“Tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended,” said US President Barack Obama. “ Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country.”
That was how the US president began his national address, in a sombre, low key tone.
Obama was making good his presidential campaign promise by bringing the troops home from a controversial war which has split America.
Of course there will be a non combat military presence in Iraq of 50,000 troops but they too will be returning next year.
But the US leader knows he is going to be a wartime president for some time to come with the on going fight against the Taliban.
“Next August, we will begin a transition to Afghan responsibility. The pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground, and our support for Afghanistan will endure. But make no mistake: this transition will begin – because open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the Afghan people’s,” continued Obama.
It is clear Obama was keen to make political capital out of the troop withdrawal – the November congressional elections are looming – and while the sacrifice of the US military was acknowledged, his most urgent task now he said was now to restore the US economy.