Nightly News   |  October 22, 2011

Mixed emotions over Iraq announcement

President Barack Obama announced Friday that he was withdrawing all troops from Iraq by the end of 2011, but a war that caused controversy when it started is raising just as many questions as it ends. NBC's Mike Taibbi reports.

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LESTER HOLT, anchor: President Obama 's announcement yesterday that all American troops will come home from Iraq by year's end has a war weary nation pondering some difficult questions. Chief among them, ' Was it worth it ?' Strictly by the numbers, it

has cost a lot: 4,469 Americans killed, more than 32,000 wounded, at a price of more than $700 billion. In the process, a tyrant, Saddam Hussein , was toppled, but the elected government now in charge is weak, and, in the view of many, corrupt. And now as the war ends, those Americans who fought in it and those who lost precious loved ones because of it have a lot to say. NBC 's Mike Taibbi has more.

MIKE TAIBBI reporting: the date certain by which all those serving in Iraq will be home for good. The war's veterans welcome the news. From South Carolina ...

Across the country, they've been waiting for this: It's about time. We've been wanting this for a while now.

Unidentified Man #1: Washington state .

TAIBBI: We did our job. We're coming home .

Unidentified Man #2: The military spouses and children are thrilled, of course.

TAIBBI: And it's going to be wonderful having everybody reunited again.

Unidentified Woman: It's coming to an end. That it's just a relief for everybody.

Unidentified Boy: And even a mother who lost her son to the war, Mary Convoy , whose son Jack was killed in 2006 , is happy now for the parents of other sons and daughters who will soon be home.

TAIBBI: I have a sense of relief. I'm not going to lie. I feel like we did a really good job in Iraq .

Ms. MARY CONVOY: But early on, a controversial war that demanded no national commitment was what some called a friends and family war, meaning only friends and family of those who were serving would likely care deeply and personally about how it was going. Retired Colonel Jack Jacobs , an NBC analyst and

TAIBBI: Most people don't have any connection. There's no skin in the game. You have to knock on something like 150 doors today before you'll find a household from which somebody is serving.

Congressional Medal of Honor recipient: Thus, much of the country soured quickly on a war that seemed endless or pointless and unquestionably costly. No surprise then that many greeted the announced ending of the war with bitterness. Retired Sergeant Chris

Colonel JACK JACOBS, Retired: We're losing family members that -- for no reason now, and I lost three of my best friends out there.

TAIBBI: And Laura Sharma in Los Angeles , who'll get to hug her son in a few

Tschida, injured himself: We should have never been there.

Sergeant CHRIS TSCHIDA, Retired: The war and now the post-war as controversial as ever. Mike Taibbi , NBC News, New