Coby Dillard: "As a Navy veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, no one is prouder than I to see our troops return from combat. However, President Obama made his speech tonight more about the fulfillment of a campaign promise than about the brave, honorable and victorious service of our fighting men and women. It is unfortunate to see him attempt to lay claim to a victory that his brief voting record in the Senate and remarks as a presidential candidate shows he didn't support and whose end was negotiated by President George W. Bush -- the same Bush whose policies and actions Obama routinely speaks of as 'failed.'
"Instead, the victory belongs to the legacy of the 4,416 service members killed in Iraq and the millions more who served and returned safely home.
"Having secured a military victory in Iraq, our efforts there now turn to ensuring that a lasting peace is won. As the Iraqi government and people continue to take the lead on the road to prosperity and freedom, we as Americans should restate our commitment to this young democracy that many of our countrymen gave their lives to establish." (Coby Dillard is a member of the Project 21 black leadership network, a tea party organizer in Hampton Roads, Virginia and a Navy veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.)
Kevin Martin: "While President Obama says combat operation are officially ended in Iraq, this turn of phrase will not change the fact that the remaining American troops will continue to battle remaining rouge elements as Iraqi forces work to get a handle on things.
"At the time, Senator Obama -- along with many of his liberal allies -- claimed the surge of troops into Iraq would fail before it even started. Now that he commands these same troops, will he have the courage to admit he was wrong and apologize to those who have given their all to bring forth a mostly stable Iraq?
"President Obama needs to give credit where credit is due, and that goes to the fine men and women who put on the uniform and carry out their duty no matter the odds and no matter what burden they may face as politicians simply seek to score points with voters." (Kevin Martin is a member of the Project 21 black leadership network, has participated in many pro-troop rallies in the Washington, DC area and is a Navy veteran formerly detailed to Bosnia.)
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).