Editor’s Note: Using flowery metaphors doesn’t make it true.
|President Barack Obama (C) and US Army Maj. Gen.
Michael Linnington attend a Veterans Day ceremony
© AFP/Getty Images/File Chip Somodevilla
ARLINGTON, Virginia (AFP) – President Barack Obama on Friday told the conflict-weary US public that looming withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq and Moamer Kadhafi’s ouster in Libya meant “the tide of war is receding.”
“After a decade of war, the nation we now need to build is our own,” Obama said in somber Veterans Day holiday remarks after placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in the storied US military cemetery in Arlington.
The president paid tribute to US forces he said pulled Iraq from sectarian chaos and put it on track “to forge a better future,” “pushed back the Taliban, decimated Al-Qaeda” in Afghanistan, and “helped end Kadhafi’s brutal dictatorship and returned Libya to its people.”
And Obama praised the soldiers who killed Osama bin Laden in a daring US commando raid in May, saying they had delivered “the ultimate justice” to the Al-Qaeda mastermind a decade after the September 11 strikes.
“Because of their incredible efforts, we can stand here today and say with confidence the tide of war is receding,” Obama said.
He noted that all US combat troops are due to leave Iraq by year’s end and quit Afghanistan come 2014, stressing: “My fellow Americans, our troops are coming home.”
Obama said the ranks of US armed forces veterans would swell by one million over the next five years on top of three million who had shed the uniform in the past decade, and he challenged the country to tap their potential.
US government statistics paint a glum picture for what Obama dubbed “9-11 generation” veterans, with 12.1 percent unemployment, far higher than the historically high national average of about nine percent.
“At a time when America needs all hands on deck, they have the skills and strength to help lead the way,” Obama said, adding that the brittle US economy “needs their tremendous talents and specialized skills.”
The US president, his November 2012 reelection sure to hinge on his handling of the economy, predicted that new veterans will “play a pivotal role in rebuilding America’s opportunity and prosperity in the 21st century.”
“We know it will be hard. We have to overcome new threats to our security and prosperity. And we’ve got to overcome the cynical voices warning that America’s best days are behind us,” he said.
“But if there is anything our veterans teach us, it’s that there is no threat we cannot meet. There is no challenge we cannot overcome. America’s best days are still ahead,” he promised.
© AFP — Published at Activist Post with license