The Beginning of the End

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President Barack Obama will speak from the Oval Office Tuesday night, marking the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq. But he isn't expected to make the mistake of saying something like, "mission accomplished."

Just less than 50,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq-down from a peak of nearly 170,000 during the 2007 surge. And this fall, about 1,500 citizen soldiers from Idaho, 600 from Oregon and 600 from Montana will be heading into an Iraqi operation known as New Dawn. The men and women are members of the 116th Cavalry Brigade.

Ostensibly they'll be trainers but in practice, they'll be soldiers who will likely perform some combat duties. Rarely a day goes by in Iraq without some loss of life and large attacks such as last week's violence that killed 56 people still happen with regularity.

The president addresses the nation at 6 p.m. mountain time.

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