Goodbye Operation Iraqi Freedom, Hello Operation New Dawn

The United States ended one chapter and started another this week, as the U.S. ended all combat missions under Operation Iraqi Freedom. As of 5 PM Tuesday, the US combat mission in Iraq came to an end. The United States will now engage in Operation New Dawn where our role will be one of giving assistance. This new operation will see the United States military training, assisting, and advising the Iraqis. According to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, the Americans will continue to engage Iraqis within their new operation.

Biden, in stating the “darkest days” are over, acknowledged without the sacrifices of the Iraqi people and the American soldiers, Operation New Dawn would not be possible. Biden spoke to just how complicated the mission in Iraq was and it is now up to the Iraqi people to form their own government.

Approximately 54,000 American troops will be in Iraq at any given time. Differing from their combat role, these soldiers will stay in Iraq until December 2011 to give assistance to Iraqis as they take the lead in establishing their new role in the Middle East.

President Obama addressed the nation that evening and recognized the sacrifices Americans have made in getting where we are today. Over 4,400 soldiers were killed during our time in Iraq but President Obama feels the United States has met its responsibility. He went on to say it is time for the Iraqi people to take responsibility for themselves.

Almost 100,000 soldiers will soon be returning home where a new mission begins. Only time will tell how these soldiers and their families will recover and how their return will affect the United States. For now at least, Operation Iraqi Freedom is over.

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