President Barack Obama declared an end to combat efforts in Iraq, Tuesday night, stopping short of claiming victory in the war that has taken the lives of more than 4,400 U.S. troops.
In his prime time speech from the Oval Office, Obama noted that the nation "has paid a huge price" to help give Iraqis a chance at democracy.
"Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country," Obama said, proclaiming that "it is time to turn the page."
Currently, 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in the region to train Iraqi security forces and run counterterrorism operations. The president's remarks regarding the future of U.S. troops in Iraq lines up with his goal for all troops to leave by the end of 2011.
Read all of President Obama's speech and watch a portion of his comments here.
Obama mentioned former President George W. Bush twice during his address, noting that then-President Bush first announced the start of combat operations seven and a half years ago from the same desk.
"It's well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one could doubt President Bush's support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security," Obama said.
"Ending this war is not only in Iraq's interest - it is in our own," Obama said. He spoke of the sacrifice of American lives, and of the extreme financial burden it has put upon the American people.
Ten minutes into the 18-minute speech, Obama turned his focus from Iraq to the war in Afghanistan.
"As we speak, al Qaeda continues to plot against us, and its leadership remains anchored in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan," he said.
He mentioned a familiar phrase at the White House these days, saying that the U.S. will "disrupt, dismantle and destroy" al Qaeda.
The President mistakenly called for an August 2011 drawdown from Afghanistan. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was quick to point out that his boss misspoke, and that the plan to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan in July 2011 stands.
Obama also used the speech to make a point about current domestic issues, specifically, the economy.
"Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work," he said, also mentioning education, veterans benefits, and energy policy.
But he finished the speech by bringing it back to the troops, the main focus of his second-ever prime time address from the Oval Office.
"Our troops are the steel in our ship of state," he said. "And though our nation may be travelling through rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true, and that beyond the pre-dawn darkness, better days lie ahead."