Last night, President Obama formally announced the end of combat operations in Iraq.
It's a bittersweet moment. This war never should have started. Fifty thousand troops remain in harm's way in Iraq. And the quagmire in Afghanistan is deepening.
But at the same time, we wouldn't be here today without the tireless and often lonely work of millions of MoveOn members and other Americans nationwide—from people who organized vigils in deep-red states to the countless rallies, phone calls, and letters over the years. So thank you, sincerely, for making this day possible.
We asked some MoveOn members to sum up this moment:
"It's about time; however, the reality of this declaration is yet to be seen. The key word is 'Operations.' Combat Operations and 'Conflict' is clearly defined as two different things. This probably does not mark the end of U.S.—Iraqi 'Conflict.' I hope so...I'm optimistic; however, I am a realist! My prediction is this will not be the last day that a U.S. soldier loses his/her life in combat."—Iraq veteran, Texas
"Relief. Apprehension. We say one thing and then do another. Stop-loss could send recent Iraq vets to Afghanistan to participate in another unwinnable war that is costing us and has cost so much in ways far beyond the national deficit."—Family of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, Sacramento, CA
"Sad, relieved, proud and fearful. Sad for all those who fought, are permanently injured, their families, and for those that have died...knowing this war should never have begun; sad for the destruction and continued tragedies that occur everyday in Iraq; Relieved that our combat is most likely over; Proud of our troops who served under terrible conditions and who are an example at Americans who are selfless and willing to give their all...President Obama has proven he can do the right thing when it comes to Iraq. But now we have to make sure he does the right thing in Afghanistan too. And we can't stop pressing until all of our troops are home."—MoveOn member, Woodbridge, CT
"GW Bush left such an incredible mess. President Obama is probably doing the best he can do. That said, I still find it all incredibly sad and demoralizing. And history repeats itself."—Family of Vietnam veteran, Columbus, OH
Many of us mark this milestone with mixed emotions. On the one hand, we're thankful that President Obama did the right, and long overdue, thing to bring our troops home—and feel immense gratitude for the troops who served and made sacrifices many of us cannot even imagine. But we also know that we can't rest until all troops are safely out of harm's way, in both Iraq and Afghanistan—and that we have a lot of work ahead to get us there.
Thanks for all you have done and all you continue to do.
–Nita, Kat, Ilya, Lenore, and the rest of the team
P.S. You can see photos from years of MoveOn member work to prevent and end the war here: http://www.moveon.org/r?r=90208&id=23074-10220574-V.yYpTx&t=1
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