Obama Marks Second Anniversary of End of Iraq War

    President Barack Obama (R) greets members of the military before speaking at Fort Bliss, Texas, August 31, 2012.President Barack Obama (R) greets members of the military before speaking at Fort Bliss, Texas, August 31, 2012.
    x
    President Barack Obama (R) greets members of the military before speaking at Fort Bliss, Texas, August 31, 2012.
    President Barack Obama (R) greets members of the military before speaking at Fort Bliss, Texas, August 31, 2012.
    Kent Klein
    WHITE HOUSE — U.S. President Barack Obama observed the second anniversary on Friday of the end of the Iraq War, in a visit to an Army base in Texas.  The Democratic president will then spend the Labor Day weekend campaigning, as will his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney.

    Two years after he announced the end of major U.S. combat operations in Iraq, Obama again went to Fort Bliss to pay tribute to the soldiers who fought in the war.

    “After nearly nine years, our war in Iraq was over. And today, Iraq has a chance to forge its own destiny," said Obama. "There are no American troops fighting and dying in Iraq. On this anniversary, we honor the memory of all who gave their lives there.”

    The president said the Army faces a tough fight in Afghanistan, but he promised that the war there will be ended responsibly, with the transition to Afghan control complete by the end of 2014.

    Obama called on Congress to pass a deficit reduction plan that avoids large cuts in the military budget.

    “There is no reason those cuts should happen. Because folks in Congress ought to come together and agree on a responsible plan that reduces the deficit and keeps our military strong,” he said.

    The president also said he has signed an executive order expanding suicide prevention and mental health treatment services for troops and veterans.

    Obama’s visit to the base was considered an official trip, not a campaign stop. But the speech was an election-year reminder that the president ended the Iraq war, and it preceded a weekend on the campaign trail.

    Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden campaigned Friday in the swing state of Ohio, where he told workers at an auto factory that the president’s 2009 bailout of the auto industry saved 1 million jobs.

    Biden ridiculed Republicans for criticizing the administration’s handling of the U.S. economy. He blamed Obama’s Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, for mishandling economic issues.

    “How do they think we went from a surplus and the middle class doing well, to, by the time we came into office, this disaster? As my little seven-year-old granddaughter would say, ‘Pop, did Caspy the Ghost do that?’ I mean, who did it? How did we get here?” said Biden.

    Obama canceled one of the two campaign stops he had planned for Ohio on Monday. Instead, he will go to Louisiana to review the government’s response to Hurricane Isaac.

    Republican nominee Mitt Romney went to Louisiana on Friday to survey the storm damage.  

    Before he left Florida, the scene of his party’s convention, the former Massachusetts governor asked supporters in the largest swing state to continue working for his election in the coming months.

    “I need to have you do the work on November 6 that gets me elected the next president of the United States. That has to happen here in Florida. And for that to happen, you are going to have to go out and find a person or two who voted for Barack Obama. I know they are here. They are not as visible as they used to be,” said Romney.

    At the same rally, Romney’s vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan, urged voters to put the country on a new path.

    “We can either stay on the path that America has been placed upon by President Obama - a path of debt, a path of doubt, a path of decline - or we can get people back to work," said Ryan. "We can restore growth in this economy and opportunity in our society. And the way we do that is we elect this man, Mitt Romney, the next president of the United States.”

    With the Republican National Convention concluded, Romney is beginning a period of intensive campaigning.

    Obama leaves Texas to visit the states of Iowa and Colorado for the second time this week, before stopping in Ohio, Louisiana and Virginia.

    The president will formally accept his party’s nomination for re-election at the Democratic National Convention next Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora