7,607. 8/31/2010

As American troops planned to pull out of Iraq on August 31, 2010, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki “marked the occasion…with a national address proclaiming his country ‘sovereign and independent.’ …’If these security achievements were not real, we would not have been able to move to executing the bigger and more important step, which is the withdrawal of American forces that is happening today,’ he said. ‘We do not view the withdrawal as an accomplishment of one person, or one party or one sect or one ethnicity; it is an achievement for all Iraqis. … And it represents a golden opportunity to strengthen national unity and a starting point to build Iraq after decades of destruction and suffering.’ ”

 – Alan Silverleib, “U.S. Combat Mission in Iraq Ends,” CNN, Sep. 1, 2010

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