President Obama on Ending the War in Iraq

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
October 21, 2011
President Obama Speaks on End to Iraq War

President Barack Obama delivered remarks on ending the war in Iraq at the White House on October 21, 2011. President Obama said:

"...As Commander-in-Chief, ensuring the success of this strategy has been one of my highest national security priorities. Last year, I announced the end to our combat mission in Iraq. And to date, we've removed more than 100,000 troops. Iraqis have taken full responsibility for their country's security.

"A few hours ago I spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki. I reaffirmed that the United States keeps its commitments. He spoke of the determination of the Iraqi people to forge their own future. We are in full agreement about how to move forward.

"So today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over.

"Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq -- tens of thousands of them -- will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldier[s] will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America's military efforts in Iraq will end.

"But even as we mark this important milestone, we're also moving into a new phase in the relationship between the United States and Iraq. As of January 1st, and in keeping with our Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq, it will be a normal relationship between sovereign nations, an equal partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect.

"In today's conversation, Prime Minister Maliki and I agreed that a meeting of the Higher Coordinating Committee of the Strategic Framework Agreement will convene in the coming weeks. And I invited the Prime Minister to come to the White House in December, as we plan for all the important work that we have to do together. This will be a strong and enduring partnership. With our diplomats and civilian advisors in the lead, we'll help Iraqis strengthen institutions that are just, representative and accountable. We'll build new ties of trade and of commerce, culture and education, that unleash the potential of the Iraqi people. We'll partner with an Iraq that contributes to regional security and peace, just as we insist that other nations respect Iraq's sovereignty.

"As I told Prime Minister Maliki, we will continue discussions on how we might help Iraq train and equip its forces -- again, just as we offer training and assistance to countries around the world. After all, there will be some difficult days ahead for Iraq, and the United States will continue to have an interest in an Iraq that is stable, secure and self-reliant. Just as Iraqis have persevered through war, I'm confident that they can build a future worthy of their history as a cradle of civilization."

The President continued, "...The drawdown in Iraq allowed us to refocus our fight against al Qaeda and achieve major victories against its leadership -- including Osama bin Laden. Now, even as we remove our last troops from Iraq, we're beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, where we've begun a transition to Afghan security in leadership. When I took office, roughly 180,000 troops were deployed in both these wars. And by the end of this year that number will be cut in half, and make no mistake: It will continue to go down.

"Meanwhile, yesterday marked the definitive end of the Qaddafi regime in Libya. And there, too, our military played a critical role in shaping a situation on the ground in which the Libyan people can build their own future. Today, NATO is working to bring this successful mission to a close.

"So to sum up, the United States is moving forward from a position of strength. The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year. The transition in Afghanistan is moving forward, and our troops are finally coming home. As they do, fewer deployments and more time training will help keep our military the very best in the world. And as we welcome home our newest veterans, we'll never stop working to give them and their families the care, the benefits and the opportunities that they have earned.

"This includes enlisting our veterans in the greatest challenge that we now face as a nation -- creating opportunity and jobs in this country. Because after a decade of war, the nation that we need to build -- and the nation that we will build -- is our own; an America that sees its economic strength restored just as we've restored our leadership around the globe."

You can find a transcript of President Obama's remarks here.

Comments

Comments

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 22, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

It can be said that every decision made in life is a bit of a gamble on the future, made on the probabilities of creating the reality one seeks...

"And finally, I would note that the end of war in Iraq reflects a larger transition. The tide of war is receding."

...as is the assesments made in determining one's probability of success as a rational means of decision making.

An interesting choice of words, "the tide of war..." implying a natural ebb and flow in a most unnaturally occuring human activity, unless of course one makes the assesment that war is completely consistant with human nature throughout all of human history. Both may be true enough.

But this is a far broader debate than candidate Obama's promise he is keeping today as President to both the American and Iraqi peoples...and whether the tide of war is "receding" or not.

Certainly such a perspective is one enjoyed by victors in struggle based upon a position of strength, just as the Libyan people have turned the tide, and the war waged upon them by Ghaddafi is receding at this moment into memory as celebrations begin the therapy phase of "regime replacement therapy".

The gamble they took in removing Ghaddafi by force is not so different from the gamble George W. Bush took in removing Saddam Hussein. Not so much in whether a regime could be removed or not from power, but whether what would replace it would create the reality as change people can live with for generations to come.

For both the choice was clear cut, as the alternative in allowing dictators to determine the destiny of others really sucked any way folks looked at the status quo.

We, a nation born of war waged upon the totalitarianism of tyrants to end their terror of oppression; a struggle that has never ended even though at times it has turned inward as it did in the civil war that ended slavery in America, and in peaceful protest by MLK to force this government to honor the words written in our founding documents, to make real and manifest the promise that is our people's to keep of ourselves, by and for the love of life, liberty and the persuit of happiness.

A gamble no different than the gamble George W. Bush took on both the people of Afghanistan and Iraq that they would seek and find ownership of their own destiny, so long as the opportunity to seek change they could live with was a reach-out-and-touch reality presented to them as a gamble they may make upon their own success as nation builders.

A gamble we have taken as a pretty safe bet on human nature and human potential through US foreign policy for a very long time in every conflict we've been involved in.

It is essential then for the leaders of this nation to make the fundemental realization that these are not separate wars waged fought and won for different reasons, but one "endless" war waged upon a sinister mindset since our inception as a nation, on many battlefields, on every continent, in every courtroom, in all the halls of governments everywhere, on every street in every city, and in every town square, in whatever form totalitarianism rears its ugly head to deny a people their potential to live life "in larger freedom". Such is our influence upon the world stage.

Is it then the tide of war receding, or totalitarianism itself receding as a result of meeting the challenges before us as guardians of humanity and its potential?

Ever vigilent we must be, as it is also human nature for prejudice, hatred, and apathy to allow totalitarianism to come into existance in the first place.

The work is far from done if never ever finished, and this comment be just a pause for thought inundated in the tide-pool of human evolution.

EJ

DonaldM
|
Virginia, USA
October 22, 2011

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

War and Peace!

I can still remember the days being in Iraq years ago. The sounds of AK-47 rounds, Motar rounds, Sadr City light up like a Christmas tree, while going to the chow hall, having rounds fired over our heads. The constant day and night shellings. Learning the incoming/outgooing rounds of the base. A Sunday morning, conducting inventory on fire fighting equipment on a laptop, a surprise happened. When the 1St Calvary armed soldiers came into a connex where I worked and said, "go to your bunker asap" and after getting in the bunker, learned that the Iraqis had placed a live "Improvosed Explosive Device" behind where we all were working. I can personally add that if 1St Calvary didn't arrive, I wouldn't be making this message today. Thanks for the great guys at 1St Calv. The Boom you could hear for miles once they had a controlled destruction of the weapon. I think we are glad this war is finally over. We are glad to see that Saddam Hussain was tried by his own people and Justice was served. As with Col. Qhadafi in Libya. It just goes to show that in the end people will decide their own faith with leaders and establishing freedoms in their country. The voice of the people spoke. I can only hope that Freedom will ring into these countries. Countries like Iran, Syria, Yeman, Bahrain & Jordan, should be on notice the future is coming!

People are the backbone of any nation. Taking them for granted and or abusing your people, destroying your own people, men or women are NOT Gods. There is be ONLY one God in the world. People just practise different religions. People need freedoms to live freely.

Maureen
|
Massachusetts, USA
October 22, 2011

Maureen in Massachusetts writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico --

Je pense donc je suis... Your comments are most thought provoking.

@ Donald M. in Virginia --

Thanks for your personal account. We should never take for granted our security and freedom given the sacrifices made daily for the pursuit of peace.

Zharkov
|
United States
October 24, 2011

Zharkov in the U.S.A. writes:

So when does the radiological decontamination of Iraq begin?

The US has staged four wars to spread nuclear waste since 1991 - using illegal DU dirty bombs, dirty missiles and dirty bullets as radiological weapons and released an amount of radiation into the atmosphere which is at least ten times more radiation than the equivalent of 40,000 Hiroshima bombs, released during atmospheric testing.

In June 2003, the WHO predicted in a press release that cancer will increase 50% globally by the year 2020, which can only be from an environmental cause.

Already medical and scientific journals are reporting mysterious increases of infant mortality in 20 regions of Europe (Lancet Jan. 2004), the UK (Guardian Aug. 2004), and the US (New Scientist Feb.2004).

Infant mortality should be decreasing now as a continuing trend for more than a century because of improved education and prenatal care, instead it is increasing in the US for the first time in 45 years with no identified cause. For radiation specialists, infant mortality is the most sensitive indicator of radioactive pollution, a response researchers have identified as a result of exposure to low level radiation from atmospheric testing and nuclear power plant accidents, releases, and startups.

The global pollution from thousands of tons of DU in nano-size particles traveling around the earth and being deposited in the global environment will have a devastating long-term effect.

Not only will it cause illnesses and genetic mutations in the future generations of those internally exposed, but it will have a depopulating effect long proposed by the US military. DU is the perfect weapon delivering nanoparticles of poison, radiation, and nano-pollution - the real killer - directly into living cells where they cause the cells to go haywire and disfunctional.

The liars who claim radiation is good for people should have a look at the horribly deformed babies being born in Iraq. It's the ingested DU particles and not merely the radiation that is killing them.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 24, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Geez Z, that's stooping pretty low,... fabricating stories of mutated Iraqi babies geneticly modified directly due to depleted uranium rounds just to get your ya ya's out on Dipnote by twisting facts to suit your fantasies.

With all due respect for folks that do have something other than conspiracies on the mind, perhaps you'd accomodate reality once in awhile?

Now if it's mutant babies that you fancy, try Googling the old Soviet era nuclear testing grounds and the effect it had on the region's population, then we can discuss the dangers of radiological contamination if you'd like.

The things folks keep in jars...(sic)...,

EJ

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 25, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Maureen in Mass.,

I am, therefore I think...(chuckle)...and the flip side of inspiring others to think is that when you ask folks in this gov. to make a fundemental realization, often times I've gotten an immediate response letting me know they "got it".

As such, here's proof;

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, we are all very moved by and grateful for the sacrifices of our men and women, those who lost their lives, those who were grievously injured. They will never be forgotten, and what they did should be honored in our country’s history forever.

The point of our involvement in Iraq, stated over and over again by people on both sides of the aisle, was to create the opportunity for the Iraqis to have their own future without the oppression of a dictator like Saddam Hussein. Now you can’t, on the one hand, say you’re all for democracy and sovereignty and independence, where people get to make their own choices, and on the other hand say that when a choice is made that is foreseen by our own government, going back to the Bush Administration and validated by the Obama Administration and the current government in Iraq, that that somehow is not appropriate. Because that is what we were there for – to give the Iraqi people the chance to make their own decisions.

---end excerpt

Full remarks;

"http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/10/175991.htm"

Erin
|
District Of Columbia, USA
November 28, 2011

Erin in Washington, D.C. writes:

This was very exciting news at the time when President Obama released his statement. Now, as December approaches, Americans are awaiting the return of our friends and family members. As a young adult, I acknowledge that the United States has been at war in Iraq for most of my personal memory of politics. I can’t help but be hopeful that ending the war in Iraq will be a step toward altering many Americans’ views of the country and its people. Over the past decade, religious and racial stereotyping have led to an overwhelming amount of misdirected hate and prejudice in the United States and elsewhere. When we demonstrate this kind of ignorance and intolerance of total strangers, it violates the principles on which our country was created.

While President Obama talks about trade relationships and jobs as a result of ending this war, I hope it also encourages increased cultural understanding and acceptance. Politics may find a way to justify a war, but there is no way for human nature to justify cultural intolerance on a personal level. The president’s announcement will hopefully move both countries forward to create a more understanding and mutually beneficial relationship in the coming years.

.

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