The speech was more than just announcing the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq.
He hailed his predecessor, George W. Bush, in his remarks on the end of combat operations in Iraq taking an effort to heal the deep wounds from America’s most divisive war since Vietnam.
“As I have said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it,” he said. “And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hopes for Iraqis’ future.”
Obama, speaking with former President George W. Bush, who ordered the invasion of Iraq in 2003, acknowledged that “it’s well-known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset.”
The President also added that “no one can doubt President Bush’s support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security.”
“Today we mark not the defeat those voices anticipated, but progress,” Boehner said in a speech before the American Legion National Convention in Milwaukee.
With his speech, Obama was able to keep his campaign promises to end U.S. combat operations in Iraq while largely adhering to an agreement signed by Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in December of 2008. That agreement called for all U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraqi cities by June of 2009 and all troops removed from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon, who as an House member in 2002 voted against authorizing Bush to use force to invade Iraq, called last night’s address “an important step,” but suggested there may be little political support to keep the remaining U.S. troops in Iraq much longer. “… those 50,000 American men and women deserve to come home as soon as possible,” he said.
Obama also aims to begin pulling US troops out of Afghanistan in summer next year, but security in the country has been worsening.