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Welcome back everyone well tonight's the big night President Obama expected to announce the formal end of US combat operations in Iraq.
-- -- change our mission there and into rock stable enough to stand alone on its own.
Joining me now white house press secretary Robert Gibbs good morning to mr.
Gibbs good morning how are you.
I'm doing just fine so the big question today is why now why not wait until Iraq is a bit more stable -- tonight.
Well look I think Iraqi.
Despite the fact that they're still violence in Iraq and there certainly will continue to be.
It is general Ray Odierno told the president in the situation room a few weeks ago it's among the the lowest in measurable violence that we've seen in the seven and a half years.
That American troops have have -- in Iraq.
There's no doubt that we're still in the midst of government formation but the Iraqi Security Forces provided the security for that election.
And I think what's important today is that as we transition out of our combat role to assisting the Iraqis.
The future in the history of Iraq will be written by -- responsible -- the Iraqis will be responsible for writing that.
-- President Obama recognized the success of the surge put in place by President Bush tonight.
Well look there's no doubt the first and foremost that the the men and women in uniform and the sacrifices.
The that I think we're all in all the president will -- today it looked at Fort Bliss when he stops there as well as in his speech.
I don't think there's any doubt -- candidate Obama said that adding 20000 men and women into Iraq would improve the security situation.
I think a long -- yeah.
-- thanks you know -- -- to get back in 2007 he said he was against the search.
No he he he said he was it gets -- -- he said there was no doubt that adding 20000 men and women would improve the security situation.
But as we know our efforts in Iraq we're gonna be done simply militarily Gretchen.
There had to be a political accommodation we -- sectarian violence between Sunni Shia and Kurd and quite frankly this city in the -- the current head to decide who they were gonna live and work together.
Four and Iraq.
That -- their future needs and not fighting each other I think that's why we're at the -- this moment and that's what the president -- -- will -- no way in which the president will address his flip flop on the issue tonight.
But I think Gretchen I.
I I'm I'm happy to spend a lot of time looking back.
-- decisions for years ago or even seven and a half years ago I think what's important.
-- you guys play political games the president the -- That men and women and to mark the the end of our combat mission.
No -- here I think a lot of people in the American public are wanting to know what the president will say how -- rectify what he said back in 2007.
Let me ask you this what we're going to do it should be clear that -- adequate progress at all President Bush today -- -- he calls President Bush.
Well I think the president will talk about.
That the situation in Iraq.
Thank the president for his service for his love of country.
And I think they'll have nice and private quiet conversation.
About what's going on in the world.
Will the president will President Obama.
Credit President Bush tonight in his speech that the success in Iraq.
Again I Gingrich I think you've asking this question twice and and I've given.
-- ask you the question will President Obama I think President Bush tonight during his thoughts on getting the success of the search.
Don't know that that's actually on the fourth I think that's if that quickly.
-- let me give you the same answer I gave the game you get three strikes and you're out you've had five chances to answer the question will he -- credit President Bush to -- I.
I don't know whether this is you actually interview me or just a tape of you looping the same question.
Over and over again.
There is no doubt in the president will mention that hating men and women into Iraq.
Improve the security situation there's no doubt about that but I think we would all recognize -- if he'll take a moment to understand.
That we wouldn't be where we are in Iraq without the political accommodation we wouldn't be in Iraq.
Where we are Iraq today without the Sunni awakening were Sunni tribes decided instead of fighting with al-Qaeda they were gonna fight against outside.
There -- a whole series of factors that weighed in two marking where we are today.
I have one question for you Gretchen do you support the fact that the presence pulling out more than 90000.
Troops today and ending -- combat.
This is not an interview of Gretchen Carlson this is an interview with the spokesman I love that President Obama does well most important issues facing the American public today but one question for you Linda I can even -- five more times.
Well that would be very cute I guess -- let's go back to why.
Tonight because you have Michael O'Hanlon was from the Brookings institute.
Saying that this is not the right time for a victory lap.
If I were him speaking to the president I would wait until they had a government and do it with Iraqis together how would you respond to mr.
O'Hanlon on that.
Well -- look Gretchen I've said this before this is not a victory lap you're not gonna see.
Haiti mission accomplished banners that'll be unfurled and you'll hear the president.
Say the words mission accomplished we understand that violence will still continue.
We understand we still have troops there.
But it's important -- transition -- roll out of Iraq and put the Iraqis in control and make sure that the Iraqis are responsible.
For the decisions that have to govern that country.
That's also a reason why we're marking this transition today is -- put pressure on the Iraqis to come up with.
Decisions and accommodations that they could live with themselves rather than fighting each other because -- told that we were gonna be there forever and that at a certain point we -- gonna transition out.
It's their responsibility the vice president's over there now I don't think there's any doubt that we will very soon have.
Government in place the last election it took six months to form a government this election was certified in June and I think we're making progress.
Toward that it.
And undoubtedly your boss the president will thank the troops tonight during his speech as well.
You you know that the president will start today aggressive at Fort Bliss which -- also the heaviest combat fighting.
The very beginning of this war they had troops that would that have been served there continuously some -- -- 23 and four times.
You you know -- whether you agree that we should have water not whether you agree on the certain tactics I think we can all agree.
That the men and women have -- uniform that -- -- men and women in uniform and those to provide.
Our safety and security had sacrificed in the families that they have that sacrificed so much -- -- group of people that we are forever indebted to.
All right very well said Robert Gibbs spokesperson to the president of we will all watch tonight 8 PM eastern time thanks for your time this morning.
Thank you come.
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