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Obama Seeks to End Iraq Combat Mission in 2010

Speaking at North Carolina's Camp Lejeune Friday, President Barack Obama set a timetable to withdraw U.S. combat troops from Iraq in 2010, while leaving a transitional force in place. Kwame Holman reports on the president's speech and reactions on Capitol Hill.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    President Obama set out a timetable today to get almost all U.S. combat troops out of Iraq by August of 2010. It was one of his major campaign issues, and he went before a military audience to explain his plans.

    Kwame Holman has our lead story report.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    The war has lasted nearly six years and claimed the lives of 4,252 American troops; 142,000 Americans remain on the ground there.

    But today at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the new commander-in-chief told 2,000 U.S. Marines it's time to transition most U.S. forces out.

    BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States: This strategy is grounded in a clear and achievable goal shared by the Iraqi people and the American people: an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, and self-reliant.

    Here's what we will not do: We will not let the pursuit of the perfect stand in the way of achievable goals.

    We cannot rid Iraq of every single individual who opposes America or sympathizes with our adversaries. We cannot police Iraq's streets indefinitely until they are completely safe, nor can we stay until Iraq's union is perfect.

    We cannot sustain indefinitely a commitment that has put a strain on our military and will cost the American people nearly a trillion dollars.