BAGHDAD (April 7, 2009) – In an unannounced visit Tuesday, President Barack Obama addressed about 1,500 American service members, government civilians and contractors assembled in the rotunda of Al Faw Palace in Baghdad, the headquarters of Multi-National Corps – Iraq.
During his remarks, the president lauded U.S. troops and government employees for their professionalism and sacrifice, telling them, “You have performed brilliantly in every mission that has been given to you.”
The president praised the assembled service members for their steadfast focus on the task at hand: “Through controversy and difficulty and politics, you kept your eyes focused on just doing your job.”
President Obama acknowledged that work remains to be done in Iraq, but told the service members that through their service, they have been critical in ensuring that Iraq no longer remains a haven for terrorists. “You have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country. That is an extraordinary achievement, and for that you have the thanks of the American people,” he said.
In closing his remarks, the president assured the audience that “we have not forgotten what you have already done; we are grateful for what you will do; and as long as I’m in the White House, you’re going to get the support you need, and the thanks that you deserve, from a grateful nation.”