Obama says he's on track to end Iraq war
President Barack Obama will tell Americans today he is on track to carry out his campaign promise of ending the Iraq war as he marks a milestone in winding down major combat operations there this month.world Updated: Aug 02, 2010 16:49 IST
President Barack Obama will tell Americans on Monday he is on track to carry out his campaign promise of ending the Iraq war as he marks a milestone in winding down major combat operations there this month.
Despite a deadlock in Baghdad on efforts to form a new government, Obama will highlight achievements in Iraq and discuss the formal shift taking place in the disposition of US troops as they transition to a more advisory role.
"As a candidate for president, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end," Obama will say in a speech to the Disabled American Veterans convention in Atlanta.
"Shortly after taking office, I announced our new strategy for Iraq and for a transition to full Iraqi responsibility. And I made it clear that by Aug 31, 2010 America's combat mission in Iraq would end. And that is exactly what we are doing - as promised, on schedule."
Obama's speech about Iraq, which begins at 11:30 am EDT (1530 GMT), comes as he faces growing opposition at home to the war in Afghanistan, where he has increased US troop levels.
But Obama plans to tell the veterans that one chapter in the burdens of war they have faced is coming to a close.
Obama's message of opposition to the Iraq war helped galvanise his support among Democrats in his 2008 election campaign.
While vowing to pull troops out of Iraq, Obama had also made clear during his campaign that the US would maintain a "transitional force" in Iraq for a while to help train Iraqi forces and work with them on counterterrorism operations.
He said there will be dangers in these tasks and "the hard truth is we have not seen the end of American sacrifice in Iraq." But he said that, by the end of August, more than 90,000 U.S. troops will have come home since he took office.
More than seven years after the United States ousted Saddam Hussein from power, negotiations in Iraq have failed to form a new government.
Almost five months after Iraq held a parliamentary election meant to set it on a course towards stability after years of war, sanctions and insurgency, political factions have not reached an agreement on who the next prime minister will be.
The long delay has raised fears of a renewed insurgency. Sectarian violence exploded after Iraq's 2005 parliamentary election, when politicians took more than five months to negotiate a new government.
Government figures released on Saturday showed the number of civilians killed by bomb blasts and other violence in Iraq nearly doubled in July, though violence has fallen sharply from its peak levels of a few years ago.
Obama will underscore in the speech his goal of removing all US troops by the end of next year.
First Published: Aug 02, 2010 16:47 IST