Sen. Barack Obama made a key speech on Tuesday in Washington, in which he asserted his position on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, offered a 16-month troop withdrawal timetable and outlined his plans for combating terrorism if he is elected president in November.

AP via Google News:

In a major speech on [Iraq] and national security, Obama said he would also secure nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists and rogue nations, achieve “true energy security,” and rebuild the nation’s international alliances.

The speech sets the stage for Obama’s upcoming visit to Iraq and offers a high-profile explanation of his opposition to the war and his pledge to complete a U.S. troop pullout within 16 months of becoming president. It also gives him a forum for criticizing President Bush and his rival for the presidency, Republican John McCain.

“By any measure, our single-minded and open-ended focus on Iraq is not a sound strategy for keeping America safe,” Obama said. “In fact — as should have been apparent to President Bush and Sen. McCain — the central front in the war on terror is not Iraq, and it never was.”

Obama said the Bush strategy that McCain supports has placed the burden for U.S. foreign policy on American military. National security policy should go well beyond Baghdad, he said, and involve allies around the world. He focused on Afghanistan and Pakistan, saying that if the U.S. were attacked again, it likely would be from the same region where the Sept. 11 attacks were planned.

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