SPOTLIGHT EP NEWS
SEPTEMBER 03, 2010PAGE 2
By Ricky J. Carrasco“I wanted to comedown to Ft. Bliss tosay thank you andwelcome home”
:Presi-dent Barack ObamaOn the day that theUS formally ends combat op-erations that began in Iraqover 7 years ago, PresidentBarack Obama visited Ft.Bliss to meet with soldiers.There was a small crowd of about 100 soldiers, soldiers’families, and area VIPs thereto greet him as he got off Air Force One at Biggs Field.The President was on theground for a little over anhour to speak with about 180soldiers in a closed ceremony.He also spoke privately toGold Star families, those whohave lost parents and spousesto the war in Iraq, includingone Army wife who just daysago lost her husband.“I’m going to make a speechto the nation tonight. It’s notgoing to be a victory lap. It’snot going to be self-congratu-latory. There’s still a lot of work that we’ve got to do tomake sure that Iraq is an ef-fective partner with us. Butthe fact of the matter is that because of the extraordinaryservice that all of you havedone, and so many peoplehere at Fort Bliss have done,Iraq has an opportunity tocreate a better future for it-self, and America is more se-cure.“Many of the public officialswho met with the Presidentre-iterated that today was nota day necessarily to celebrateor to stop being active andvigilant. Rather, today’s mes-sage marks a transition periodwhere Iraq will have to moveahead with its own future asits people see fit to create.Congressman Silvestre Reyesstated in a press conferenceafter the President departed,“It is now their responsibility.We’re not where we should be. There is still a lot of work left to do.” In fact, a largemilitary presence of about50,000 American troops arestill in Iraq to “aid and assist”the government on their roadto independence. This newnon-hostile transition will becalled “Operation NewDawn.”El Paso and Fort Bliss willcontinue to provide a central base for future operations.Commanding General DanaPittard stated that Ft Bliss iscurrently seeing the “largestexpansion of any Americanmilitary base since WorldWar II.” General Pittard wasvisibly moved that PresidentObama singled out Ft. Blissfor this visit, restating thatthis would be a great morale boost for the city, as well asfor the base.For many present, the visitleft many questions unaskedand unanswered. Specifically,the topics of border relationsand the continued threat of violence from the on-goingMexican drug war were onmany minds. CongressmanReyes travelled down fromWashington, D.C., with thePresident, and voiced thesesame concerns. Reyes deniedthe idea that Mexico is afailed state, saying that “weneed to continue to supportthe government of Mexico.”He gave the example of Colombia, a nation that manysaw as a failed state only 10years ago. “Yesterday, I metwith President Santos (of Colombia). His country is a perfect example of a countrycame back from the brink...Continues on page 4
Obama visits Ft. Bliss soldiers
President Obama saluting ashe greets local dignitaries.Congressman Silvestre Reyestravelled with Obama fromthe Capitol. Ft Bliss soldiers Parrish, Dennard, and Cuevas at attendance for the Obama visit.
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