When are the troops coming home?President Obama said the troops would be brought home, but they haven't. Why is that?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The matter of wars being fought in different areas of the world, as well as continuing U.S. Military operations in the Middle East, makes this a more subjective question. Obviously, there are absolutely objective reasons why U.S. Armed Forces remain in battle, but there are also public opinion -- subjective -- reasons, and probably many backstage facts that are not publicly known.

For example: the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 resulted in first the toppling of existing government, and then a continued occupation by troops while the region attempted to stabilize -- it was a long process. As of today, combat troops have been fully withdrawn from Iraq (08-18-2011) while multinational support forces -- including U.S. soldiers -- remain in the region to assist the Iraqi government. As you can see, this is a case where the official war -- Operation Iraqi Freedom -- has been declared finished, but non-combat personnel remain. It's a tricky area.

As far as Afghanistan goes, there are more details about the various operations involved than can be summed up in a discussion post. The current status is that many supporting nations are withdrawing or have withdrawn their own troops -- Canada, for example, has completely withdrawn -- and while President Obama has made several references to withdrawal, there are still many troops on the ground and the fighting continues daily. There is a case to be made on either side -- you can argue that we should withdraw completely and let them sort out their own issues -- you can argue that our presence is keeping Al Quaeda and the Taliban busy so they can't launch as many attacks on outside targets -- but in the end, we as civilians can only make our opinions known and hope somebody is listening.

As far as Libya is concerned, Allied forces there have been extended for another 90 days; we could withdraw now, but our track record suggests that we will have troops on the ground there for a long time.

To straight-up blame Obama for failing to withdraw troops from the various hot-spots around the world is to ignore the larger issues, as well as assuming that we know everything our government knows. Remember, Obama also said he would close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and as of today has not started a process -- my subjective view: it was a campaign promise and after inauguration he was given new information that changed his mind, information that, as a candidate, he could not have known. I can apply this supposition to almost any change in policy.

There are more reasons for political action in heaven and earth than are known in any single, subjective philosophy.





wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Actually, many of the troops have come home. In previous wars, like in Vietnam, American troops pulled out and left too quickly. The people were devastated and we left a lot of chaos behind. Since then, we have tried to learn from our mistakes. The troops are being withdrawn slowly from the areas they have been deployed to. It seems like it's taking forever, but the troops are slowly being withdrawn. Unfortunately, the wars in other places have intensified. Some of the troops are being moved to other areas rather than coming home. There is an official time line for troop withdrawal from places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
megan-bright eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is one of the questions I have asked myself. I was elated when he was elected for various reasons, one being that we would finally see an end to this war and an end to so many lives being lost senselessly. Even though there is such a thing as "slow pullouts" it still should not take this long. I agree with those who said we will never know the true motives nor the behind the scenes secret discussions and things of that nature. I'm sure the picture is much bigger than what President Obama, or any one person, can handle. There may be some secret threats, blackmaling and things of that nature going on behind the scenes.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a difficult question, as would it be morally right for Obama to withdraw troops completely whilst Afghanistan is still in a very lawless state, that America's invasion largely helped to create in the first place? This is a very controversial point, I know, but we must recognise the impact that invading a country has on its people and how it produces rampant instability. Troops have been withdrawn, but when the rest will be removed is a question that only the passing of time will tell us.

bigdreams1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the only answer to that question is, we will never know. Politicians will promise things to appease the people and garner votes for the next election even when they know they cannot deliver on those promises.  So I believe that Obama (as would most politicians) will keep the troops over there as long as he needs to...but tell the American people what they want to hear.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would have to say: not soon enough. Historically, we have been fighting wars for reasons people simply do not understand. As a country, there has always been controversy about sending troops into places we (as Americans) simply are not wanted. The truth is, we will always have troops somewhere. They will never, unfortunately, all come home.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator


Some troops have come home. I doubt all of them will ever come home. If not this war, there'll be another. However the war in Afghanistan is turning out to be trickier than we thought, and that's the main reason we have not taken most of the troops home.

ripe-tide | Student
  • i think we should just blow the hsit out of it when there was no troops there