President told an audience of soldiers at Fort Bragg that the final pullout after nearly nine years of conflict is a 'historic' moment
Chris McGreal in Washington
Barack Obama marked an end to a war he once described as "dumb" by declaring the conflict in Iraq a success and saying the last US troops will leave in the coming days with their "heads held high".
The president told an audience of soldiers at Fort Bragg that the final pullout from Iraq after nearly nine years of war is a "historic" moment and that the country they leave behind is "an extraordinary achievement".
"Dozens of bases with American names that housed thousands of American troops have been closed down or turned over to the Iraqis. Thousands of tons of equipment have been packed up and shipped out. Tomorrow, the colours of United States Forces Iraq, the colours you fought under, will be formally cased in a ceremony in Baghdad," he said. "One of the most extraordinary chapters in the history of the American military will come to an end. Iraq's future will be in the hands of its people. America's war in Iraq will be over."
The president said the last US troops will leave in the coming days, travelling south across the desert by much the same route that American, British and coalition forces attacked Iraq in 2003.
Obama hinted at the military and diplomatic quagmire he inherited from a Bush administration that had promised Americans a quick and easy war that would see Iraqis scattering flowers at the feet of US soldiers. Instead, the American invasion unleashed a conflict - part civil war, part anti-occupation - that dragged on for years.
But the president, who came to power promising to end the war, said that for all the suffering, the result was success.
"We knew this day would come. We've known it for some time. But still there is something profound about the end of a war that has lasted so long," said Obama. "It's harder to end a war than begin one. Everything that American troops have done in Iraq - all the fighting, all the dying, the bleeding and the building and the training and the partnering, all of it has landed to this moment of success."