Obama stressed how important this election was for the development of Iraq, “We know that there will be very difficult days ahead in Iraq — there will probably be more violence. But like any sovereign, independent nation, Iraq must be free to chart its own course. No one should seek to influence, exploit, or disrupt this period of transition. Now is the time for every neighbor and nation to respect Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. A new Iraqi government will face important decisions about Iraq’s future. But as today’s voting demonstrates, the Iraq people want disagreements to be debated and decided through a political process that provides security and prosperity for all Iraqis.”
He then talked about the departure of U.S. troops from Iraq, “And as they go forward, the Iraqi people must know that the United States will fulfill its obligations. We will continue with the responsible removal of United States forces from Iraq. Indeed, for the first time in years, there are no — now fewer than 100,000 American troops serving in Iraq. By the end of August, our combat mission will end. As I said last year when I announced our new strategy in Iraq, we will continue to advise and assist Iraqi Security Forces, carry out targeted counterterrorism operations with our Iraqi partners, and protect our forces and civilians. And by the end of next year, all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq.”
The fact that the Iraqis were able to not let the violence deter them from holding a successful election is not only a big step for them, but also an important moment for all of those here in the United States who anxiously awaits an end to the U.S. military involvement in Iraq. President Bush promised the American people a swift an easy war, but the American ordeal in Iraq has been anything but. During the Bush years, it felt like this conflict would never come to an end, and our troops would never return home, but Obama’s remarks today are proof that the American odyssey in Iraq has almost come to an end.
History and the future path that Iraq takes will determine whether the U.S. invasion was worth it, but as many of his own supporters continue to criticize Barack Obama on numerous domestic issues, he is moving even closer to keeping his campaign promise of getting the United States out of Iraq. The Iraq war may have taken a back seat to domestic politics, but it will be an historic day at the end of 2011 when the final U.S. troops exit Iraq.