In February 2009, President Barack Obama announced that U.S. combat troops would leave Iraq by August 30, 2010, after six years of fighting in that Middle Eastern nation. Currently, there are about 124,000 U.S. troops there—all other nations have withdrawn their soldiers. Since the U.S. entered Iraq in 2003 to get rid of Saddam Hussein, its dictator, at least 4,200 American soldiers have died and more than 30,000 have been seriously wounded. The men and women serving in Iraq have been trying to keep the peace in that nation as they put their lives on the line every day.
Most experts believe that as many as 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq after the August 30 date. They will be there to help keep a shaky peace and make sure that Iraq’s government can operate.
Since 2001, U.S. troops have also been fighting a war on terror in Afghanistan. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan to get rid of the Taliban, the group of men who controlled the country. Currently, there are 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. On December 1, the President announced that he would send another 30,000 soldiers to help fight the Taliban in areas they control. More than 800 American soldiers have died while fighting there.
Besides the troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, there are about 1.4 million men and women serving in the armed forces in the United States and around the world. Their important mission: To help make sure the U.S. stays safe.
For their courage in serving their country at all costs, the United States Armed Forces are nominees for TFK Persons of the Year 2009.