On Thursday afternoon Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will hold a quiet ceremony in Baghdad where he will formerly announce the withdrawal of American Troops just in time for the holidays.
Under a US-Iraq agreement U.S. troops were to be withdrawn from the region by December 31, 2011, however after eight years, eight months and 25 days Panetta plans to bring American military personnel home a few weeks early.
In celebration of the occasion Panetta will then leave with his staff followed by the troops guarding the ceremony.
While the withdrawal is a time for celebration among military families the response from Iraqi citizens has been met with mixed emotions. In celebration of the news thousands of people burned American and Israeli flags over the last several days while one resident told the Washington Post :
“What’s the point of lighting a candle at the beginning of a tunnel when you know you will be walking in darkness?” he asked. “I am happy they are going, but I know my happiness won’t last for long.”
It’s still unclear how much sectarian violence will be witnessed in the area, since the war began more than 100,000 Iraqi citizens and 4,487 American lives were lost.
Are you happy that American troops are being sent home after nearly one decade of fighting in the region?