Obama to Vets: Afghan War Is 'of Necessity'

Prez also assures VFW confab that medical benefits won't change
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2009 3:06 PM CDT
President Barack Obama addresses the 110th Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention today in Phoenix.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – President Obama defended the war in Afghanistan, spoke optimistically about Iraq, and tried to iron out misconceptions about health care reform today in a speech at a VFW convention, the Washington Post reports. “The insurgency in Afghanistan didn't just happen overnight. And we won't defeat it overnight,” he told veterans. But “I will not hesitate to use force to protect the American people,” he said to applause.

The gathered veterans also warmed to Obama’s pronouncements on health care. “One thing that reform won't change is veterans' health care,” the president said to cheers. “No one is going to take away your benefits. That is the plain and simple truth.” He also reiterated the promise that “for America, the Iraq war will end” in 2011, and said the US will take care of vets “whether you left the service in 2009 or 1949.”