Well, first official post. No pressure 😛
Basically, Obama announced today that his initial plan of removing all combat troops by the end of 2011 would happen on schedule. This leaves approximately two months for US forces to remove the 39,000 boots still left on the ground at the time of writing. The only troops that will be left in Iraq for a long-term duration after this will be the mandatory compliment at the US embassy. This will mark the formal and final end to the almost 9 year-long conflict and change the US’s approach towards Iraq from nation building to normalized diplomatic relations.
I had the opportunity to watch the President make his address live on CNN earlier today. He appeared confident and really gave the impression that the most ideal route to ending the war had been reached. There’s just one little problem with that…
This announcement apparently marks the end to a US push to keep a reserve contingent of 3-4,000 in-country as an emergency reaction/stability force should Iraq need it in its early stages of new-found independence. The main thing hampering the possibility of leaving such a reserve force was, ironically, lack of support in the Iraqi parliament that we helped set up in the first place. What’s troubling about the opposition, however, is that the major party in power in Iraq is a more religious-focused party that just happens to…
…wait for it…wait for it…
…have warm relations with the current Iranian regime!
Yeah, thought that might concern you, too.
Now the Vietnam withdrawal was particularly stinging for two main reasons: 1) the war formally ended in a draw, a conclusion that has never before or since been seen in an American military conflict, and 2) it took just about a year for the North to sweep in and conquer the South after US withdrawal. Now imagine how much more damaging that could have been if instead, we had outright defeated the North, left the country, and in just a few short months of years, the system of democracy we fought so hard for wound up inviting the remnants of the communist North to get back on their feet or become friends — and soon enough, that democracy doesn’t become much of a democracy anymore.
Unfortunately, that’s almost what we’re facing today. God willing, a continued American influence in Iraq will help stem that potential relationship from budding too much, but the US can only go so far in stopping the very government they spent nearly ten years creating.
On the bright side (possibly), it appears Obama is keeping his word – the last United States Marine officially left Iraq earlier today.
Strangely, a phenomenon was reported across Iraq of every male citizen’s nuts expanding by 1/3rd in size just as the C-130 crossed the border…looks like Saddam wasn’t the only thing the Devil Dogs sent into hiding 😀