House Iraq war vet: Obama should declare victory

President George W. Bush declared victory in Iraq in 2003, on a Navy aircraft carrier beneath a large banner that read: "Mission Accomplished." U.S. troops remained in a shooting war for eight more years, however.

His criticisms came just hours after Obama marked the end of the Iraq war with remarks before soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Obama dubbed the conclusion of the U.S. military effort there "an extraordinary achievement" — but not a win.

Obama did congratulate U.S. military members for leaving behind a “stable, sovereign” Iraq.

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“This is an extraordinary achievement nearly nine years in the making,” Obama said. “Your will proved stronger than the terror of those who tried to break it.”

Obama, who vowed to end the Iraq war as a candidate, noted its “heavy costs,” including more than 30,000 wounded troops and the nearly 4,500 who made what he called “the ultimate sacrifice.”

“There is something profound about the end of a war that has lasted so long,” Obama said. “Since then, our efforts in Iraq have taken many twists and turns. It was the source of great controversy here at home ... but there was one constant: Your patriotism, your commitment to fulfill your mission, your abiding commitment to one another ... that did not waiver.”

All troops will be leaving Iraq by Dec. 31, but the U.S. has vowed to continue to assist the country.

GOP presidential candidates and lawmakers continue to bash Obama for withdrawing all U.S. troops, saying the nation will fall into sectarian chaos and become a puppet of Iran.

-- Amie Parnes contributed.