UNDATED (WSAU) President Obama ended America’s combat role in Iraq last night as he told the nation quote, “It is time to turn the page.” In his 18-minute televised address, the Democratic president praised the one-million U-S troops who served in a war he opposed from the beginning. But he said the nation paid a “huge price” in Iraq, and he blamed the heavy war spending for the rising deficits which he now promises to tackle.
Senator Russ Feingold was opposed to the war in Iraq, and issued a statement saying Obama was correct to end combat operations. Feingold says the U.S. should also set an earlier timetable to get troops out of Afghanistan. He says an open-ended military commitment sends the wrong message to political leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Earlier yesterday in Milwaukee, G-O-P House Minority Leader John Boehner told the American Legion’s national convention that Iraq will remain a target for terrorists who want to destroy democracy. And he slammed Obama and other Democrats who had criticized the 2007 troop surge in Iraq, and are now taking credit for its success. Boehner said 50,000 U-S troops will stay in Iraq, and a strong democracy there is critical for countering the threats posed by extremists and the regime in neighboring Iran.
Wisconsin Senate Democrat Herb Kohl called the ending of the Iraq war a “proud moment” for the troops who spent seven years protecting the country. And Kohl said the nation must now focus on ending our involvement in Afghanistan and re-building our economy. Obama has promised to end combat operations in Afghanistan next July. But Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the American Legion in Milwaukee that the Taliban and other terrorist groups should not assume that the U-S will leave then.