By Silla Brush - 08/28/10 10:00 AM EDT
President Obama vowed Saturday that all U.S. troops will return home
from Iraq by the end of next year, completing his 2008 campaign promise
to end the war.
The military has already pulled out about 90,000 troops since early last year. Combat operations are set to officially end on Tuesday, but about 50,000 U.S troops remain in the country to train Iraqis.
"As a candidate for this office, I pledged I would end this war. As president, that is what I am doing," Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio address.
"The bottom line is this: The war is ending. Like any sovereign, independent nation, Iraq is free to chart its own course. And by the end of next year, all of our troops will be home," the president said.
The end of the combat mission comes as political parties in Iraq continue to clash over the results of the March parliamentary election, which left neither rival coalition with a clear path to forming a new government.
Despite the political uncertainties and ongoing violence, the Obama administration has underscored that progress is evident in the country.
"Politics, and not war, has broken out in Iraq," Vice President
Joe Biden said Tuesday. "The hard work of forming a new government is
under way. I personally have made it clear to the leading politicians
that it's time for them to match the courage of their citizens by
completing this process."
Biden pledged a "long-term relationship" with Iraq after U.S. troops leave the country.
Obama said in his radio address that the government is working to bolster the Veterans Affairs department to help the more than one million veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We’re building a 21st century VA, modernizing and expanding VA hospitals and healthcare, and adapting care to better meet the unique needs of female veterans," the president said.