MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Recalling “those awful attacks,” President Barack Obama saluted the 9/11 generation of veterans Tuesday and publicly relished the prospect of U.S. forces getting out of both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“They have borne an extraordinary burden, with more than 2 million of our service members deploying to the war zones,” Obama said. “Hundreds of thousands have deployed again and again, year after year. Never before has our nation asked so much of our all-volunteer force — that 1 percent of Americans who wears the uniform.”

Speaking before thousands of veterans and their families attending the American Legion’s annual convention, Obama said the Americans who have worn the uniform since Sept. 11 have put the nation in a position of strength and have earned their place among the greatest of generations.

“Every day for the past 10 years, these men and women have succeeded together as one American team,” Obama said.

Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; more than 6,200 American troops have been killed and tens of thousands wounded.

Since taking office, Obama has set a course for drawing down both wars after a decade of continuous conflict. All U.S. troops are set to leave Iraq by the end of this year, though the Iraqis could still request that some American troops stay. And in Afghanistan, the 33,000 surge forces Obama deployed in late 2009 are set to come home by the end of next summer, with the U.S. aiming to transfer the lead security role to Afghan forces by 2014, leaving remaining U.S. forces in a support role.

“For our troops and military families who have sacrificed so much, this means relief from an unrelenting decade of operations,” Obama said.

Still, the president spoke of ending, not of winning, the Afghanistan war. “As our mission transitions from combat to support, Afghans will take responsibility for their own security, and the longest war in American history will come to a responsible end,” he said.

Even as Obama spoke, an Associated Press tally showed that August has become the deadliest month for U.S. troops in the nearly 10-year-old war in Afghanistan, where international forces have started to go home and have left Afghan forces to take charge of securing their country.

A record 66 U.S. troops have died so far this month, more than the 65 killed in July 2010. This month’s death toll soared when 30 Americans — most of them elite Navy SEALs — were killed in a helicopter crash Aug. 6.

Obama said the nation’s commitment to service members must continue after they return home. He outlined steps his administration has taken to combat homelessness among veterans and support wounded warriors, especially those with traumatic brain injuries.

Despite pressure for Washington to slash its debt and deficits, Obama pledged to protect programs that assist veterans from looming budget cuts.

“We cannot, will not, and we must not, balance the budget on the backs of our veterans,” Obama said.

The president also acknowledged that the shaky economy means veterans face uncertain employment prospects when they return home. He highlighted initiatives he proposed earlier this summer that would create new training programs for veterans and give tax credits to companies that hire service members.

The White House has said 1 million military veterans are unemployed. Among those who joined the military after the Sept. 11 attacks, the unemployment rate was 13.3 percent as of June.

The nationwide unemployment rate is 9.1 percent.

Getting more veterans to work was high on the minds of those attending the convention.

“We do feel like veterans should have priority because of their service to their country,” said Eddie Price, an 86-year-old World War II veteran from Wilson, N.C. “Almost every state, they tell me the veteran unemployment is higher than the regular unemployment. That doesn’t seem right.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Gallery: President Obama’s Visit To Minneapolis

President Obama’s Speech, Part 1

President Obama’s Speech, Part 2

President Obama’s Speech, Part 3

President Obama’s Speech, Part 4

Comments (57)
  1. Sue J says:

    Thank you Vets, great job!!!

  2. Doug T says:

    Oh lord…

    “Obama To Tackle Issues Facing Vets”

    I am sure he will have a speech – not sure if any good will come from it though.

    And yes – Thank You Vets – you deserve better. Better support and a better commander in chief….

    1. Happy says:

      YUp, I’m a Vet and I don’t believe a word he’s saying. he’s planning on attacking Syria then Iran after that

      1. Dave's Not Here says:

        Dumbest Post of the Day. Sorry I missed this one yesterday or I would have openly mocked it then for its complete and utter stupidity. Way to go.

      2. Joe Biden the clown says:

        Best post ever!! Thank you vet.!! You speak for the majority of America now.

  3. shirley says:

    Thank you Prsident Obama, for giving our veterans the recognition they so much deserve , and hopefully this will call attention to employers who can hire them back into the work force..

    1. Bawney Fwank says:

      Thanks Dumbo for never serving so that makes you an expert!!! TOO STUPID!

  4. I'm Just Sayin' says:

    Thank You Vets.

  5. Jimmy Obama says:

    Can you say One-Term President?

  6. Democrat says:

    The vets need to understand they are being used as a prop for another Obama photo op. Obama has done more to destroy what vets have fought for than any other world leader. He thinks you’re dumb enough to believe he cares about you. Tell the bum to leave and don’t come back….oh, and take Ellison and Franken with him!

    1. Proud Vet says:

      Sorry to spoil your party, “democrat” but this president has done more in his 2 years for veterans’ issues than the previous administration did in 8 years. Perhaps you should instead ask why the Tea Party candidates are calling for a halt to agent orange compensation benefits.

      1. Harold says:

        Where did you read that the Shanghai Post?

      2. dan says:

        He has also spent more money in the past 2 years than the 8 years under Bush! Buying short term jobs doesnt improve the economy in the long run.

  7. soapboxgod says:

    Hmmm, maybe the veterans will ask the president why the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs failed to inform 6 million soldiers and their families of an agreement enabling Prudential Financial Inc. to withhold lump-sum payments of life insurance benefits for survivors of fallen service members, according to records made public through a Freedom of Information request.

    More from Bloomberg> http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-14/veterans-agency-arranged-secret-deal-with-prudential-over-soldier-benefits.html

  8. Jason says:

    Thank you vets. Obama stop campaigning.

  9. nobama says:

    As a Vet I dont need or want Obamas help he is disgrace to our flag!

  10. pjz says:

    Lots of haters…why? The Republicans haven’t stopped campaigning since Obama took office. Mitch McDonnell: “Our goal is to make him a one-term President”. They’ve basically done it by not cooperating on anything just so they can win the 2012 election. Sick.

    1. Give me liberty says:

      Please. Obama had both the House and Senate when elected and couldn’t get anything done. Couldn’t even pass a budget. American’s saw that and voted out the Dems in the mid terms because they didn’t like the direction.

      If only the President’s only responsbility was to campaign and read off a teleprompter.

      The Democrats mascot should be excuses. But I guess an Ass works.

      1. Give me liberty says:

        @ pjz

        Check out a thread on any Bachmann article if you want to see what is sick.

      2. Joe says:

        Couldn’t get anything done?


        One other thing–you put an apostrophe on “American” when you should have simply used the plural form (no apostrophe). Really.

    2. Nancy Piglosi says:

      Win they will. Dumbo hasn’t quit his 2008 campaign yet and the blame tour is boring. I pray Dumbo is a one term POTUS so our country can recover from our own Quadaffi!!

  11. I'm Just Sayin' says:

    This has nothing to do with MB. What has President Obama done? What is his platform? His competition has not even been selected yet and you are comparring him to the person that took a distant third. why not compare him to the front runnier or number two? apparently the only way you can make President Obama look good is to compare him to a far right hack. I want to know what he promised, what he delieverd on and what he failed to deliver on.

    1. another liar says:

      He hasn’t done anything. He is the party of I.
      Everything he campaigned and promised, never happened.

    2. soapboxgod says:

      “What has President Obama done?”

      Expanded the wars, signed into law an extension of the Patriot Act, continued rendition, kept Gitmo open, continued spending and supporting the inflationary monetization of debt, sent the Feds after organic farmers and sellers of raw milk whilst knowing full well Cargill had an issue with salmonella turkey, etc.

      1. yep says:

        This dude has no idea what he’s doing. From community organizer to flash in the pan senator, to PRESIDENT? So dude steps into the White House, Georgy says “Hey, we’re printin’ up some funny money—gotta bail out some banks and such. Huh,hu,huh—yeah, well, good luck with that.” Then, instead of thinking about it for even a second or collaborating with our dufus Congress, he throws the ball to the Fed. The fed just tosses money at it like a dart board, not bothering to…write it down…and here we are. Aren’t “good” democrats supposed to say “hey, instead of bailing out the banks, let’s bail out the housing and cut some deals”—or “hey, instead of lining the pockets of Wall Street, maybe we should stimulate this economy any way we can and preserve that. Protect the people who save their measly crumbs of cash rather than the big dogs on the stock ticker?” Nice model Democrat. Time for you to go back to Chicago where you learned it from the best of the best. Tired of lame a** leadership.

        1. easyrider says:

          Can’t lead when the pack won’t follow. He’s not digging his heels in, it’s the Congress who’s done that. We should also be looking critically at all our Private Institutions, not only wall street and the banks. Wall street and the Banks are the primary cause of the housing crisis, and they did it because they could. No one who could stop what happened was saying they should stop. We should want to know why that happened and learn how to prevent it from happening again. Any guesses to why Private Institutions can cause something like the housing crisis? (It’s probably best if it’s more than just a guess.)

          1. nope says:

            We do know why it happened–it’s broadly published. Obama should have been exactly the guy to turn it around. He didn’t. He followed the pack mentality like a deer in the headlights. What we have here, is a reactionary government, as a whole. You can blame Wall Street and the banks all you want, they were also reactionary in the process of this build up. Ultimately, we have a problem with policy and a problem with people making bad decisions in their reaction to policy. And it’s not over.

            1. Proof we've known (should have known) for a long, long, time says:

              “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.- NO MORE FED!

              1. nope says:

                Oh, that was said by Thomas Jefferson, forgot to put his very important name on that!

                1. easyrider says:

                  Just guesses, some is right, but wrong as far as out of context emotional reaction goes. We are the government. We elect those who make policy. We have to understand where those policies take us in a historical context, the how and when they change that leads us to today. What Jefferson meant was restoring control by regulation. If that isn’t the Federal Government, then who is to control that issuing power?

                2. nope says:

                  It’s not a guess. It’s fact. You can know these things, if you want to. Everything I write here can be looked up and fact checked. The Fed does not answer to anyone—not even the president. The only fear the Fed has, is the fear that they will be closed down. The Fed makes monetary policy. For purposes of a short post—the Fed makes monetary policy—that gets implemented by the central banks—that goes to banks—that goes to us. Where do we fit in there? Where does Congressional policy fit in there? Thomas Jefferson is rolling and rolling in his grave—somebody better dig that poor guy up!

                3. nope says:

                  by the way easyrider, I always enjoy posting with you. eventually, we’re going to come full circle and see eye to eye if we keep it going. we did this with the chinese shoes! you really are a pretty cool cat.

                4. easyrider says:

                  Yes, we do usually agree eventually. Ultimately the control does go to us, and that does mean regulating the banking system. The Federal banking system does control our interest rates in a certain arena, but that isn’t reflected in how the individual banks themselves act towards the common citizen. The banks don’t know who owns the morgages on any given house they are foreclosing on. Interest rates on individual credit cards have been raised dramatically by the banks. A savings account with an individual bank yields next to nothing. It appears to me that regulation is in order…with a broad brush. And thanks by the way, for the compliment.

                5. nope says:

                  Oh, hold on there, easyrider. Since we know how this is going to end, here we go. I’m gonna give it my best shot right up front. The Fed makes monetary policy which includes setting the money supply and interest rates. In a good economy, like that of 2000-2007—money was flowing like water at easy rates. Anyone could borrow, even against the equity of their own house. While demand for housing was high, prices went up on those houses allowing for equity on existing houses. By the way, Banks had no requirements to keep reserve funds because they’ve never had requirements to maintain reserve funds. So they loaned all their available funds out—to make money. When banks have a lot of money (set by the Feds monetary policy, in this case it was Greenspan), people can borrow a lot of money. Since no one ever thought housing prices could ever possibly go down, they kept loaning so to meet demand even though we could see that prices of houses were insanely high and out of sync with peoples (relatively consistent) incomes. Well, some of us could see.
                  Greedy loan writers realized they were making some good jing—coming up with creative alternative mortgages to get rather stupid people to sign on the dotted line, knowing that they were gonna grant the bad loan and then sell the loan to Wall Street anyway. The people signing thought this was great—they qualify for a house! Of course they do, they’ve been partyin’ like 1999 with their credit cards already, so of course they can have a house. The banks have always known the mortgage market to be stable because, in the past, it was rare to default on a mortgage unless of hardship or death.
                  Wall Street buys up these (bad) assets because they were bundled into triple A bonds set by our wonderful rating agencies. This spins out of control with no one really keeping their eye on the ball. The first batch of those nasty adjustable rate/balloon/liar loans comes due. Uh, oh. That’s the first stage. Agree? Cuz I’m not gonna keep ranting if there’s no one to rant with.

      2. Dave's Not Here says:

        Expanded the wars? You can’t even demonstrate that a little bit.

  12. just sayin says:

    I swear, every time this guy opens his mouth, the stocks go in the red. Why?

    1. yep says:

      So—–EXACTLY—–what I want to know!! Keep these downer dorks (Obama and Bernanke) off the clock and TV until after the closing bell has rung!

      1. Dave's Not Here says:

        Uhh, that is simply not true, no matter how badly you wish it were.

        Nice try though, geniuses…

  13. pam T says:

    Putting together and passing a budget is the job of Congress. Someone please tell me when/how this became the job of the President – read the Constitution – Congress holds the purse strings. Everyone’s frustration should be directed at the Legislative Branch (Congress) for not doing their job. Why is all this pent up frustration not being directed at them for not doing their job?

    1. yep says:

      because the majority of congress at the time of Obama’s entrance were Democrat–and they, for whatever reason, didn’t get it done. Now, they fight like crazy dogs for even proposing a version of a budget. I do like Ron Pauls kid–Rand’s budget proposal but I don’t think it’s gonna fly.

      1. hard rains says:

        I’m a vet and I like what he’s trying to do for the Vets. Most Corporations don’t want to take a chance on vets who’ve been in combat because they are ‘afraid’ they might ‘go crazy’. As for the first two years, Congress and the Prez saved this country from another Great Depression. He bailed out the banks, wall street, the auto companies, and they showed their gratitude by returning to the same kinds of practices that got us into this mess…after the majority of congress became Republican, who, like crazy dogs just dig the hole deeper.

  14. Kevin says:

    Obami has done nothing to help vets. He has done just the opposite.Look at his record and the facts! More election time bs…

  15. Dave says:

    Obama/Biden 2012!

    1. dan says:

      Not sure if you heard the new polls today, but 27% of Democrats wish they had another choice. Obamas approval numbers are at 37%. No candidate has been re-elected with these types of numbers

      1. StraycatStrut says:

        @ Dan…….. Obama’s approval rating is soooooo low …..even the Kenyons are saying he was born in America.

  16. Mike says:

    Obama will have a landslide win …. again.

    1. Jimmy Barrack Carter says:

      Old One Term President

  17. Joseph E. Blow says:

    It is the job of the president to rise above and lead the nation. This man has not led, has dictated with the help of Pelosi and Reid. The last election was a damning judgment of the present administration, but they are not listening. This is Chicago style politics at a national level. Face it, Pam, the president is only listening to his political advisors and not the American people.

  18. Joseph E. Blow says:

    The veterans, who frequently become the fortgtten, are the most vulnerable in the present administration. Those serving now an those who bring the terror of war home with them should be the focus of our government. Get those kids out of there and bring them home, stop putting timelines on their return to normal life. Bin Laden is dead, mission accomplished, sen them home. Stop letting children die in wars that no longer matter.

    1. Dave's Not Here says:

      Uhh, that is precisely what is happening. We’ll be out of Iraq in less than 18 months. We’ll be out of Afghanistan in just about the same timeframe.

      How is it possible you have not the slightest clue about any of this, yet it’s public knowledge? I’m guessing you have some real idiots whispering in your ear and that you’re the most gullible person they know…

  19. Fact says:

    He won’t be getting a 2nd term. He has destroyed any chances of that.

  20. Joseph E. Blow says:

    Obama never served in the military. To have made him commander-in chief was was a long stretch, but to have him speaking for veterans is going too far. You have to wear the uniform to know the pain it can cause. This president is clueless as to what that could entail.

    1. hard rains says:

      Dubya Bush never served, nor did chaney. Dubya ‘spoke’ for veterans. How soon the past is forgotten…should we look at the GOP contenders now?

      1. yep says:

        Come on, hard rains. Georgy had heard of the National Guard.

    2. Dave's Not Here says:

      Name the current GOP candidates who served in the military please.

      1. Ron Paul 2012 says:

        Ron Paul–Air force

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