An Iraqi electrician checks the wires leading from a generator to an apartment building in Baghdad. The country is still plagued by infrastructure problems.
An Iraqi electrician checks the wires leading from a generator to an apartment building in Baghdad. The country is still plagued by infrastructure problems. Ali Al-Saadi/AFP
Later today, President Obama will deliver a major speech at the Disabled American Veterans National Convention in Atlanta, centering on his Iraq strategy.
"Nearly eight years after he denounced what he called a 'dumb war' in Iraq and nearly two years after he won the White House promising to end it, President Obama on Monday plans to mark the formal end of the combat mission there," The New York Times writes.
According to prepared remarks, the president will tell some 3,000 delegates at the convention that "our commitment in Iraq is changing — from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats."
As agreed to with the Iraqi government, we will maintain a transitional force until we remove all our troops from Iraq by the end of next year. During this period, our forces will have a focused mission-supporting and training Iraqi forces, partnering with Iraqis in counterterrorism missions, and protecting our civilian and military efforts.
According to Politico's Mike Allen, we should "look for the president to repeatedly make the case this month that the promised drawdown is really occurring."
Since he took office, Obama has overseen the withdrawal of some 90,000 troops in Iraq. By the end of this month, only 50,000 U.S. troops will remain there, mostly as advisers.
As we noted earlier, there are still major problems in Iraq. Five months after an election, rival political factions still haven't agreed on a new prime minister, and the country's power grid is in bad shape.