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Obama: Iraq withdrawal, Libya show renewed U.S. leadership

Published 11:16am Monday, October 24, 2011

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says the death of Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi and the end of the Iraq war are powerful reminders of America’s renewed leadership in the world.

At the same time, Obama said Saturday that the U.S. now must tackle its “greatest challenge as a nation” — rebuilding a weak economy and creating jobs — with the “same urgency and unity that our troops brought to their fight.”

Obama informed the nation on Friday that the long and costly war in Iraq will be over by the end of the year and that some 40,000 U.S. servicemen and women still there “will definitely be home for the holidays.”

A day earlier, he hailed the killing of Libya’s longtime leader as a “momentous day” in the history of a country that Gadhafi had ruled for decades through tyranny.

Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address that these foreign policy successes were part of a larger story.

“This week, we had two powerful reminders of how we’ve renewed American leadership in the world,” Obama said. “After a decade of war, we’re turning the page and moving forward, with strength and confidence.”

He said withdrawing troops from Iraq has allowed the U.S. to focus on Afghanistan and score major victories against al-Qaida, including the killing in May of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. Troops also have been coming home from Afghanistan.

Obama said ending both wars will allow the U.S. to focus on rebuilding a weak economy so it can start creating enough jobs to reduce high levels of unemployment. That could possibly aid his re-election bid, which is

being jeopardized by the tough financial circumstances.

“Over the past decade, we spent a trillion dollars on war, borrowed heavily from overseas and invested too little in the greatest source of our national strength — our own people,” the president said. “Now, the nation we need to build is our own.”

In the Republicans’ weekly message, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., bemoaned 32 consecutive months with unemployment above 8 percent.

While Obama on Saturday called anew for passage of his $447 billion jobs bill, Burr urged action on a Republican alternative.

Senate Republicans recently blocked Obama’s overall bill, leaving Democrats in charge of the chamber to try to pass it piece by piece. But Republican senators also blocked action on the first component of the larger bill, a $35 billion measure to boost hiring of teachers and emergency services workers.

In turn, Democrats stalled a measure both parties support that would stop the government from withholding 3 percent of payments to government contractors.

A test vote is expected next month, after the Senate returns from vacation, on a $60 billion bill to finance construction of roads, bridges and other public works projects.

Burr said people are hurting and the economy is in “grave danger.”

“It’s time for Congress to focus on the American people and not how difficult change might be,” he said. “It’s time stop playing games and to get on with the serious business that the American people expect from us.”

  • jnstok01@gmail.com

    It is indeed, time to stop playing games, which is what the inane ‘Jobs Bill’ is all about-a useless, worthless piece of junk stimulus that is a mere drop in the bucket stacked up against our debt. If 700+ billion dollars did not stimulate our economy, why, dear heavens, would an additional $400+ billion work? Its laughable and absurd!
    The only thing that is going to stimulate this economy is to cut the stranglehold the government has on capitalism/entrepreneurship in this country! As far as hiring more teachers and EM workers, police, etc, these are local issues that have NOTHING to do with Federal govt and they need to mind their own business. What I remember from my US Govt classes in high School back in the stone age is that all 50 states are sovereign govts to themselves and the Feds have no say in what each state wants for its own citizens. This just enrages me, how the Feds think they can micro-control what is NOT theirs!
    As far as getting completely out of Iraq? This is a total failure in diplomacy and makes us look like fools in the eyes of other countries. 4500 of our citizens died there, trillions of dollars have been spent and we’re just going to turn it over to be plucked up by Iran? It’s madness! It is all about the Obamanation’s re-election. He is a fool. This will not work. He absolutely refuses to take the advice of his generals and statesmen who have told him this was not the thing to do. Obama is arrogant to the detriment of our country, a country he does not love or respect.

  • Walt Henry

    I suspose there is historical precedence for Americans to speak their opinions even when they have no basis in fact. We have the right to do that. However, were I the Judge of those things moral, I would take a dim view of those refuse to accept numbers and facts that contradict what they proclaim to others. If you look at the data on GDP at the time of the last Presidential election, it is a FACT GDP was dropping at more than 6%. At about the time Congress agreed to Stimulus 1, GDP began to grow at more than 5%. If you look at employment data at the time of the election, we were shedding jobs at more than 700,000 a month. If you look at that same data you will notice the unemployment number dropped with Stimulus 1. Those are FACTS! Does that mean Stimulus 1 was the cause of the improvement? Does it prove it hurt the economy? Those you can argue, but what a reasonable/moral person can not do is ignor the facts. As to the weakness in the economy since Stimulus 1, check the data for GDP around the time of the Congressional GOP led fight to cut government spending. Did that hurt the economy? Standard and Poors thought it did.
    To the point of government controls–was the current President leading at the time of the bank collapse? Weren’t the controls added after government failed to do its job of oversight through regulation? (The House voted to rescind air pollution standards for cement manufactures even though they are the fourth leading polluters of our enviroment with mercury. We need more mercury in our food and fish?)
    I spend many days in high school classrooms. It is my opinion, very few of those students have the intellectual maturity to understand the significance of events of history. There seem to be many former high schoolers how remember only Jefferson and ignor the intrusion into states rights, even personal property rights, by the national government in the 1860′s.
    For more examples of the nonsense we learned in school–google coronet educational films and watch a few of the “social propogada” films we were forced to watch. Maybe its time we relearned some of that stuff. At the very least, let’s try and be moral.

    • Walt Henry

      who remember jefferson: not how

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