Tags: Obama | speech | iraq | combat | mission

Obama Ends Iraq Combat Effort: 'Time to Turn Page'

Tuesday, 31 Aug 2010 06:14 PM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
WASHINGTON – Claiming no victory, President Barack Obama formally ended the U.S. combat role in Iraq after seven long years of bloodshed, declaring firmly Tuesday night: "It's time to turn the page." Now, he said, the nation's most urgent priority is fixing its own sickly economy.

From the Oval Office, where George W. Bush first announced the invasion that would come to define his presidency, Obama addressed millions who were divided over the war in his country and around the world. Fiercely opposed to the war from the start, he said the United States "has paid a huge price" to give Iraqis the chance to shape their future — a cost that now includes more than 4,400 troops dead, tens of thousands more wounded and hundreds of billions of dollars spent.

In a telling sign of the domestic troubles weighing on the United States and his own presidency, Obama turned much of the emphasis in a major war address to the dire state of U.S. joblessness. He said the Iraq war had stripped America of money needed for its own prosperity, and he called for an economic commitment at home to rival the grit and purpose of a military campaign.

In his remarks of slightly less than 20 minutes, only his second address from the Oval Office, Obama looked directly into the TV camera, hands clasped in front of him on his desk, family photos and the U.S. and presidential flags behind him. His tone was somber.

Even as he turns control of the war over to the Iraqis — and tries to cap one of the most divisive chapters in recent American history — Obama is escalating the conflict in Afghanistan. He said that winding down Iraq would allow the United States "to apply the resources necessary to go on offense" in Afghanistan, now the nation's longest war since Vietnam.

As for Iraq, for all the finality of Obama's remarks, the war is not over. More Americans are likely to die. The country is plagued by violence and political instability, and Iraqis struggle with constant shortages of electricity and water.

Obama is keeping up to 50,000 troops in Iraq for support and counterterrorism training, and the last forces are not due to leave until the end of 2011 at the latest.

As the commander in chief over a war he opposed, Obama took pains to thank troops for their sacrifice but made clear he saw the day as more the marking of a mistake ended than a mission accomplished.

He spoke of strained relations with allies, anger at home and the heaviest of wartime tolls.

"We have met our responsibility," Obama said. "Now it is time to turn the page."

To underscore his point, Obama said he had telephoned called Bush, whom he had taunted so often in the 2008 campaign, and praised the former Republican president in the heart of his speech.

"It's well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset," Obama said. "Yet no one could doubt President Bush's support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security."

In a post-Sept. 11, 2001, world, the Iraq war began with bipartisan congressional backing — based on what turned out to be flawed intelligence — over what Bush called a "grave danger" to the world posed by Saddam Hussein. Hussein is gone and Iraqis live in greater freedom.

Yet Iraq's leaders are unable to form a new government long after March elections that left no clear winner. The uncertainty has left an opening for insurgents to pound Iraqi security forces, hardly the conditions the U.S. envisioned when Obama set the Aug. 31 transition deadline last year.

Obama pressed Iraq's leaders, saying it was time to show urgency and be accountable.

He also sought both to assure his own nation that the war was finally winding down and yet also promise Iraq and those watching across the Middle East that the U.S. was not simply walking away.

"Our combat mission is ending," he said, "but our commitment to Iraq's future is not."

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Report: Obama Sets Record for Presidential Memoranda

Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 23:10 PM

From policy on gun control to immigration and labor regulations, President Barack Obama has issued more presidential mem . . .

American Jailed for 15 Years for Helping Al-Qaeda

Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 22:13 PM

A naturalized American was jailed for 15 years in Miami on Wednesday for conspiring to provide thousands of dollars to A . . .

Gizzi: Obama Ignores Rep. Sanford on Ending Cuban Travel Ban

Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 22:12 PM

The White House never briefed nor gave advance notice to the congressman who first introduced legislation that contained . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved