After almost nine years and nearly 5,000 American fatalities, President Obama announced today that, "the coming months will be a season of homecomings. Our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays."
This is good news for the troops, their families, and all of us, that this war is finally coming to an end. There are currently 39,000 troops in the country and only 150 will stay behind. The United States needs to continue to respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi people while ensuring continued humanitarian support as needed. Still, there remain unanswered questions as to what this will mean for U.S. contractors, intelligence community activity, and other military operations.
For our troops, danger is not over once they are home. 2010 was the second year that more U.S. soldiers committed suicide than died in combat with 468 dead from suicide and 462 dead from combat.
Religious communities need to reach out to returning veterans to make sure that they have the physical, emotional, and spiritual support they need. No matter what your view on the war, it is all of our responsibilities to be healers for those who are coming home.
We also must pray and work for peace in Iraq. The effects of the war will be felt in that country for decades and generations to come. Our responsibility does not end just because our military presence has.
Pray for Americans, pray for Iraqis, and pray for all of God's children.
Jim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street - A Moral Compass for the New Economy, and CEO of Sojourners. He blogs at www.godspolitics.com. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimWallis.