He wanted to remind Americans, especially the antiwar left, that he has delivered on one of his major pledges from the 2008 campaign—to remove U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of this summer.
Obama said that about 50,000 Americans will remain as allies and trainers, but that the Iraqis will do the fighting from now on. “I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended,” Obama said. “Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country. Ending this war is not only in Iraq’s interest; it is in our own.” He said Americans “have met our responsibility. Now it is time to turn the page.”