President Barack Obama on Wednesday marked the end of the war in Iraq with a visit to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where he thanked the troops for their dedication and service during the nearly nine-year conflict.
“As your commander in chief and on behalf of a grateful nation, I’m proud to finally say these two words — and I know your families agree — Welcome home, welcome home, welcome home!” he said.
The president said a special ceremony will be held tomorrow in Iraq to mark the official transfer of the American flag out of Baghdad and back to U.S. soil. He said that over the next few days, U.S. troops will begin the “last tactical road march” from Iraq and “become part of history,” as have the 150,000 troops who have left the country during the past three years.
The speech marked not only the end of the war but also a campaign promise delivered for Obama. The president is facing an uphill reelection battle, dragged down by anemic economic growth and his sagging popularity in the polls. With intransigence plaguing Capitol Hill for nearly a year, there have been few moments when Obama has been able to take a victory lap.
Still, he is proclaiming a successful end to the war with some restraint, avoiding the “Mission Accomplished” rhetoric of his predecessor, President George W. Bush.
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