- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 22, 2011

It took President Obama’s re-election campaign a little more than 24 hours to try to capitalize on the president’s announcement that he is withdrawing all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year.

In an email to supporters Saturday afternoon, Obama for America policy director James Kvaal said, “we accomplished one major change” with the president’s announcement on Friday.

“The war in Iraq was a divisive, defining issue in our country for nearly nine years, and was the catalyst for many Americans to get involved in politics for the first time,” Mr. Kvaal said. “Now, thanks to the actions of this President, we can say that conflict is coming to a close.”

Mr. Obama announced all U.S. troops would come home by Dec. 31, after negotiations with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki failed to produce an agreement on the question of immunity for American soldiers in that country. The administration originally had planned to keep several thousand troops in Iraq into 2012 to help with training of Iraqi forces.

The decision brings to a conclusion a war that has lasted nearly nine years, claimed the lives of more than 4,400 U.S. soldiers and cost more than $800 billion. Mr. Obama campaigned in 2008 on the promise to end the war in Iraq, which he once referred to as “stupid.”

Mr. Kvaal reminded supporters that the president is also bringing troops home from Afghanistan, and that the week “also marked the definitive end” of Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya. Rebel forces killed Col. Gadhafi as he fled in a convoy from his hometown.

“These outcomes are an example of what happens when a leader sets a plan and sees it through,” Mr. Kvaal said.