Obama: Combat mission in Iraq to end by Aug. 31

ATLANTA – The war in Iraq is winding down, and “America’s combat mission in Iraq” will wrap up by the end of the month, the president said during a speech today in Atlanta.

“As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end,” Obama said during his remarks to the Disabled Veterans of America Conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. “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) America’s combat mission in Iraq would end. And that is exactly what we are doing – as promised and on schedule.

“Already, we have closed or turned over to Iraq hundreds of bases,” the president added, according to a White House transcript. “We’re moving out millions of pieces of equipment in one of the largest logistics operations that we’ve seen in decades. By the end of this month, we’ll have brought more than 90,000 of our troops home from Iraq since I took office – more than 90,000 have come home.”

Even though the combat mission is ending, “we will maintain a transitional force until we remove all our troops from Iraq by the end of next year.”

“And during this period, our forces will have a focused mission – supporting and training Iraqi forces, partnering with Iraqis in counterterrorism missions, and protecting our civilian and military efforts,” Obama said. “These are dangerous tasks. There are still those with bombs and bullets who will try to stop Iraq’s progress. And the hard truth is we have not seen the end of American sacrifice in Iraq.”

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