(WASHINGTON) — President Obama made bold statements in his Iraq withdrawal announcement on Oct. 21: “So today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year.” And: “Today, I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.”
The reality is not every U.S. troop from Iraq will be home for the holidays. ABC News’ Martha Raddatz reports there is a good chance the 1st Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division based in Ft. Hood, Texas will have to stay in Kuwait for a few more months.
Some of the forces still in Iraq will go to Kuwait and then transition back home; some will stick around in Kuwait for a period of time, a senior defense official said. “The vast majority by far will be home by the holidays,” another official said.
One official said that some troops – numbering “something less than a brigade” – will remain in Kuwait for a certain period of time. The official referenced possibly 3,000 to 4,000 troops, and then acknowledged that the details have not been worked out with the Kuwaitis.
“A very small percentage,” will stay behind in Kuwait, the official said, adding that those who have only served part of their deployments in Iraq by Dec. 31 will likely be the ones who stay behind in Kuwait.
The final withdrawal from Iraq has been precipitous. There were more than 39,000 American service members in Iraq on Oct. 21, when the president announced the troops would be coming home. The last American troop associated with the war in Iraq will be out of the country this month.
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