President Obama will deliver a major address on the Iraq war next week as the final U.S. combat troops leave the country.
The speech — which reports say is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 31 — will claim that the drawdown of combat forces there fulfills one of Obama's major campaign promises.
According to ABC News, which cited a senior White House official, the president will express gratitude to U.S. forces, note that he kept the "promise he made on the campaign trail for the responsible withdrawal of U.S. troops" and will put the war in the broader context of the country's national security goals.
The speech comes on the heels of a major withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from the country last week. Around 6,000 combat troops will remain in the country until Aug. 31, the withdrawal deadline, and after that 50,000 will stay to assist with training and support operations.
Obama is expected to note that U.S. involvement in Iraq will continue, that the U.S. still faces many national security challenges and that the mission is not "accomplished."
Public opinion of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has worsened in recent months: A majority believe that the Iraq conflict, which began under former President George W. Bush in 2003, will be judged by history as a failure.
Over the course of the conflict, 4,415 U.S. service members have
died and close to 32,000 have been wounded. U.S. combat troops are leaving with Iraq's political future still uncertain and facing significant security threats.
As a presidential candidate, then-Sen. Obama railed against the Bush administration's handling of the war and promised to end the conflict.
But Republicans have said that the president should thank Bush for implementing the 2007 troop surge, which was widely praised as bringing enough stability to the country to allow U.S. troops to exit.
"When things turned around in Iraq was when President Bush implemented the surge," GOP Rep. Bob Latta (Ohio) said on a conference call Friday. "I would hope that he president would make note of the fact that the actions taken by his predecessor helped [bring an end to combat operations]."
Obama is not expected to cite his position on the 2007 surge.
On Monday afternoon, Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to make first WHCD appearance: report If you’re going to meet with Merrick Garland Biden on cancer research: 'I’ve been on the other end of the need' MORE will speak to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Indianapolis about the drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq.
—This post was updated at 11:00 a.m.