News / USA

Obama to US Veterans: 'I've Got Your Back'

President Barack Obama addresses convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev. July 23, 2012President Barack Obama addresses convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev. July 23, 2012
President Barack Obama addresses convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev. July 23, 2012
President Barack Obama addresses convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev. July 23, 2012
WHITE HOUSE — President Barack Obama on Monday used a speech in Reno, Nevada to a major organization of American military veterans to underscore his record on ending the war in Iraq and winding down U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan.

The president is seeking the support of veterans as he runs for reelection in November.  He says he wants them to remember the pledge he kept to honorably end America's combat role in Iraq, and gradually end U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan.

Obama says he hopes the steps he has taken to help veterans find jobs in a tough economy and assistance to military families will boost his approval rating, particularly among younger veterans.

Addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars, or VFW, a 2.1 million member organization, Obama cited all of this, along with U.S. successes against the al-Qaida terror network.  The United States is stronger and more respected, he said, because of his leadership.

"As you reflect on recent years, as we look ahead to the challenges we face as a nation and the leadership that is required, you don't just have my words, you have my deeds.  You have my track record.  You have the promises I have made and the promises that I have kept," Obama said.

Obama also used the speech to underscore actions his administration has taken to ensure that veterans receive better medical care, including rehabilitation services for those who have suffered life-altering wounds.

The Pentagon says 4,487 Americans were killed and 32,226 others were wounded during the Iraq War.  Private groups say the number of injured is in the hundreds of thousands when traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions are taken into account.

The Obama campaign released a new video on Monday, featuring Iraq and Vietnam veterans praising the president's policies.

"We need a president to bring service members home and help our country get back to where it needs to be.  I think the person who can do that is President Obama," said veteran Hattie Daily, who served in Iraq, in the video.

But public opinion surveys of U.S. veterans show Obama trailing his likely Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

A Rasmussen poll released on Sunday has Romney leading the president 59 to 35 percent among likely voters who have served in the military, a result similar to a Gallup survey three months ago.

When he addresses the VFW on Tuesday, Romney is expected to renew his criticism of the Obama administration's foreign policy, including on Iraq and Afghanistan, saying the president is weakening the military.

President Obama addressed the issue on Monday ahead of Romney's appearance.

"We will maintain our military superiority.  It will be second to none as long as I am president, and well into the future.  We have got the best trained, best-led, best-equipped military in history.  And as commander in chief, I am going to keep it that way," Obama said.

On large mandatory spending cuts -- including for the military -- that could come at the end of the year, Obama urged Congress to agree on a balanced way to reduce the federal deficit while keeping the armed forces strong.

The president said that although there is more work to do, including efforts to further reduce veteran unemployment, homelessness and suicides, he has upheld a "sacred trust" with the nation's veterans, saying "I've got your back."

You May Like

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs