Obama visits US troops, plans Bush call ahead of Iraq speech

US President Barack Obama met with wounded US soldiers and prepared to call his predecessor George W Bush a day ahead of an address marking the official end of the US combat mission in Iraq.

Last Updated: Aug 31, 2010, 13:33 PM IST

Washington: US President Barack Obama met
with wounded US soldiers and prepared to call his predecessor
George W Bush a day ahead of an address marking the official
end of the US combat mission in Iraq.

Obama`s convoy, yesterday afternoon, headed to the
Walter Reed military hospital in the north of US capital
Washington to meet with American troops injured in combat.
Obama is also scheduled to meet US soldiers recently
returned from Iraq today at a Texas military base before
returning to Washington to give the speech to the nation from
the Oval Office.

Though Bush returned to Texas to work on his memoirs
after leaving office, the White House said Obama was not
likely to see his predecessor while in the state.

"I don`t think we`ve got plans to see him, but my
sense is that it will be one of the calls that he makes
tomorrow," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.

Obama similarly consulted Bush, the architect of the
2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, before delivering the February
2009 speech in which he laid out the timeline with the
withdrawal of US troops from the country.

As of today, there will be fewer than 50,000 US
soldiers in the country, tasked primarily with training their
Iraqi counterparts, counter-terrorism efforts and protecting
and assisting with reconstruction work.

According to the timeline Obama set in 2009, and a
security agreement with Iraq that he inherited from the Bush
administration, the departure of all US troops from the
country should be complete by December 2011.

Obama opposed the March 2003 invasion of Iraq from the
beginning, and Gibbs said yesterday that history appeared to
bear out the wisdom of his opposition.
"If you look back to the debate in 2002 and in early
2003, I think there`s no doubt that there were a series of
miscalculations that were made as we got into Iraq," he said.

"I don`t think there`s any doubt that both the way we
went in and with the type of resources that we went in with,
we made some pretty huge strategic and tactical errors," Gibbs
added.

PTI