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To mark the official, for-real-this-time end of the war in Iraq, President Obama delivered a speech at Fort Bragg, N.C. today in front of thousands of troops. "As your commander-and-chief, and on behalf on this great nation, I am happy to say these two words -- and I think your families would agree: welcome home." It's strange to see a one-time state senator who once strongly opposed the war glow about that war's success, especially after claiming unlike empires of the past, the U.S. didn't go to war for "territory or resources" (like the war's detractors accused the U.S. of doing) but instead for the self-determination of other nations. But he does concede that "it' s harder to end a war than begin one" and of course there's none of the pageantry of a "Mission Accomplished" banner. While acknowledging that the nation the U.S.'s allied forces are leaving is hardly perfect, "we're leaving behind a sovereign, stable Iraq." His most poignant remark may be this: "We are ending a war, not with a final battle, but with a march toward home. This is an extraordinary achievement."

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