“Please come home for Christmas. If not for Christmas by New Year’s night”… blues singer Charles Brown
Family and friends who’ve sat around listening to and singing this Christmas classic are now breathing a sigh of relief as they welcome home that special someone who served so gallantly on Iraq’s hot and dangerous battlefields.
It took a long time coming but after nearly nine years of fighting, 4,400 American military deaths, 32,000 injured and billions of dollars spent one of the most expensive wars, dollar for dollar, in American history, President Barack Obama has fulfilled his campaign promise to end the war in Iraq.
The war is over! The last remaining troops rolled across the border out of Iraq and into the history books on Sunday, Dec. 18.
“Our strong presence in the Middle East endures. And the United States will never waver in the defense of our allies, our partners and our interests,” the Associated Press quoted Obama as saying in announcing the war’s end. Obama also aid members of the military should be proud of their service and sacrifice and can withdraw from Iraq “with honor and their heads held high.”
Obama and his supporters can also stand a bit taller with pride knowing that the monumental task has been accomplished. When then-Senator Barack Obama made the promise to end the war, many thought it simply campaign rhetoric and par for the course of a good presidential candidate. At nearly five years into a war started by George W. Bush under what many considered controversial and misleading circumstances, Obama has his work cut out for him.
Despite the circumstances and battles with political opponents in dealing with America’s pressing issues such as a failing economy, high unemployment, the housing crises and such, the war is now over. There is probably no better time to end a war than right at Christmas giving families hope for the coming year. Active military, veterans and civilians are singing Obama’s praises for ending this war.
“The idea that (Obama) said he was going to bring them (the troops) home and he has…but, that he will not just abandon them. He has proposed tax credits to any employers who hire vets returning from Iraq and he has proposed monies as well if the employers hire disabled veterans,” said Los Angeles resident and small business owner Wanda E. Green, a tax professional and astute political observer.
Green thinks the fulfilling of a campaign promise speaks volumes about the President and his wife, who has worked tirelessly in support of military, veterans, their spouses and children.
“It tells us that he and Mrs. Obama listened to the troops and their families. President Obama is a visionary and a problem solver… and that is exactly what a leader is,” said Green.
Chief Warrant Officer Howard David Warren II, a network management technician, presently stationed with the Active Guard Reserve in West L.A. Warren, who served a tour of duty in Iraq from 2007-2008, trained Iraqi civilians in Ramada, west of Fallujah. Warren is happy the war is finally over and said just the promise of an end date was comforting to him back.
“That helped me to relax just knowing there was a deadline and it forced the Iraqi civilians we were training to become more focused and serious about the training.
“It also took a lot of pressure off the home front because families had some assurance that the ward would end,” said Warren who has 20 plus years of service under his belt.
Rev. Maurice L. Street, a Korean War veteran is overjoyed that this war has come to an end.
“Being a vet I think Obama is doing a great job as President and fulfilling this promise is a major victory especially with so much bias and prejudice against him,” Street said. “In four years you can’t expect the man to do everything but, bringing an end to the war in Iraq is a major accomplishment that should be celebrated.”
Aaron Giles, a Marine Corps veteran and Los Angeles resident can also appreciate the end of war.
“I feel like he brought the military home in a timely manner. They’ve accomplished their mission and now it’s time to come hone. I remember when President Obama made that promise during his campaign and I knew he would do it. I didn’t know it would take this long. I thought it would come sooner but it came when it came and I’m very happy about that,” Giles said.
Many are happy and can celebrate this holiday season knowing that a very important promise has been fulfilled. Republican or Democrat, Black or white, it’s hard to argue with the facts. The proof is in the pudding. Senator Obama said he would. President Obama did it. The war in Iraq ended just before Christmas giving so many military as well as civilians an unforgettable gift to carry into the New Year.