Obama declares end of US combat mission in Iraq

2010-09-01 07:21

Washington, US. – President Barack Obama has ended the US combat mission in Iraq, declaring no victory after seven years of bloodshed, and telling those divided over the war in his country and around the world: “It is time to turn the page.”

From the White House’s Oval Office yesterday, where George W Bush first announced the invasion that would come to define his presidency, Obama said bluntly: “Our most urgent task is to restore our economy.”

It was a telling of the domestic troubles weighing on Obama’s nation and his own presidency that, in a war address, he would put such emphasis on the dire state of US joblessness.

Even as he tries to cap one of the most divisive chapters in recent American history, Obama is escalating the conflict in Afghanistan.

He pledged anew that the United States would keep up the fight in that war, the longest one since Vietnam.

And in Iraq, for all the finality, the war is not over. More Americans probably will 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 counter-terrorism 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 moment more as a mistake ended than a mission accomplished.

He spoke of strained relations with allies, anger at home and a “huge price” of the highest order.

The toll includes more than 4 400 US troops dead and many more Iraqis, tens of thousands more Americans wounded, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent.

To underscore his point of ending the divisiveness over Iraq, Obama said he had called Bush, whom he had taunted so often in the 2008 presidential campaign.

He prominently 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 the aftermath of the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, the Iraq war began with bipartisan congressional backing, based on what turned out to be flawed intelligence that Iraq was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.

Today, Iraq is in political turmoil, its leaders unable to form a new government long after March elections that left no clear winner.

The uncertainty has created an opening for insurgents to pound Iraqi security forces, hardly the conditions the United States envisioned for this transition deadline, which Obama announced 18 months ago.

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

At once, Obama sought to assure Americans that the war was finally winding down, and yet also promise Iraq and those watching across the Middle East that the US was not simply walking away.

“Our combat mission is ending,” he said, “but our commitment to Iraq’s future is not.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.