Pres. Barack Obama will set a course Monday for the nation’s changing mission in Iraq as the military prepares to end its combat operations there. “Make no mistake: Our commitment in Iraq is changing, from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats,” Obama said in excerpts released ahead of the speech.
All U.S. troops will be gone from Iraq by the end of next year. A transitional force of 50,000 troops will remain to train in Iraq security forces, conduct counterterrorism operations and provide security for ongoing US civilian efforts. Obama has increased the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan, ordering a surge of 30,000 additional troops. There are also concerns on Pres. Obama’s plan to begin withdrawing troops in July 2011. Obama said in the excerpts, “While our country has sometimes been divided, they have fought together as one. While other individuals and institutions have shirked responsibility, they have welcomed it.”