Thursday, January 28, 2010

Obama: Bring Troops Home, Support Veterans

President Obama’s first State of the Union address last night concluded with Obama noting the administration’s “largest increase in investments for veterans in decades — last year.” Obama did not directly address the infamous ‘culture of denial’ our veterans endure at the U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs, but he did commit to a specific policy in Iraq and Afghanistan “so … our troops can begin to come home.”

Below are Obama remarks pertaining directly to veterans affairs from his address.

… And in Afghanistan, we’re increasing our troops and training Afghan security forces so they can begin to take the lead in July of 2011, and our troops can begin to come home. (Applause.) We will reward good governance, work to reduce corruption, and support the rights of all Afghans — men and women alike. (Applause.) We’re joined by allies and partners who have increased their own commitments, and who will come together tomorrow in London to reaffirm our common purpose. There will be difficult days ahead. But I am absolutely confident we will succeed.

As we take the fight to al Qaeda, we are responsibly leaving Iraq to its people. As a candidate, I promised that I would end this war, and that is what I am doing as President. We will have all of our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of this August. (Applause.) We will support the Iraqi government — we will support the Iraqi government as they hold elections, and we will continue to partner with the Iraqi people to promote regional peace and prosperity. But make no mistake: This war is ending, and all of our troops are coming home. (Applause.)

Tonight, all of our men and women in uniform — in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and around the world –- they have to know that we — that they have our respect, our gratitude, our full support. And just as they must have the resources they need in war, we all have a responsibility to support them when they come home. (Applause.) That’s why we made the largest increase in investments for veterans in decades — last year. (Applause.) That’s why we’re building a 21st century VA. And that’s why Michelle has joined with Jill Biden to forge a national commitment to support military families. (Applause.) …

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