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Obama: All Troops Out of Iraq By Christmas

If this isn't the best news of the day, I don't know what is.

In a surprise announcement today, President Barack Obama said that all troops would be out of Iraq by the end of the year.

"Today I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays," Obama said in a statement in the White House press room.

“After nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over,” Obama said.

The original plan was to leave approximately 40,000 troops behind to help the Iraqis further transition into their new government and society, as well as to stabilize the country.

A new plan would leave approximately 150 soldiers behind to negotiate arms sales between the two countries. Everyone else will be coming home in time for the holidays.

CNN reports that part of the reason for leaving now, rather than later, is that Iraq refused to grant American troops immunity from prosecution. The President was not about to let American troops, already in harm's way defending a nation that is not their own, be subject to political trials and persecutions for their bravery. And thus, the men and women will be coming home in the next few months.

Oddly enough, the heroes in this story may be US Army Private Bradley Manning and Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange. It was Wikileaks' release of a private cable that argued that the American government lied about the deaths of Iraqi civilians, including children, in 2006. The government originally said that the civilians were killed by an airstrike, when it turns out they were likely killed illegally by United States troops in a raid.

So, thank you Julian, for leaking the information that led to the end of the Iraq War. Who would have guessed it — a war started by Bush and his lies about WMD was ended by the leak of more lies about the deaths of civilians.

Whatever the case, this will be the best Christmas this country has seen in nine, long years. And now...is Afghanistan next? I certainly hope so.

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To comment on this (or any of my columns), visit my user page at Benzinga. You can also reach me by email john@benzinga.com or on twitter @johndthorpe.

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