United States President Barack Obama has declared an end to the seven-year American combat mission in Iraq, saying that the United States had met its responsibility and it was now time to turn to domestic problems.
In a prime-time address from the Oval Office, the New York Times observed Obama balancing praise for the US troops who fought and died in Iraq with his conviction that getting into the conflict had been a mistake in the first place.
“But he also used the moment to emphasise that he sees his primary job as addressing the weak economy and other domestic issues — and to make clear that he intends to begin disengaging from the war in Afghanistan next summer,” the NYT wrote.
“We have sent our young men and women to make enormous sacrifices in Iraq, and spent vast resources abroad at a time of tight budgets at home,” Obama said. “Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility. Now, it’s time to turn the page.”
“Over the last decade, we have not done what is necessary to shore up the foundation of our own prosperity. We have spent over a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas. This, in turn, has shortchanged investments in our own people, and contributed to record deficits. For too long, we have put off tough decisions on everything from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform. As a result, too many middle class families find themselves working harder for less, while our nation’s long-term competitiveness is put at risk.”