America

Obama Tells Soldiers: Iraq Mission Not Accomplished

Obama at Ft. Bliss

President Barack Obama at Ft. Bliss thanks soldiers for their service while saying the job is not done.    Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press hide caption

itoggle caption Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

In his trip to the Ft. Bliss Army base in Texas Tuesday, President Barack Obama rehearsed some of the themes he will likely use in his Oval Office speech to mark the end of the U.S. formal combat role in Iraq, at least for now.

Among them was the message of self-conscious modesty meant to signal a very different mood than that surrounding a very different presidential appearance by a very different president on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln in May 2003.

That's when President George W. Bush famously stood under the large "Mission Accomplished" banner to declare, prematurely as it turned out, the end of high intensity combat in Iraq.

Obama stressed that, if anything, the mission was very far from accomplished.

"There's still a lot of work that we've got to do to make sure that Iraq is an effective partner with us," he said.

Here's how he began his remarks to the troops who he spoke to in a dining hall:

"I'm going to make a speech to the nation tonight. It's not going to be a victory lap. It's not going to be self-congratulatory. There's still a lot of work that we've got to do to make sure that Iraq is an effective partner with us. But the fact of the matter is that because of the extraordinary service that all of you have done, that so many people here at Ft. Bliss have done, that Iraq has an opportunity to create a better future for itself and America is more secure."

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