Tuesday, June 30, 2009

With U.S. Pullout, Iraq Takes Ownership of Its War

U.S. paratroopers check their surrounding as a CH-47 Chinook helicopter takes off behind them during Operation Winged Lion II, an Iraqi-led air assault mission in the Ma’dain region outside eastern Baghdad, Iraq, June 26, 2009. The paratroopers are assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division’s Troop K, 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry. The clearance operation in the rural area was to deny enemy movement into the city and seize potential weapons caches. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Alex Licea

From Time Magazine:

The decision to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq's cities on Tuesday was made by Iraqis, not Americans. That's why the Iraqi government is holding a massive celebration to mark the redeployment as National Sovereignty Day. At the insistence of the Iraqis, the Status of Forces Agreement concluded late last year between the Iraqi government and the Bush Administration required that U.S. troops be out of Iraq's urban areas by June 30, 2009, and withdrawn from the country altogether by the end of 2011. Now, Iraqi citizens and the American forces hovering in the Iraq's countryside are holding their breath for the first stage of testing Iraq's ability to protect itself. It didn't get off to an auspicious start with the news that four U.S. soldiers were killed in combat on the eve of the withdrawal.

Read more ....

My Comment: On this day of withdrawal and celebration, 4 US servicemen were killed in Iraq. This tells me that the fight in Iraq is far from over .... and it is definitely entering a new phase. But this is now becoming an Iraqi fight .... and while U.S. servicemen are still going to be killed in this country, most (if not all) of the casualties will now be Iraqi.

As for the future .... I personally think that Iraq will survive as an intact country, and that with time, political compromise, and with a strong and constant security presence, it will start to grow economically and politically. Even though the U.S. is now in a permanent withdrawal phase .... years from now there will still be a large and significant American presence on the ground. Because the buildup of the Iraqi Army will take years, this alone will guarantee that American trainers and support staff will probably be "in country" for the next decade or two.

Was the war worth it? When the war broke out I was skeptical of the outcome. Iraq was already a broken state, and getting involved would never have produced the results that we would have wanted. In the past two years, I have changed to supporting the war effort with the hope that we can get out quicker .... I was wrong.

We are going to be in Iraq for a long time, spending money and human lives. Because of our reliance on oil, US policy in the Middle East is not going to change .... and with Iran in turmoil, an all but guarantee that we are going to be stuck in this part of the world for the next few decades.

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