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Responsibly Ending the War in Iraq (Update: photos)
Friday, February 27th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

President Obama at Camp LeJeune

"Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end," the President said today at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

"I want to be very clear," the President said. "We sent our troops to Iraq to do away with Saddam Hussein’s regime – and you got the job done. We kept our troops in Iraq to help establish a sovereign government – and you got the job done. And we will leave the Iraqi people with a hard-earned opportunity to live a better life – that is your achievement; that is the prospect that you have made possible."

Though he and the nation's civilian and uniformed leaders have established a clear timeline for withdrawal, the President emphasized that many challenges remain:

But let there be no doubt: Iraq is not yet secure, and there will be difficult days ahead. Violence will continue to be a part of life in Iraq. Too many fundamental political questions about Iraq’s future remain unresolved. Too many Iraqis are still displaced or destitute. Declining oil revenues will put an added strain on a government that has had difficulty delivering basic services. Not all of Iraq’s neighbors are contributing to its security. Some are working at times to undermine it. And even as Iraq’s government is on a surer footing, it is not yet a full partner – politically and economically – in the region, or with the international community.

The President ordered the review that led to this decision on his first day in office, and considered options for moving forward that reflected input from military commanders, the Joint Chiefs, Secretary Gates, and his national security team. Read the entire speech to see the details of the plan.

President Obama at Camp LeJeune

White House photos 2/27/09 by Pete Souza

Friday Extras

Friday, February 27th, 2009 at 7:22 pm

OMB Director Peter Orszag is up again on his new blog, this time addressing the questions on how the budget will affect deductions for charitable contributions ("Is our budget proposal uncharitable?") Again, very much worth reading in full. 
The EPA has video of the First Lady’s visit from yesterday. Also chime in on their Question of the Week: How has your community used smart growth for environment-friendly development?

The State Department also has their question of the week up: "What Is the Best Path Forward for Gaza?" It's accompanied by the picture below:
DOT gets underway on Expressions of Interest on high-speed rail.

In case you missed it in today’s scrappy live-blog, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan and Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced a major partnership between their departments that will use $16 billion in funds from the ARRA to help create green jobs.
Talk to any career web professional in the federal government long enough, and sooner or later the TSA’s blog comes up. Vent your traveling frustrations; they might even fix it – really.


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