Gaddafi, Iraq 'show renewed US leadership'

2011-10-22 17:00

Washington - President Barack Obama says the death of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and the end of the Iraq war are powerful reminders of America's renewed leadership in the world.

At the same time, Obama said on Saturday, the US now must tackle its "greatest challenge as a nation" — rebuilding a weak economy and creating jobs — with the "same urgency and unity that our troops brought to their fight".

Obama informed the nation on Friday that the long and costly war in Iraq will be over by the end of the year and that some 40 000 US servicemen and women still there "will definitely be home for the holidays".

A day earlier, he hailed the killing of Libya's longtime leader as a "momentous day" in the history of a country that Gaddafi had ruled for decades through tyranny.

Obama said in his weekly radio and internet address that these foreign policy successes were part of a larger story.

"This week, we had two powerful reminders of how we've renewed American leadership in the world," Obama said. "After a decade of war, we're turning the page and moving forward, with strength and confidence."

He said withdrawing troops from Iraq has allowed the US to focus on Afghanistan and score major victories against al-Qaida, including the killing in May of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. Troops also have been coming home from Afghanistan.

Obama said ending both wars will allow the US to focus on rebuilding a weak economy so it can start creating enough jobs to reduce high levels of unemployment. That could possibly aid his re-election bid, which is being jeopardized by the tough financial circumstances.

Grave danger

"Over the past decade, we spent a trillion dollars on war, borrowed heavily from overseas and invested too little in the greatest source of our national strength — our own people," the president said. "Now, the nation we need to build is our own."

In the Republicans' weekly message, Sen Richard Burr bemoaned 32 consecutive months with unemployment above 8%.

While Obama on Saturday called anew for passage of his $447bn jobs bill, Burr urged action on a Republican alternative.

Senate Republicans recently blocked Obama's overall bill, leaving Democrats in charge of the chamber to try to pass it piece by piece. But Republican senators also blocked action on the first component of the larger bill, a $35bn measure to boost hiring of teachers and emergency services workers.

In turn, Democrats stalled a measure both parties support that would stop the government from withholding 3% of payments to government contractors.

A test vote is expected next month, after the Senate returns from vacation, on a $60bn bill to finance construction of roads, bridges and other public works projects.

Burr said people are hurting and the economy is in "grave danger".

"It's time for Congress to focus on the American people and not how difficult change might be," he said. "It's time to stop playing games and to get on with the serious business that the American people expect from us."

  • Mark - 2011-10-22 17:36

    Talking lies for political gain, I think. Europe did the work here, not you Obama

      marco.tomaso - 2011-10-22 18:31

      Tend to agree with you on that Mark.Obama should show renewed US leadership by getting his country's $14 trillion national debt down and in order,instead of bragging about what other countries like France and Britain accomplished in Lybia.Look how long it took Obama to get America involed in Lybia in the first place-only after the U.N. Security Council approved the intervention.Obama chose to wait and wait until Gaddafi had driven the rebels into their last holdout of Benghazi.This prolonged and lazy approach by the Obama administration to ouster out Gaddafi meant a full-blown civil war was on the cards in Libya and it almost meant more disintegration of Libya’s institutions which was unnecessary.

      Mark - 2011-10-22 19:06

      Thanks @Marco. I am not anti-American, but this political grandstanding is sometimes irritating!

      Sterling - 2011-10-22 20:08

      Europe didn't have bombs and weapons to bomb Libya the us supplied them. The drones that were used came from the US and the B-2 bombers came from the US so, everyone played a major role.

  • Barry - 2011-10-22 17:43

    Obama. The biggest terrorist living in the world today !

  • mkerruish - 2011-10-22 17:50

    If you're a troubled president with a big election coming up, you tend to say this sort of rubbish. How, pray tell, is this a sign of anything other than a retreat from stupid previous positions relating to Iraq? NATO is no longer USA+OTHERS. The man deserves respect for many things but this statement isn't one of them.

      werner.smidt - 2011-10-23 08:31

      Perhaps he should fix things back home, before he tries to lecture the rest of the world how to be a good country.

  • Brian - 2011-10-22 18:17

    I may be mistaken, but I don't think America has ever actually WON a war. They think they have, but always after a strategic withdrawal. And as for "America's renewed leadership in the world" .... who elected America a world leader? A large population and a heap of money doesn't make you MY leader, Mr. Obama. And there are a lot of American families who would also dispute that. Families where the youngest and brightest were sent off to a backward, hot and filthy country to die. And for what? Oil? The biggest terrorist threat on the planet is America. Arrogant, self-serving and militant, even to their own citizens.

      Marius - 2011-10-22 18:40

      Well said.

      elga.imp - 2011-10-22 19:44

      Brian, you're right, I am also of the belief they have never WON a war... Oh wait... Hiroshima! hmmm then again, maybe not, I suppose it could be termed a "Strategic withdrawal" They love to start the trouble, never finish what they start, pull in as many other countries as they can, cause as much chaos, loss of life, take no responsibility but want ALL the glory! Take your title - Glory Murderers!

      Sterling - 2011-10-23 01:41

      You are dreaming the Japanese surrendered to the US and Germany did the same.

      Brian - 2011-10-23 09:16

      @Sterling: Have another look at history. The Japanese surrendered to US after the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in which the "pure as the driven slush" Americans wiped out two cities full of CIVILIANS! Germany surrendered after Britain and thei allies had done all the dreadful and horrific work of war. America, as usual, joined in when those allies were exhausted, had all but won the war, and proceeded to take all the glory. Again! Americans actually believe that they single-handedly won the 2nd World War. Nothing could be further from the truth. I stand by my comments that America is a tyrannical regime bent on forcing those countries who have valuable resources to their knees. I polite society they could be called rapists.

  • Marius - 2011-10-22 18:38

    American leadership? Tell that to countries that are bled dry for their resources.

  • elga.imp - 2011-10-22 19:36

    yeah, Obama... cashing in on "black gold" ... At the same time, Obama said on Saturday, the US now must tackle its "greatest challenge as a nation" — rebuilding a weak economy and creating jobs — with the "same urgency and unity that our troops brought to their fight". I am so sick and tire of the US !!! Concentrate on your bloody country (aahh of course, you have NO natural resources so you have no STEAL)

  • samkange - 2011-10-22 19:56

    now He can rebild with stole resources....oil from both countries....he will rebuild them ,knowing they can also pay for services....Oil

  • Eland - 2011-10-22 19:57

    I prophesy, as sure as the sun rises from the east, the end of these demagogues is near.

  • Hugh - 2011-10-23 07:29

    What claptrap. Howe long will it be that your policies of interferance in another country because of its leader proove to be a waste of time. From vietnam to Afganistan. The rule of the day where there has been reasonable stability has been put asunder. These countries like china have a history of rule by subjugation. The US form of democracy may have worked for Japan in 48 but in a less disciplined world the US will be back within months of their leaving.

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