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Obama Pledges to Withdraw US Troops From Iraq

By VOA News
03 July 2008

The presumptive Democratic Party U.S. presidential nominee, Barack Obama, says he will begin ending U.S. troop involvement in the war in Iraq on his first day in office.

Obama made the pledge while speaking to reporters Thursday in the north-central U.S. state of North Dakota. He said that on his first day in office, he will instruct the five top U.S. military officers the Joint Chiefs of Staff to end the war "responsibly and decisively."

Obama said he intends to remove U.S. troops from Iraq at a pace that will lead to a total withdrawal in 16 months.

The Illinois senator also said his Republican rival, John McCain, must explain why he wants to extend the U.S. mission in Iraq. Senator McCain has said that U.S. troops could be in Iraq for many years and that a greater military commitment is needed to achieve long-term success.

McCain also has warned against withdrawing the 160,000 U.S. troops too quickly from Iraq.

Earlier Thursday, Obama pledged to improve care for U.S. veterans if elected president. He spoke ahead of the U.S. Independence Day holiday Friday.

John McCain is finishing a three-day visit to Latin America. The veteran Arizona lawmaker discussed free trade and combatting drug trafficking during stops in Colombia and Mexico.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.

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