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Obama says what he leaves behind is better than what he inherited

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US President Barack Obama is awarded the Department of Defence Medal for Distinguished Public Service by US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter at Joint Base Myers-Henderson Hall In Arlington.

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07th-Jan-2017       
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Dawn.Com, Washington :
In a letter to the American people, US President Barack Obama said on Thursday that at the end of his two four-year terms, he was confident what he was leaving behind was better than what he inherited.
"This is where America stands after eight years of progress. By so many measures, our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started - a situation I'm proud to leave for my successor," he said.
In the letter, Mr Obama highlighted the 2011 commando raid in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden as one of the major achievements of his eight-year rule.
The outgoing US president will hand over power to president-elect Donald Trump at the swearing-in ceremony in Washington on Jan 20. Mr Obama recalled that when he took over on Jan 20, 2009, nearly 180,000 American troops were serving in in Iraq and Afghanistan, and "the mastermind of the worst terror attack on American soil remained at large."
Mr Obama recalled that his administration reduced US military deployment in war zones from 180,000 troops to just 15,000 and despite this reduction, the United States and its allies have successfully engaged terrorists on every front.
"Over the past eight years, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland. Plots have been disrupted. Terrorists like Osama bin Laden have been taken off the battlefield," he said.
Mr Obama told his nation how his administration set up a coalition of more than 70 nations to fight terrorist groups like the militant Islamic State group.
"With a relentless campaign of more than 16,000 air strikes so far, we are breaking the back of ISIL (Islamic State) and taking away its safe havens, and we've accomplished this at a cost of $10 billion over two years - the same amount that we spent in one month at the height of the Iraq War." Mr Obama said that his administration also used diplomacy to reduce threats and forge new relations.
"Through diplomacy, we shut down Iran's nuclear weapons program, opened up a new chapter with the people of Cuba, and brought nearly 200 nations together around a climate agreement that could save this planet for our kids," he said.
Mr Obama also took credit for turning around a shrinking US economy, which is growing at more than three percent as he prepares to leave.

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