Obama: Iraq war ends, economy in trouble

08:20, September 01, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that his central responsibility as president is to restore American fragile economy and to help put the millions of people who lost jobs back to work.

Obama is devoting part of his prime-time speech on Iraq to the economy. In excerpts released by the White House, Obama says restoring the economy is, in his words, "our most urgent task."

Obama says that includes strengthening education and job training, jump-starting industries that create jobs, ending dependence on foreign oil, unleashing innovation and nurturing ideas from entrepreneurs. Obama calls the task difficult but necessary.

Opposed to the war from the start, Obama on Tuesday formally ended the U.S. combat role in Iraq, declaring: "It is time to turn the page." He said the nation's most urgent priority is fixing the broken economy.

Obama said the United States "has paid a huge price" to give Iraqis a chance to shape future. That toll has included more than 4,400 dead American troops, tens of thousands of soldiers wounded and hundreds of billions of dollars spent since March 2003.

"Ending this war is not only in Iraq's interest — it is in our own," Obama said.

Yet for all the finality, the war is not over, and the American sacrifice will continue.

Obama is keeping up to 50,000 troops in Iraq for support and counterterrorism training, and the last forces are not due to leave until the end of 2011 at the latest. Still, he sought to mark August 31, 2010, as a milestone in one of the defining chapters in recent American history.

Obama used the event to pivot toward the economic problems that persist at home. In the speech, there was no mention of the risks that remain in Iraq, neither of the war that continues in Afghanistan.

By Agencies / People's Daily Online


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