Posted by Matt Compton on October 21, 2011 at 02:18 PM EDT
Ed. Note: Shortly after President Obama’s remarks on ending the war in Iraq, we held a session of White House Office Hours on Twitter. Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, signed on @WHLive to answer your #WHChat questions on ending the war in Iraq responsibly, and bringing our troops home. Take a look at your questions and Ben’s answers.
In 2008, in the height of the presidential campaign, then-Senator Obama made a promise to give our military a new mission: ending the war in Iraq.
As the election unfolded, he reiterated this pledge again and again — but cautioned that we would be “as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in.”
Last year, the President made progress toward achieving that goal. He brought an end to the combat mission in Iraq, and through the course of the past 14 months, more than 100,000 troops have returned to their families.
Now, that promise will be wholly fulfilled. Today, President Obama announced that the rest of our troops will be home by the holidays:
Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq—tens of thousands of them—will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldiers will cross the border out of Iraq—with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end.
But this moment represents more than an accomplishment for the President. It marks a monumental change of focus for our military and a fundamental shift in the way that the our nation will engage in the world:
The United States is moving forward, from a position of strength. The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year. The transition in Afghanistan is moving forward, and our troops are finally coming home. As they do, fewer deployments and more time training will help keep our military the very best in the world. And as we welcome home our newest veterans, we’ll never stop working to give them and their families the care, the benefits, and the opportunities that they have earned.