U.S. general returns from Iraq with Baghdad flag

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 20, 2011 11:53 AM
U.S. general returns from Iraq with Baghdad flag

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The last commander of U.S. forces in Iraq returns to the United States on Tuesday carrying the command flag that flew over Baghdad.

General Lloyd Austin, who oversaw the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops in Iraq, is scheduled to be met by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden shortly after noon EST at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, the White House said.

The last convoy of U.S. soldiers crossed into Kuwait from Iraq on Sunday, ending nearly nine years of war that cost the lives of almost 4,500 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis.

The pullout was the fulfillment of an election pledge by Obama to bring troops home from a conflict inherited from his predecessor George W. Bush.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson. Editing by Peter Bohan)