Obama announces end to Iraq War

U.S. soldiers take a rest in the shade of armoured vehicles at a courtyard at Camp Liberty in Baghdad September 30, 2011. U.S troops are scheduled to pull out of the country by the end of this year, according to a 2008 security pact between the U.S. and Iraq. Picture taken September 30, 2011. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen (IRAQ – Tags: CONFLICT POLITICS MILITARY)

President Obama just announced in a news conference that all American troops in Iraq will be withdrawn by the end of the year, and the troops will be home for the holidays.

This was expected, but it’s still monumental. After spending trillions of dollars and suffering thousands of American casualties, we’re finally leaving Iraq.

The U.S. was open to keeping trainers in Iraq past the end of the year, but the Iraqi government would not grant immunity to American soldiers, so we told them to forget it.

Reports that Muammar Gaddafi was killed in Sirte

Residents celebrate at Martyrs square in Tripoli October 20, 2011 after hearing the news that former leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed in Sirte. Gaddafi died in an attack by NTC fighters, a senior NTC official said on Thursday. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny (LIBYA – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

Libyans are celebrating with the reports that Muammar Gaddafi was killed in Sirte. It’s not completely confirmed but more reports are trickling in.

This is further validation of the policies President Obama pursued in Libya in the face of withering criticism from the left and the right. It’s an example of how air power can work, and how we can avoid problems when we don’t send our troops.

Osama bin Laden killed by U.S. forces

Citizens of New York City gather at Ground Zero to celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden. DP/AAD/starmxinc.com

Finally.

We can all celebrate the killing of Osama bin Laden in our own way. Many took to the streets near the White House, Ground Zero and other landmarks. College students at Ohio State jumped into Mirror Lake, an act usually reserved for Michigan weekend. Many were jubilant. Others were somber as well as this brought back the horror and pain of 9/11.

It shouldn’t have taken 10 years, but at least this murderer is finally dead.

Republicans block benefits for 9/11 first responders

After demagoguing 9/11 for the past decade and constantly talking about the heroes of that terrible time, the Republicans blocked benefits for 9/11 first responders. Many of the have become seriously ill and some have died due to what they had to breath while responding to the terrorist attack. Jon Stewart lets them have it.

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Obama will close Gitmo

President Obama continues the clean break from the policies of the Bush administration. Today he signed new executive orders regarding the closure of the Guantanamo detention facility within a year, the review of military trials of terror suspects and a ban of the harshest interrogation techniques. Obama made his intentions clear:

The message we are sending around the world is that the US intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism and we are going to do so vigilantly, we are going to do so effectively, and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals … We intend to win this fight, and we intend to win it on our terms.

I find it interesting that he did not use the phrase “war on terror.” I have no idea if that was intentional, but as I’ve said in the past that phrase was always overly broad and misleading. Hopefully we can move beyond simple slogans to a more sophisticated policy that effectively fights those who wish to do us harm and rebuilds our bonds with moderate and peace-seeking peoples around the world.

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