President Obama Says Apology to Afghans 'Calmed Things Down'

President reflects on end of Iraq war, evaluates situation in Afghanistan.
0:22 | 02/29/12

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Transcript for President Obama Says Apology to Afghans 'Calmed Things Down'
Is this dinner tonight really is that it is a -- a celebration of victory in Iraq you know I think what it is is it's a celebration of men and women. Who. Carried out an extraordinarily. Difficult mission. And did so with honor and integrity and courage. And as a consequence. We're successful. And being able to give Iraq. A chance to build -- representative. Democratic country and you know when I interact with. Our troops. I am always in all. The sacrifices they made and the excellence of their work. And I think this is just one. Small gesture among many gestures across the country. Gratitude. To those folks for the extraordinary service. You know there's going to be a lot of them here are the ones who spoke to are gonna continue their sacrifice. But it -- back to Afghanistan on the ground. And certainly there has been recently of course a killing. From an Afghan and uniform. Tonight will you say to them. That there should be great confidence that the issue should be confident that the the Afghan troops. Will be. Well respected by them with that very effective. These troops are allies of ours. Well I think what we can say is that as difficult as Afghanistan has been. We are making progress again because of these extraordinary service of our men and women in uniform. That. The overwhelming majority of Afghan troops have welcomed and benefited from the training and partnering that we're doing. That doesn't mean there are going to be some tragic incidents that -- mean there are going to be bumps in the road we've been there for over a decade and that creates strings. But the trajectory -- -- we have now -- which were handing over more and more security. Responsibilities to Afghan troops. Is one that I'm feel confident we can carry out and the reason I'm confident. Is because. Our military as the best in the world and our guys do their jobs. -- Outstanding. Courage but also just -- -- really well and in some ways it's -- worse recently will be more dangerous more killing. Well actually the truth is -- that. The casualties. On the US side have declined our there been fewer deaths. What is true is that there are going to be. Some tensions involved. As we transition and there's gonna continue to be tragedies. That occur like the ones that we saw over the the last last week personal. But when you think about the same thing was true with a -- Don't wars a tough business and it never -- -- -- perfectly smooth path. But. Because of the stick to it. That is the stick to a goodness of our teams. I feel confident we're able to stay on a path where by the end -- fourteen. Our troops will be out we will not be -- combat role. And the Afghans will have the capacity just as the Iraqis do to be able to secure their own country and hopefully to improve the lives vs. You do said it has gotten worse incensed Afghan. Have stepped up some with some of these. Pace -- anger. There's a lot that's a very personal thing for our troops in terms of the burning of the crimes. And and you did apologize Holmes told us today that they were uncomfortable. Some of them slightly critical. For -- to apologize. To Afghan. Troops when we have sacrificed so much ourselves. Well I think the the reason that it was important as the same reason that the commander on the ground general alum -- us. That is to. Save. Lives. And to make sure our troops who -- there right now. Are not placed in further danger it's hard to television and think it has improved it with an apology it -- -- it calm things down. We're not out of the woods yet. But my criteria in any decision -- make getting recommendations from the folks were actually on the ground. It is what's -- best protect our folks. And make sure that they can accomplish -- aggression and everything else. The politics for the second guessing of these various decisions. I'm not worried about what -- -- of writers making sure that our men and women in uniform. Are in the best possible position to come home safely. And accurate -- Why we -- -- dinnertime finally having a dinner in the White House dinner as opposed to. -- parade industries and in some told me today as well due to New York Giants got for its one out of that well because. A bunch of our folks are still in harm's way and but pentagon recommended. And I concurred that. For us to celebrate. At a time when we still have. Folks in harm's way and some of the folks coming back from Iraq. Are going to be re deployed to Afghanistan. You know would. Would indicate a finality. To. This. War -- That is an accurate we're not yet done. Having said that their communities all across the country who are constantly celebrated. Our troops coming home obviously I have been. Profound. Honor greeting a -- of the last troops who came back. At Fort Bragg. We're gonna keep on celebrating what has been accomplished by others. This generation of of troops that I think people's. Any of the sacrifices that have been made by any generation troops and we couldn't be prouder of them and then my biggest priority is making sure that now that -- -- -- But they're -- the cure. Benefits that they have -- and and that's going to be a challenge it's important for us not to. Just. Celebrate them for a day and then. Leave them. To fend for themselves we -- had to get a chance to talk some veterans say one of them -- that the what they'd like to see the most tonight. This -- they can get a picture. You and your job. Possible I I am telling you. Now that I know the request as their rooms if we can get wouldn't it bola. In the Max you know he usually doesn't come through informal dinner parties. -- is whether it's food for him I guess that's going to be the difference you know -- -- -- which we try to restrict. He gets little excitement around lamb chops and and state so -- have Tonto national wildlife -- tonight thanks thank you so much reliance appreciate -- -- don't want your.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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