President Obama speaks to the nation Tuesday from the Oval Office on the end of the U.S. combat role in Iraq. Here are three key questions the president could answer in his speech:
Q: How will Obama relate the Iraq experience to the ongoing war in Afghanistan?
Obama pretty much made the war in Afghanistan his when he made the decision to send 30,000 more troops to fight what has become the longest U.S. war — which soon will be nine years. And he had to replace his handpicked commander after he and his staff were portrayed as having a less than favorable view of their civilian leaders.
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Obama wants to start withdrawing U.S. troops in less than a year but hasn’t defined the pace at which they’ll leave the country. And his military leaders, including Gen. David Petraeus, his new commander, have expressed concern about meeting that deadline.
Q: Will Obama address his opposition to the troop “surge,” which some cite as a turning point for the better in the Iraq war?
Both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden opposed the surge when they were members of the Senate and on the 2008 campaign trail — it was a key issue between the Democratic ticket and Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, one of the leading advocates of the surge.