American patriots from every generation have given their last breath on the battlefield for our nation and for our freedom.Through their lives — and though their lives were cut short, in their deeds they achieved total immortality.And, as we know, in 2011, America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq.As a result, our hard-won gains slipped back into the hands of terrorist enemies.That is why, shortly after my inauguration, I directed Secretary of Defense Mattis and my national security team to undertake a comprehensive review of all strategic options in Afghanistan and South Asia.My original instinct was to pull out — and, historically, I like following my instincts. We send our thoughts and prayers to the families of our brave sailors who were injured and lost after a tragic collision at sea, as well as to those conducting the search and recovery efforts.
Thanks to the vigilance and skill of the American military and of our many allies throughout the world, horrors on the scale of September 11th — and nobody can ever forget that — have not been repeated on our shores.
We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other.
As we send our bravest to defeat our enemies overseas — and we will always win — let us find the courage to heal our divisions within.
But before I provide the details of our new strategy, I want to say a few words to the servicemembers here with us tonight, to those watching from their posts, and to all Americans listening at home.
I am here tonight to lay out our path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia.