A holiday present for families of soldiers serving in Iraq: Everybody's coming home by the end of the year, President Obama announced today. "After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over," said Obama, who had announced the end of the combat mission earlier this year, notes AP. The US had considered leaving several thousand troops in the country for special ops and training but could not reach an agreement on that with the Iraqi government, reports the Washington Post.
That means the only US forces in the country next year will be the relative handful, about 150, necessary to provide protection for the US embassy and American diplomats. "Today I can say that troops in Iraq will be home for the holidays," said Obama, who spoke earlier in the day with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. More than 4,400 American forces have been killed since the US invaded in 2003, notes MSNBC.