he certainly delivered on his promise to end it.

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