President Barack Obama on Monday hailed this month's planned pullout of all American combat troops — "as promised and on schedule" — as a major success. The US leader said Iraq will have 90,000 fewer U.S. troops by September than when he took office.
"The hard truth is we have not seen the end of American sacrifice in Iraq," the president said in a speech to the national convention of the Disabled American Veterans. "But make no mistake, our commitment in Iraq is changing — from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats."
A transitional force of 50,000 troops will remain, down from the peak of 160,000 some three years ago. Their mission will be to train and advise Iraqi security forces, protect U.S. civilians, manage the chain of supplies and equipment out of Iraq and conduct counterterrorism operations.
All American troops are to leave Iraq by the end of next year.