President At Lejeune: Military Pay Increase, Out Of Iraq By End Of 2011

By: Dave Jordan/Christine Kennedy
By: Dave Jordan/Christine Kennedy

President Barack Obama says he'll withdraw America's combat brigades from Iraq over the next 18 months.

He made that announcement before 2,000 Marines at Camp Lejeune today. Obama spent about four hours in Eastern Carolina, as Air Force One left Cherry Point around 3:10 p.m.

The president began his speech at Camp Lejeune at noon by recognizing North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue, Senator Kay Hagan and other North Carolina dignitaries.

He recognized the troops overseas, saying "We have you in our prayers, we pay tribute to your service."

The president saluted the troops, saying many of them have endured tour after tour of duty, know the dangers of combat and distance from loved ones. He said our troops fight against tyranny and disorder, bleed for their best friends and for unknown Iraqis and bear an enormous burden for their country.

President Obama told the troops at Lejeune he was there to talk about the end of the Iraq war.

Click this link to read the full speech.

The president said the violence will not end, but there is a new hope for Iraq, as U.S. forces help the war-torn country build a new foundation.

He announced his administration's review of the war in Iraq is complete and said a new course has been developed to transition Iraq to full Iraqi responsibility.

The president said the first part of the course is responsible removal of our combat units from Iraq. The timeline he proposed will remove combat units from Iraq in 18 months, by August 31, 2010. He repeated America's combat mission in Iraq will end on that date. He said the safety and security of U.S. troops and civilians in Iraq are paramount in the removal of troops.

He said all U.S. troops will be removed from Iraq by the end of 2011.

The president said the role then will be to support the Iraq government and its forces. He said we will continue training, equipping and advising Iraqi security forces as long as they remain non-sectarian, continue counterterrorism and protect ongoing U.S. efforts in Iraq.

Obama spoke directly to the people of Iraq, saying they had perserved through tyranny and terror. He said they showed a proud resilience that deserved respect.

"We Americans have offered our most precious resource, our young men and women" to help Iraq, the president said. He sai the United States pursues no claim on Iraq's territory or resources, and we need to build a lasting relationship built on respect.

He talked about refocusing America's weight to ending terrorism, by pursuits in Afghanistan and other Middle East countries.

The president said the government will build new wounded warrior centers, work to treat traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The president said "service does not end with the person wearing the uniform." He talked about the unique burden military families endure, and the president said military families are a top priority for his administration.

The crowd roared when Obama said the government will raise military pay.

"The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable," said Obama. "We all honor you for them."

The president talked about two Camp Lejeune Marines who were recently awarded Navy Cross medals posthumously. The two died on April 22, 2008 when a suicide bomber targeted the post in Ramadi where they were standing post, and the two's efforts saved dozens of lives.

He told the troops their sacrifice should challenge all Americans to ask what can they do for their country.

The president concluded by saying "we have begun the work of ending this war."

Air Force One touched down shortly after 11:00 a.m. this morning at MCAS Cherry Point. The president left the plane and shook hands with a few Marines on the flight line before getting onboard Marine One.

The Goettge Memorial Field House at Camp Lejeune is a sea of green this morning, filled with Marines are seeing their Commander In Chief.

Inside the field house, WITN reporter Chelsea Donovan says the place is full of excitement. She says there is a packed house, the Marines are in good spirit, and a Marine band of playing patriotic songs.

Chelsea says there is a media frenzy inside the field house. WITN's location is next to Sky News of Great Britain.

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  • by Beau Location: Chocowinity,NC on Mar 3, 2009 at 02:19 PM
    My Liberal friends are telling me to at least give him 100 days in office. I am actually afraid of where we will be in a hundred days. Maybe China wiil own the country? To get us out of Obama's debt. I suppose he still has time to prove himself, but my patience is already running its course. I have been debt free and invested my money for the ten years I have been in the professional workforce, and I have lost almost all of it. This wasn't the "Change" I was hoping for. Obama says buy Stocks today. The Stock market still ened up in the Red. Not a good day again. We need positive change next election.
  • by Rich on Mar 2, 2009 at 04:46 PM
    Hi Windy- Why of course I put my Political spin in, that's what these post are all about. My point is that I'm trying to be respectful about it( Key Word is try). The difference between us is I can do it and not be hateful or Rude. Your the one that keeps getting upset and being more and more disrespectful. When did I ever say that a Democrat "Hates" America? I never said that did I? Please don't make your last comment your last Comment. Now why would you say that you don't need or want my kind of Niceness, what's wrong with being Nice. You should try it sometime, It's healthy. I enjoy reading your thoughts though. Now for my Political Spin- I've kind of run out though. I'll have to come up with another one for next time as I don't want to keep spinning the same ones over and over again.
  • by Wolfgang Location: Chocowinity,NC on Mar 2, 2009 at 04:12 PM
    Did we elect a Madman? - It is true that a majority of those who voted this past November believed enough in the 'change' message President Obama was preaching that they sent him and a Democratic House and Senate to Washington. The problem is that apparently Wall Street is now looking at those in power as the Gang that can't Shoot Straight. This is simply fact. The Dow Jones Industrials have lost nearly 2,800 points since Obama's election in early November. What's happening folks is that Wall Street finds itself inextricably linked to Washington right now and historically when that has happened it's been very very bad for the U.S. stock markets
  • by Windy on Mar 2, 2009 at 03:40 PM
    Rich, YOU try to tell people how nice YOU are but YOU make one big mistake over and over. Now I am going to tell YOU what YOUR mistake is. After you TRY to make YOUR SELF LOOK WONDERFUL before you are done without taking a breath YOU make sure YOU get YOUR political spin in. Sorry but YOUR kind of niceness WE don't want or need. The God I have has no political agenda, he loves us all the same. One more thing contrary to popular belief, I don't know "ONE DEMOCRAT THAT HATES AMERICAN" My last comment.
  • by Rich on Mar 2, 2009 at 03:02 PM
    Typo, 7000 not 6000
  • by Eagleman Location: Asheville on Mar 2, 2009 at 02:26 PM
    That's right Doris! It's easier for people to believe a lie rather than the truth. Rush tells it like it is. He tells the truth.
  • by Rich on Mar 2, 2009 at 01:53 PM
    Windy- You guys are just so hateful and, well Mean. I try to put a positive spin on these post and yet still you want to criticize. I just don't understand. Were's the Love. Can you not find it in your heart to understand that I'm trying to make peace with you guys. We may disagree but is it so hard for you guys to disagree but be respectful. I guess you are just young and maybe need to grow up a little. Enjoy LIfe, have a sense of humor and stop taking everything so seriously. By the way, stock market closed below 6000 for the first time in 12 years, I guess that's Bush's fault too.
  • by Windy on Mar 2, 2009 at 12:57 PM
    Rich, I don't think ACE cares what you hate and I can't say that I blame him/her
  • by Anonymous on Mar 2, 2009 at 12:42 PM
    All of you say you don't read or don't understand each others comments, therefor it seems pointless to comment.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Mar 2, 2009 at 11:28 AM
    So, how do you look a soldier in the face and tell him I am going to raise your pay? Especially, when I am going up on your gas tax and oil tax. Is it that he knows they are going to need it to pay for the taxes?

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