Pelosi: Iraq War Is Over Because of Obama’s ‘Leadership’ and ‘Bravery of Our Troops’

By Edwin Mora | December 15, 2011 | 3:54 PM EST

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

( - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) failed to give President Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush, any credit for ending the Iraq war, although Obama’s predecessor signed the 2008 agreement with Iraq to have all American ground troops home by the end of this year.

Obama enjoyed all the praises from Pelosi for ending the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that started in 2003 and left more than 4,500 U.S. soldiers dead.

“Today is a very special day. One that we have looked forward to for a very long time. It marks the ending of the war in Iraq. [Defense] Secretary [Leon] Panetta officially took down the flag and handed full responsibility over Iraq to the Iraqi people and its government,” Pelosi said during her weekly press conference Thursday.

“With this act because of the bravery of our troops, sacrifices of their family, and the leadership of President Obama, we are able to say the war in Iraq is over,” the minority leader told reporters Thursday. “Our troops are coming home, coming home for the holidays with their families,” Pelosi said.

She pointed out that Obama kept his campaign promise to end the Iraq war.

“President Obama promised to end the war in Iraq responsibly, promise made, promised kept,” said Pelosi.

She added that “150,000 troops were in Iraq when President Obama took office. That number will now be reduced to just a couple of thousand.”

“As we mark the end of the war, we must always thank our troops and their families for their service and sacrifice to our country. We honor the nearly 4,500 Americans who made this their ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and the tens of thousands of our service people who were wounded there,” the former speaker of the House added.

“It was a great honor for me to preside in the two previous Congresses, over sessions of Congress which did more for our veterans than any initiative since the GI bill was passed in 1944,” Pelosi said.

The Obama administration marked the official end of the war Thursday. In his recent speeches about ending the war in Iraq, Obama has not mentioned that in November 2008, right before leaving office, Bush struck a strategic framework agreement with Iraq establishing that U.S. forces would completely leave Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.

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At the conclusion of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq on Aug. 31, 2010, Obama said, “Consistent with our agreement with the Iraqi government, all U.S. troops will leave by the end of next year.” The president did not connect the agreement with Bush.

As he marked the end of the war Thursday with a salute to U.S. troops at Ft. Bragg, N.C., the president failed to mention either Bush or the 2008 agreement, but he did say the end of the war in Iraq “is an extraordinary achievement, nearly nine years in the making.”

Speaking from the Senate floor, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who ran against Obama in 2008, said on Wednesday, "It is clear that this decision of a complete pullout of United States troops from Iraq was dictated by politics, and not our national security interests. I believe history will judge this president’s leadership with the scorn and disdain it deserves.”

"All I will say is that, for three years, the president has been harvesting the successes of the very strategy that he consistently dismissed as a failure," added McCain, who is the ranking-member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "I imagine this irony was not lost on a few of our troops at Fort Bragg today, most of whom deployed and fought as part of the surge."