August 18th, 2010
09:45 PM ET

Last U.S Combat Convoy Leaves Iraq: Join the Live Chat

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

The last U.S. brigade combat team has left Iraq, leaving about 56,000 U.S. troops in the country. So, what happens now? We're digging deeper. Plus, we're tracking the cash needed for the N.Y. Islamic Center near Ground Zero. Some have claimed the money will come from sponsors of terrorism. We're keeping them honest. Plus, Dr. Laura Schlessinger on her racial rant. She's tonight's 'Big 360° Interview."

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

Filed under: Live Blog
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. norma

    Praise God the troops are coming home from Iraq, at least most of them.

    I wanted to say I agree totally with Pres Obama on the Islamic Center in NYC. This is the great USA with a constitution that guarantees the right for the building of the Center within the laws and ordinances that apply.
    However, I think it was unwise for them not to consider that to ALL Americans Ground Zero is sacred ground, and I wonder why they did not consider the sensitiviy to the decision.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  2. Kayteee

    How far is far enough?? Its already blocks away, its not on Ground Zero.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  3. carla

    if the mosque does not get build what do people get from that.....do they feel better because it is not there....it really doesn't change the fact that it happened.....nothing can change that and nothing can make it better...so they should build a gay community center there would people then feel better............or would they find a reason for that....it is not holy ground

    August 18, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  4. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA

    I have to agree that Muslims have been scapegoated......this continues to remind me of how we did a similar thing to Japanese citizens during World War II.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  5. charlie

    Dosen't New York have builing approval laws able to reflect the views of the city resident? If not so much for American democracy.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  6. Samantha Rowley - Nashville, TN

    What's interesting to me is that there are two existing mosques in the Lower Manhattan area today a few blocks away from the WTC: Masjid Manhattan established in 1970 and Masjid al-Farah established in 1985, long before 2001 occurred. Is there something more to this proposed mosque besides the sensitivity issue or assumed fears of a training ground for terrorists? Great for CNN to dig deeper on this issue.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  7. charlie

    So what would be the "acceptable" distance from ground zero. Los angeles?

    August 18, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  8. carla

    saudi arabia funds lots of oil wells in america shall we close them down

    August 18, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  9. David, Indiana

    Good evening John Roberts, Isabel, Emily, Starr, Megan, Sree, Nicole, everyone.

    It is good to see those troops leaving Iraq and coming home.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  10. Nancy in Oregon

    So now I'm confused and probably not following this story properly-but earlier on CNN tonight, someone said there is already a Muslim building there and the project is just a re-build. Is that the case?

    August 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  11. Emily

    and who is the Head of the Islamic Community?
    (Roman Catholics = Pope @ the Vatican; what about the Muslims & the Islamic Community?)

    August 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  12. charlie

    The way to avod having to worry about a child in the military would be for the parents to raise their children to nderstand that the US military is the most agressive in the world and they should not join it.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  13. Sue R. Canton MI.

    @Richard,,Sorry about your friends son,,and I will always be thankfull and continue to pray for the safety for all the brave men and women who are risking their life to keep our country safe.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  14. Emily

    @Nancy in Oregon
    "I like David Gergen's question: 'How do we think about this now? Yardsticks?'"

    I thought that was a great question too ... I don' t think that he really did get a sufficient answer. (at least not one that I understood).

    August 18, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  15. Janis Hewitt

    There is a generation of some Americans that probably don't know why we went to Iraq in the first place it went on so long. The length of a war may have alot to do with resolve not because we are impatient but we loose track. Can't keep "our eye on the ball" so to speak.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  16. Sharon Hastings

    I can hardly describe how I feel about this war. Pretty much the way I feel about any war. It's hard to get past the question of why we went there to begin with. No weapons of mass destruction. Al qaeda isn't even there. How are you supposed to feel about 4,400 Americans dead?

    August 18, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  17. Libby

    Martin– except that nothing on your list is why Bush sent our troops to Iraq. Remember– he sent them there because he said there were "weapons of mass destruction".

    August 18, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  18. Charley, a soldiers mom

    We are a military family and very proud of it. Thank God for all the troops that are being sent home from Iraq. I am so happy for their families. However, lets not forget the 56,000 troops that are left there to train, advise and assist. They need our continued love, support and prayers. I sincerely hope they are not spread too thin.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  19. Nancy in Oregon

    I'm so sorry for your friend, Richard. I think it would make me ache with worry to have a child in the military.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  20. Kenya

    Wonderful news...though I will have some peace of mind when ALL troops are back home safe and sound. Good evening John R. and bloggers.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  21. Emily

    Good evening 360°Team, Jo Ann, Mike, David & Isabel, Megan, Nicole, Sree, Nancy, Gloria, & Bloggers!

    August 18, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  22. charlie

    The lies associated with the justificatiion of the Iraq war have left a stain in US credibilty that will take generations to erase. Such tradegy after the wonderful example of the first gulf war (Liberating Kuwait) of international cooperation in a justified war. Geerge Bush senior was a true statesman, shame about his son.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  23. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Thanks for your kind word comfortable...... My heart goes to you and your friend and lost son.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  24. Nancy in Oregon

    It just seems so characteristic, deb northeast ohio: people seem to expect others to complete grieving processes, to 'grow up', to resolve difficulties way more quickly than can truly be humanly done (on any real or deep level, at least.) It's almost as if the public in general has a certain attention-deficit disorder! I can't imagine a situation like Iraq being addressed quickly. Can only imagine how deep and complex the whole situation really must be.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  25. Richard in WI

    why did we go to iraq? will there be a discussion on that question? also 700 billion dollars when we now fight about spending

    August 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  26. marie

    We went in because Congress was sold a back of lies and opened up our check books.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  27. martin pederson

    We got everything accomplished that we were set out to do. We got rid of Suddam and we established a government for them. Just hope they are able to police themselves and keep the insurgants at bay.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  28. Brad Ohio

    Good evening John and everyone! God bless our troops! Its a good feeling to come home from overseas, I know all too well myself.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
  29. Richard

    my friend lost a son in this war – why did the us go to iraq? are any guess going to discuss that

    August 18, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  30. Rosalie

    I believe this is a great night. I wish we could get the rest of the forces out and look forward to getting out of many other places we should leave. We do not help in so many cases – we merely inflame situations.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  31. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    David Gergen and Ryan Crocker are absolutely right, they should leave anytime, I think there are staying there in Iraq, Right now, 50,00
    troops will leave and others troops stay half in Iraq.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  32. Nancy in Oregon

    I like David Gergen's question: 'How do we think about this now? Yardsticks?'

    August 18, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  33. deb northeast ohio

    well said nancy in oregon

    August 18, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  34. carla

    obama is doing what he said he would do when he was running for president.....you have to respect that

    August 18, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  35. Samantha Rowley - Nashville, TN

    We may be pulling out of Iraq but there is still work to do in Afghanistan. Friends (in the military) tell me this country is far different than Iraq was and much more dangerous. For the remaining 56,000 troops, we need to keep them in mind and pray for their safe return someday.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  36. Nancy in Oregon

    Yes, I agree with Mr. Crocker....public expectations regarding speed of progress were always a little high in Iraq, it seemed to me. I think on some level we expect situations to almost mimic films and dramas...getting it done and sewn up swiftly. Not to literally mimic, mind you, but I think our expectations do tend to include an amount of impatience and lack of ability to grasp real life complexities. (Not only in Iraq! In many situations!)

    August 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  37. James

    hello all. first thing i think is finally!

    August 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  38. Sue R. Canton MI.

    Good evening everyone.
    Looking forward to the show tonight.

    It's so good to hear that most of our troops will be coming home from Iraq.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  39. marie

    too many lost for a lost cause.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  40. Janis Hewitt

    I can't believe this war has lasted so long. You loose perspective on how to accomplish anything there.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:06 pm |
  41. deb northeast ohio

    those striker vehicles look like something out of mad max!
    So happy the troops had safe passage on the road which has been plagued by violence in the past

    August 18, 2010 at 10:04 pm |
  42. Janis Hewitt

    I pray for the 50,000 left. Hope combat doesn't become a way of life instead of advising for them.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:04 pm |
  43. Sharon Hastings

    Good evening again John Roberts and to all bloggers too. I'm so glad they're coming home from Iraq.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
  44. Janis Hewitt

    Good evening 360ers.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
  45. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    There is breaking that our troopers will come home as soon as possible from Iraq.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  46. mardy

    Glad they're coming home. Hope it all works out.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  47. Nancy in Oregon

    Good evening, people. Those troops and their families must be so happy! Or at least very relieved.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  48. marie

    evening all

    August 18, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  49. Samantha Rowley - Nashville, TN

    Good evening John and fellow bloggers!

    It's nice to see that the troops are coming home.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  50. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Helloooo John (Anderson,) Megan, Joe, Nicole, Emily, Gloria, Dodie, Mike, Casey, Cessy, Paula, Isabel, David-Indiana, JoAnn, Monica, Kathy, Jane, Gayle, Renee, Caroline, Lori, Adelaide, BettyAnn, Heather, Starr, Sharon, Gabriela, A. Smith, Devin, Karin, Michael, Karen, Miranda, Charlotte, Sree, Nancy, Sue, Kenya, Libby, Nina others and my friend Facebook Bloggers!!!!

    Thanks for coming in for join us tonight! 😀
    Happy Wednesday night!

    August 18, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
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