Mitchell Reports | October 21, 2011
>> the united states coming into the briefing room and announcing that as of the end of this year all of the u.s. troops will be out of iraq . all except for a handful or a small number protecting u.s. fa si facilities like the u.s. embassy . he said as promised, the iraq war -- america's war in iraq at least is over and the transition will be made to a new relationship with iraq 's government. the reason for this withdrawal, despite secretary pennetta wanting to keep 3,000 or 4,000 troop there's as trainers past the end of this0?!cjyear, the reason for not doing that is that iraq 's parliament, iraq 's government could not agree on granting legal immunity to american forces there. so they will be coming home . the president said they will be home for the holidays . jim miklaszewski is back with us from the pentagon. mik, this is a long history and it is the end of an era .
>> absolutely. as chris matthews said earlier, the iraq war was unpopular from the beginning. there were many up on capitol hill and some even in the military at the time questioning really the wisdom of going into iraq while you were trying to fight a war in afghanistan . of course the war in afghanistan went largely ignored as the troop surge and the numbers of troops in iraq really skyrocketed over the first four ye years. so because of that, you know, american troops are still slogging it out ten years later there in afghanistan. so, in terms of the kinds of trainers that we're going to be left behind that was part of the negotiation between the iraqis and the u.s. government and military quite frankly as to what it is they think they may have needed. but, you know, i never heard anybody within the senior leadership here within the military or pentagon strenuously arguing to keep those trainers inside iraq . they thought, well, it may be necessary to do this orb that or the other, but they didn't think it was absolutely critical to keep american trainers on the ground there in iraq . again, as we talked about earlier, any troops that would be assigned to the embassy would be granted diplomatic immunity . in terms of foreign arms sales, the iraqis would like to buy f-16s from the united states , that would take u.s. expertise in terms of maintenance and training, but those arrangements could be worked out on a case by case basis. clearly i found no resistance within the u.s. military to withdrawing. quite frankly , those inside iraq said we're getting to the point of no return. if the iraqis do not say they need these troops, we have to be out because once we start withdrawing all this gear, it's too expensive to then return it along with the troops. asth maliki told the president today, there's no way to get the troops left behind immunity, so the president had no choice, those troops have to come out.