By Ashley Peard,Whetsonte staff writer

Combat troops were pulled out of Iraq Aug. 31 after fighting there for more than seven years.

Students were happy to hear this.

“It’s amazing that they are starting to bring our people home,” said senior Amanda Sanchez. “My brother was a Green Beret in a green zone and I know what it’s like to miss someone.”

More than 4,400 lives were lost in operation Iraqi Freedom, which began in March 2003 when the United States entered Iraq on the assumption that former dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

No WMDs existed but Hussein was overthrown.

“It’s about time!” said Alex Lopuchin, a senior. “My cousin fought in Iraq, and I am glad they are no longer sending people.”

Fifty-thousand troops and advisers will remain in a non-combative role.

“We are ending the war,” said PJ Crowley, a spokesman for the state department. “But we are not ending our work in Iraq. We have a long term commitment.”

Tension in the Middle East continues, however.

The United States has switched its attention to Afghanistan, where it has more than 100,000 troops.

Combat is not scheduled to cease in Afghanistan until July of next year.