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Family of West Michigan native killed in Iraq "conflicted" over end of combat mission

Family of West Michigan native killed in Iraq "conflicted" over end of combat mission
Posted at 9:48 PM, Jul 26, 2021

WYOMING, Mich. — After nearly two decades, the U.S. combat mission in Iraq is coming to an end.

President Joe Biden made the announcement on Monday during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

By 2022, the main focus for troops will be on assisting the country’s forces through training and intelligence sharing, not fighting on their behalf.

The two countries agreed on the transition in April, but at the time declined to specify when it would happen.

Biden did not say if he plans to bring home any of the roughly 2,500 soldiers still overseas.

“It gets softer as time goes on, but special things [like] holidays, birthdays, the anniversary of his death, and now news of this withdrawal… it hurts,” said John Burri, who lives in Wyoming.

Burri’s son, Army Spc. Eric Burri, died in 2005 near Baghdad after an IED detonated by his vehicle. He was 21 years old.

“He joined because he remembered 9/11 and he wanted to make a difference,” Burri said. “He wanted to do something that would be something that would be helpful for others.”

Burri calls the move conflicting. He explains while he believes the United States has been in the area for too long and the war took too many lives, he wants peace and freedom for its people, which he fears may go away without the military’s presence.

“I want everyone to be home, but I just hope, like I said, it’s not in vain,” Burri said. “That the Iraqi people and the Afghanis will stand up and continue to fight for that freedom that our loved ones gave their all for.”