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"A war to disarm a state became a fight against an insurgency. Terrorism and sectarian warfare threatened to tear Iraq apart."
The war on Iraq was not a war to disarm a state. The war tore Iraq apart.
"The Americans who have served in Iraq . . . shifted tactics to protect the Iraqi people."
The Iraqi people have long wanted the protection they think would be found in Americans leaving their country.
"So tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country."
"This completes a transition to Iraqi responsibility for their own security."
Americans continue to engage in combat in Iraq.
"Consistent with our agreement with the Iraqi government, all U.S. troops will leave by the end of next year."
The President does not explain that there is a loophole he intends to use for any forces employed through the State Department or any department other than the military.
"The United States has paid a huge price to put the future of Iraq in the hands of its people. . . . We have persevered because of a belief we share with the Iraqi people - a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization."
The majority of Americans have long opposed the war, and few if any warmakers in power in Washington have expressed that motivation. The future of Iraq was in the hands of the Iraqi people prior to the past 20 years of war and sanctions and could have been left there at any point.
"Here, too, it is time to turn the page. This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush. It's well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one could doubt President Bush's support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security. As I have said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hope for Iraq's future."
In fact, Obama funded the war for years as senator and continued it as president. Millions of Americans have made very clear their doubt of Bush's support for our troops and commitment to our security. Whether or not to launch a war that costs over a million lives and trillions of dollars is actually a question that it is important to get right or wrong. An immoral, illegal war is not something to gloss over and pretend that everyone appreciates.
"And no challenge is more essential to our security than our fight against Al Qaeda. Americans across the political spectrum supported the use of force against those who attacked us on 9/11. Now, as we approach our 10th year of combat in Afghanistan, there are those who are understandably asking tough questions about our mission there. But we must never lose sight of what's at stake. As we speak, Al Qaeda continues to plot against us, and its leadership remains anchored in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We will disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda, while preventing Afghanistan from again serving as a base for terrorists."
Al Qaeda is not, in any significant way, in Afghanistan. Making war on Afghanistan strengthens Al Qaeda outside it.
"Within Afghanistan, I have ordered the deployment of additional troops who-under the command of General David Petraeus -are fighting to break the Taliban's momentum. As with the surge in Iraq, these forces will be in place for a limited time to provide space for the Afghans to build their capacity and secure their own future."
The "surge" in Iraq did not accomplish the reduction in violence with which it has been credited, much less the political accomplishments that have never been accomplished there. Even believing the myths about the Iraq surge would provide to reason to expect the same success in Afghanistan. And the Taliban's momentum is only accelerating.
"Throughout our history, America has been willing to bear the burden of promoting liberty and human dignity overseas, understanding its link to our own liberty and security."
This is a wildly false description of US military actions abroad.
"Two weeks ago, America's final combat brigade in Iraq -the Army's Fourth Stryker Brigade -journeyed home in the pre-dawn darkness."
Would that that were so.