Obama Thanks Soldiers
Mr. Obama visits Fort Bliss ahead of primetime speech on Iraq.
Today marks the official end to the U.S. combat mission in Iraq and tonight the president is marking the occasion with a prime time Oval Office address to the nation.
President Obama first marked Transition Day by saying thanks to soldiers at Fort Bliss, Texas.
"The country appreciates you, I appreciate you, and the most pride I take in my job is
being your Commander-in-Chief," Mr. Obama told the crowd.
Seven and a half years after shock and awe started the war, all but 50,000 American troops are out.
The remaining are now on a mission to train Iraqi forces.
Still, with more than 4,400 Americans dead and a price tag that could approach one trillion dollars, tonight's speech will be more about a milestone than a mission accomplished.
"Our combat phase is over but we've worked too hard to neglect the continuing work that has to be done by our civilians and those transitional forces," the president said.
Violence has surged in recent weeks and months after elections.
Iraq still has no permanent government.
The White House has remained tight-lipped on whether President Obama will mention President Bush by name in his speech this evening, but he did phone the former president today.
Neither would say what they talked about.