In a recent address to the nation, President Barack Obama claimed that the troops were coming home for the holidays. He readdressed the pledge he made after taking office to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home. The president says by the end of the year the remaining troops, tens of thousands of them, will begin packing their gear and return to the United States. The war in Iraq will finally be over. It seems like nine years of war would have resulted in a definite result.
Yes, the evil boogey man has danced at the end of a rope and the bearded terror has gone on to meet his maker, with the assistance of the U.S. Navy Seals. Nevertheless, will the U.S. actually leave Iraq to its own accord? The weapons of mass destruction were never found in the petroleum-laden cradle of civilization.  According to data from the United States Department of State website “The number of U.S. troops in Iraq is now below 50,000, according to U.S. military statements made on August 24, 2010” To date the president claims to have brought home some 100,000 soldiers and the Iraqis have taken full responsibility for their country’s security. The country will welcome the troops back with open arms and hail them heroes as should be.
However, is the U.S. ready to support our protectors? The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows over the past ten years the unemployment rate has averaged about 6.7 percent. Currently the rate is 9.1 percent and the last two years saw rates of 9.3 percent and 9.6 percent. The trends show that traditionally the unemployment rates are lower in the first half of the year and take a sharp rise in the last quarter of the year.
Will the troops returning home be able to find work? According to a summary done in 2010 by The Bureau of Labor Statistics, returning soldiers who left military service were more likely to find employment than civilians were.  The United States Army offers incentives during the recruitment phase that enable those who have served to attend college after their tour of duty is complete.
According to the www.goarmy.com, soldiers who have served 90 or more days on active duty on or after September 11, 2001, are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The Bill provides up to 36 months of benefits for education at an institution of higher learning. Benefits of the program include tuition, fees, a monthly living allowance, books and supplies. Benefits can also be transferred to a spouse or dependent children. Soldiers who decide to train in medical fields in the military are also able to take advantage of benefits and bonuses for specific medical studies.
All military branches offer college benefits for those who serve; this is a bonus to those who will be returning to find the job market not exactly welcoming. The remaining question is when will our troops in Afghanistan come home. With a completely different mission, the unconventional methods that the war has forced upon our military have caused changes in the traditional operational procedures. With recent removals of the higher-ranking structure in Taliban and Al Qaeda, the hope of a defined government and national security force will permit more U.S. troops to return stateside.
The American public is dealing with an elevated unemployment issue but President Obama offers his American Jobs Act as a solution to a potential disaster. He even provided a “Returning Heroes” hiring tax credit for veterans. This will provide tax credits from $5,600 to $9,600 to encourage the hiring of unemployed veterans. “Without a doubt, the most urgent challenge that we face right now is getting our economy to grow faster and to create more jobs…. we can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will,” said President Barack Obama
Hopefully, for our returning heroes, his big plan will work.

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