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The US combat mission in Iraq officially ends in less than 24 hours. The move is part of a promise US President Barack Obama made last year when he took office to end the war.
Obama will officially mark the milestone with a prime time address to the nation from the Oval Office on Tuesday afternoon.
Barack Obama, US President, said, "On Tuesday, after more than 7 years, the United States of America will end its combat mission in Iraq and take an important step forward in responsibly ending the Iraq war. As a candidate for this office, I pledged I would end this war. As president, that is what I am doing."
The US slashed its troop numbers in Iraq to 50-thousand leading up to the withdrawal deadline. Everything from helicopters to printer cartridges were wrapped, stamped and shipped out of Iraq at the weekend.
US military bases that once resembled small towns have transformed into a cross between giant post offices and office depots.
Soldiers who battled insurgents and roadside bombs are now doing inventory and accounting. Their task now is to prepare for the long trip home after seven years of war.
Brigadier General Corson, US Army, said, "This is really the equivalent of moving a city of 80 thousand people with all of their automobiles, all of their household goods, and moving them 8000 miles back to the United States, as well as cleaning up and selling their homes."
The drawdown has been underway since late 2008, when the US began cutting troop numbers following a 170-thousand-strong surge.
Only 50-thousand US service personnel will remain in Iraq after August. Those remaining brigades will turn their focus to training and advising Iraqi security forces.
All US troops are supposed to leave and all bases close by the end of next year.
Major General Lanzi, US Army, said, "We say 'are the Iraq security forces ready?' They have shown they've been ready. We saw that during the elections, we've seen that during some major religious holidays. We have seen what they are capable of doing."
However, Iraq's national security still remains unstable. A potentially explosive conflict between Arabs and Kurds has not been resolved.
More than one and a half million Iraqis are still displaced after being driven from their homes by violence.
Suspected Sunni Islamist insurgents linked to al Qaeda have tried to exploit the political vacuum with persistent suicide bombings and assassinations.
The US withdrawal signals the end of one of the country's most costly wars.
Almost 1 trillion US dollars have been spent, while more than 44-hundred US soldiers and over 100-thousand Iraqi civilians have been killed since 2003.
Former US diplomat Frank Wisner says the US has paid a hefty price.
Frank Wisner, Former US Ambassador, said, "Just to go in because we have the capability is not a good idea. We have to be absolutely certain a vital national interest is met, and that we can sustain that interest into the future. Sustain it politically at home, sustain it internationally. That, I suspect we still have to prove to ourselves -- that the price was worth it.
Analysts predict Obama's address will be less about mission accomplished, and more about keeping his promise to end the war.
- Obama: End of combat mission in Iraq 2010-08-30
- US says further Iraq combat unlikely 2010-08-23
- Backgrounder: US combat troops pull out of Iraq 2010-08-20
- Pentagon says combat mission in Iraq continues through end of August 2010-08-20