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Troop withdrawal: Obama to end Iraq war by August 2010

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Jim Young/Reuters

(Read caption) Speaking of US soldiers killed in Iraq, Obama told Marines at Camp Lejeune today, 'They live on in the memories of those who wear your uniform, in the hearts of those they loved, and in the freedom of the nation they served.'

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The venue speaks volumes.

President Obama announced today his plans for withdrawing US troops from Iraq. He did it from North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune, where thousands of Marines are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. (You can read his speech here.)

This is as much a message to Americans as it is Europeans: We have a new priority.

Mr. Obama has already made clear to European countries that he’d like to see a more robust NATO presence in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, whose influence has been growing steadily in many regions.

In signaling an end of Iraq combat missions by Aug. 31, 2010, Obama is compromising between his campaign promise to withdraw within 16 months – showing his willingness to listen to his military commanders, some of whom had pressed for a later deadline.

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