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Aug 28, 2010 4:10 PM by Chris Welty

Obama: Iraq War is Ending, Baghdad to Chart Future

VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. (AP) - President Barack Obama said the
withdrawal ofD THUNDERSTORMS. ps from Iraq means "the war is
ending" and Baghdad is in position "to chart its own course."
Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday to
highlight Tuesday's formal end to U.S. combat missions in Iraq and
remind people that he's keeping a promise he made as a candidate in
the 2008 election.
Remaining troops will assume a backup and training role, a shift
Obama will underscore with a visit to Fort Bliss, Texas, on Tuesday
and then a prime-time speech to the nation from the Oval Office.
The events come on Aug. 31, the date he set last year for the
change in focus in the war.
U.S. troop strength dropped below 50,000 this past week, a
milestone also highlighted by the administration.
"In the months ahead, our troops will continue to support and
train Iraqi forces, partner with Iraqis in counterterrorism
missions and protect our civilian and military efforts," Obama
said, a day before ending his5 KNOTS. SEAS 2 TOineyard vacation to
travel to New Orleans and mark another somber date: the fifth
anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Driving home his point, the president said, "The bottom line is
this: The war is ending. Like any sovereign, independent nation,
Iraq is free to chart its own course. And by the end of next year,
all of our troops will be home."
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said while
"much hard work remains" in Iraq, "U.S. combat forces in Iraq
have done everything their country asked of them over the past
seven years. We owe them our deepest gratitude for all they have
done, are doing, and will continue to do in defense of our
nation."
The end to U.S. combat action in Iraq falls short of the
"mission accomplished" moment that bedeviled former President
George W. Bush, given the continuing violence and political
instability in Iraq and the ongoing commitment of remaining U.S.
troops. B010Obama seized on it as an opportunity to show he's
making good on a promise that was a driving force for his
presidential campaign, before his term in the White House was
overtaken by economic issues.
"As a candidate for this office, I pledged I would end this
war. As president, that is what I am doing," Obama said. "We have
brought home more than 90,000 troops since I took office. We have
closed or turned over to Iraq hundreds of bases. In many parts of
the country, Iraqis have already taken the lead for security."
Obama also pledged continued support for veterans and the
Veterans Affairs Department, noting that the Iraq and Afghanistan
wars produce different injuries than past conflicts.
"Too many suffer from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic
stress disorder - the signature injuries of today's wars - and too
few receive proper screening or care. We're changing that," Obama
said, calling it a "moral obWERStion."
The weekly Republican address focused on the economy and
government spending, with the party's Florida Senate candidate,
Marco Rubio, taking on the Democrats who run the show in the
capital.
"Today the American dream is threatened by out-of-control
politicians in Washington who think that more government deficit
spending is what it takes to grow our economy. That has never
worked anywhere it's been tried and it won't work now," Rubio
said.
He said he favors extending tax cuts that were passed under
President George W. Bush-era are scheduled to expire in January,
repealing Obama's health care law and ending what remains of the
stimulus legislation.

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