For many years, our focus was on Iraq. And year after year, our troops faced a set of challenges there that were as daunting as they were complex. A lesser Army might have seen its spirit broken. But the American military is more resilient than that. Our troops adapted, they persisted, they partnered with coalition and Iraqi counterparts, and through their competence and creativity and courage, we are poised to end our combat mission in Iraq this summer.
The Bush-Maliki agreement required being out of all localities by LAST summer. The Obama campaign promised to be out of the country by NOW. Removing all but 50,000 troops by this summer, if he does it, will be progress, but it will not be an end to combat. That will depend on what those remaining 50,000 troops DO.
Even as we transition to an Iraqi lead and bring our troops home, our commitment to the Iraqi people endures. We will continue to advise and assist Iraqi security forces, who are already responsible for security in most of the country. And a strong American civilian presence will help Iraqis forge political and economic progress. This will not be a simple task, but this is what success looks like: an Iraq that provides no haven to terrorists; a democratic Iraq that is sovereign and stable and self-reliant.
The Iraqi people want you OUT. Don't paint an un-ending occupation as a favor to them. The treaty requires complete withdrawal by the end of next year because the Iraqi people want complete withdrawal, which is what many of them have been killing and dying for.
And as we end the war in Iraq, though, we are pressing forward in Afghanistan. Six months ago, I came to West Point to announce a new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. And I stand here humbled by the knowledge that many of you will soon be serving in harm's way. I assure you, you will go with the full support of a proud and grateful nation.
Full support? Not even majority! A majority of Americans oppose the war and its escalation.
(He goes on about things like renewable energy. We spend $2 billion on that.)