President Barack Obama announced Friday that troops in Iraq will return to the United States by the end of the year.
West Virginia Sens. Joe Manchin (D) and Jay Rockfeller (D) shared their thoughts on the move.
In a statment, Manchin said:
“This is a great, happy day and I am so pleased that we will soon welcome home the brave men and women who have been serving this country in Iraq. While we celebrate this milestone as a country, we should never forget the servicemembers who are not returning home, the families who mourn them and all those who have sacrificed and have been injured in the line the duty.
“While we can all be pleased that the military mission is over, I also urge the President to stop pouring billions of American taxpayer dollars into civilian and contracting projects in Iraq. Not only that, I continue to urge the President to shift to a mission of counterterrorism in Afghanistan, where we’re still spending billions of dollars rebuilding their country at the expense of our own. As I have repeatedly said, it’s time to rebuild America, and not Iraq and not Afghanistan.”
“Bringing our troops home from Iraq once and for all is in the security interests of our country, and marks a major milestone for both countries. More than a million Americans selflessly served in Iraq to protect our country. More than 33,000 were wounded and 4,421 gave their lives for that cause. Our troops have done all we have asked – and more. They are true heroes and we are all indebted to them for their service. It’s about time they come home. There will be difficult days ahead for Iraq, its government, and its people, but it is time for Iraq’s people to determine their own destiny, just as our troops' sacrifices made it possible for the Iraqi people to do. We will continue to closely monitor the situation in Iraq and encourage a smooth transition. It has been over eight years since the war started, and now it has finally come to a close.”