» This Story:Read +|Watch +| Comments
» This Story:Read +|Watch +| Comments

Obama tells veterans that end of Iraq war is about to begin

Video
President Barack Obama declared Monday that the Iraq war was nearing an end "as promised and on schedule," touting what he called a success of his administration.

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
The Obama administration plans to withdraw all U.S. forces in Iraq by the end of 2011 while increasing troop presence in Afghanistan.
Discussion Policy
Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

President Obama began a month-long effort Monday to remind an American electorate fatigued by war that the U.S. military effort in Iraq is about to enter its end game.

This Story
This Story
View All Items in This Story
View Only Top Items in This Story

In a speech to the Disabled American Veterans national convention in Atlanta, the president said that beginning next month, the more than seven-year-old conflict will change from a primarily military enterprise to a diplomatic one.

Obama campaigned on winding down the Iraq war, and he used his remarks to veterans, a significant portion of whom did not support him in the election, to remind voters that he is carrying out those plans largely on schedule.

"The hard truth is we have not seen the end of American sacrifice in Iraq," the president told the group, which received his speech politely and with occasional applause. "But make no mistake: Our commitment in Iraq is changing -- from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats."

White House officials said Obama's speech will be followed in the weeks ahead by remarks from Vice President Biden and other senior administration officials about the drawdown. Although Obama opposed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, his administration says his management of the war represents one of his most important foreign policy successes.

The U.S. combat mission in Iraq will officially conclude at the end of the month, a milestone that comes after a steady troop pullout since Obama took office.

About 50,000 U.S. forces are scheduled to remain in Iraq after the combat mission is done. That means that by the end of August, about 94,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines will have left Iraq since Obama's inauguration.

The departure timetable -- originally negotiated with the Iraqi government by the George W. Bush administration -- calls for all U.S. troops to leave by the end of next year.

But Iraq remains a fragile nation, and its political leadership has warned of a potential power vacuum as U.S. forces withdraw.

Iraqi politicians have not agreed on a new coalition government nearly five months after national elections, and periodic attacks against fledgling Iraqi institutions and troops remain a threat to security.

"Obviously, we're doing what we can to help facilitate them along," White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton told reporters traveling with the president. "But when you consider that last time it took them six months to put together the government, the fact that there's a stable transitional government in place right now is a sign that this process is working."

White House officials billed Obama's remarks to the veterans group as a significant Iraq policy address, but a relatively small part of the roughly 20-minute speech was devoted to the subject. The president spoke most passionately about veterans benefits and received the most applause when he did.


CONTINUED     1        >


» This Story:Read +|Watch +| Comments
» This Story:Read +|Watch +| Comments
© 2010 The Washington Post Company

Network News

X My Profile