Washington, D.C. – Today, as President Barack Obama delivers his speech at Fort Bragg to mark the end of the Iraq war this month, the Center for American Progress releases “The Iraq War Ledger” on the human, financial, and strategic cost of the war; “Turning the Page in Iraq” on rebalancing U.S. priorities in the region; and “U.S.-Iraq Relations Enter a New Era” on further commitments the United States has pledged in Iraq beyond the withdrawal.
American troops are returning home with dignity, and we thank them for their service and their sacrifice. The conclusion of the war makes now an appropriate time to begin weighing the costs and benefits to U.S. national security from our intervention there, identifying how this will alter U.S. foreign policy in the region, and examining our future commitments to Iraq. The end of former Iraq President Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime represents a considerable global good, and a nascent democratic Iraqi republic partnered with the United States could potentially yield benefits in the future.
By fulfilling his promise to end the war and pledging to support Iraq through the transition, President Obama will bring American troops home while continuing to help Iraq build up its internal and external security forces, foster a nonviolent and constructive dialogue between Iraqi political parties, and bring Iraq closer to other Gulf Arab countries, as it works to engage more deeply in regional affairs. This U.S.– Iraq relationship will be based on mutual consent and mutual interest, providing legitimacy for ongoing American security support to Iraq and putting the United States in a better position to address present and future challenges.
This rebalancing of the U.S. national security agenda—previewed nearly two years ago when the Obama administration released its national security strategy in 2010—is a necessary step for restoring America’s power and credibility in the world. For far too many years the United States was stuck in the alleyways of Iraq and as a result lost sight of the wider trends in the world. Under President Obama’s leadership we will refocus on the issues in the broader Middle East and strengthen our strategic position in the region.
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