'His speech on Friday, announcing a faster timetable for withdrawal of combat troops, also reflects his own evolution as a leader.
Gone is the rhetoric of the Illinois state legislator who referred to an American invasion of Iraq as a "dumb war" and who then later used that stance to beat a pro-war Hillary Clinton in the Democratic caucuses. Instead, a pragmatic commander in chief spoke of promoting "an Iraqi government that is just, representative, and accountable, and that provides neither support nor safe haven to terrorists."
...Obama also doesn't see Iraq as a failed state but a "great nation" that can be a peaceful, stable US partner. He praised the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the creation of a sovereign government, and the US role in giving Iraqis an opportunity to "live a better life." '