Ahead of an Oval Office address Tuesday on the Iraq war and a major milestone in the seven-year conflict, President Obama used his weekly address to tout the fulfillment of a campaign promise and to make a promise to America's newest veterans.
"As a candidate for this office, I pledged I would end this war. As president, that is what I am doing," Obama said.
The United States' official combat mission in Iraq will end on Tuesday. About 50,000 troops will remain in the country until the end of 2011."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 added.
Obama also boasted recent action to revamp the Department of Veterans Affairs, help treat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, provide aid to caregivers and find work for returning veterans.
"What this new generation of veterans must know is this: our nation's commitment to all who wear its uniform is a sacred trust that is as old as our republic itself. It is one that, as President, I consider a moral obligation to uphold," Obama said.
Obama said the White House's website allows Americans to upload text or video messages to U.S. troops, to mark the end of combat operations in Iraq.
"Let them know that they have the respect and support of a grateful nation," Obama said. "That when their tour ends; when they see our flag; when they touch our soil; they'll always be home in an America that is forever here for them – just as they've been there for us. That is the promise our nation makes to those who serve. And as long as I'm commander-in-chief, it's a promise we'll keep."