East Texans react to Iraq troop drawdown - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texans react to Iraq troop drawdown

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - On Friday, President Obama told Americans he plans to have all US troops withdrawn from Iraq by the end of this year.

It's good news to many-- especially the soldiers who have been fighting in Iraq for the last eight years, since the war began.

The US has sacrificed more than 4,000 soldiers' lives, 32,000 soldiers have been wounded and the more than $700B has been spent.

Many East Texans who have been living this war first hand by fighting themselves, or supporting loved ones who are. They say, the draw down was expected, but unfortunately it's not the end of the fighting.

Mother of four, Tracy Malone has two sons serving in the military. Both have fought the war in Iraq.

Malone says Obama's announcement wasn't a surprise, just the next step in wrapping up this battle, "We've really fulfilled our mission there and the president is making the right decision. If he can't protect our soldiers he needs to bring them home."

Ben Bevans is another East Texan who actually fought in the war himself. In 2003, 2004 and again from '05 to '06.

He says it's time this war is came to and end

Bevans says, "Our losses and what we went though just didn't validate any reason to go over there to begin with."

And while one war is ending, that doesn't mean war-time is over for the Malone family, it's just the beginning of another

"When he told me he was going back, I was just pretty well devastated. I said, 'Patrick, just tell him your mother said you can't go,'" Malone recalled.

Malone says her whole family hasn't spent a Christmas together since 2007, and this year won't be any different

Malone says, "It's his job, it's what he does, it's what he believes in. So mommy just needs a thick skin."

And as hard as maintaining that thick skin is, Malone says she's proud of her sons.
And their hearts for serving others

A White House official says there will still be security detail attached to the US Embassy in Baghdad -- along with thousands of contractors.

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