When President Obama delivers his Oval Office address to the nation Tuesday, effectively marking an end to the Iraq war, it will be from the same desk his predecessor used to announce the beginning of combat missions there more than seven years ago.
Speaking to the country on March 19, 2003, President George W. Bush laid out specific goals for the early stages of military operations, including, "to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger," later adding, "to undermine Saddam's Hussein's ability to wage war."
For the Obama administration and the country these specific goals are relatively easy to measure. Iraq under Saddam was disarmed, a new Iraqi government has been elected and Saddam is dead.
But it's the long-term goals Bush spoke of, like "helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country" that are proving much harder to measure. In fact, it was these same goals that made the Iraq war one of the most contentious and important issues of the 2008 presidential election.
Perhaps White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs was reminding the country of just that when he told the Politico in an email recently, "Iraq was for all but the last six weeks of 2008 the defining issue of both the primary and general elections. Then-candidate and now President Obama made a commitment that most thought wouldn't come to pass, that by the end of August of 2010, our combat troops would be gone. And it is happening."
The U.S. mission in Iraq has shifted from combat to support of Iraqi security forces. Fewer than 50,000 U.S. troops will remain there for the changed mission.
White House officials say in President Obama's Oval Office address he will talk about the way forward in a country once ruled by a dictator and highlight milestones that many doubted would ever be reached.
Seven years after President Bush said no outcome but victory would be accepted in Iraq, President Obama will say America and its allies have succeeded. Will the country rally around him as it did in 2003?
Tune into Fox News on Tuesday at 8p ET for live coverage of President Obama's address to the nation.