It's been more than seven years, but the Iraq war appears to finally be over. At least America's role in it.
Barring a last minute reversal, which always is possible--the Pentagon desperately wants to preserve a military presence in Iraq--U.S. military forces will come home by the end of the year. Washington will maintain an outsize embassy, built back when the Bush administration intended to treat Iraq as an occupied territory for years into the future. However, combat forces will be gone. And they will not be replaced with thousands of trainers and advisers, as once expected.
President Obama will withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of the year, ending a long war that deeply divided the country over its origins and the American lives it consumed.
In a Friday morning video conference, Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki agreed to a complete U.S. military departure that will fulfill a promise important to Obama’s reelection effort. The decision drew sharp criticism from his Republican rivals, as well as expressions of relieved support from those who believe it is time for the United States to conclude a war Obama once called “dumb.”
Naturally, the usual suspects, like Sen. John McCain--who would either bomb or occupy the entire known world, if he had his way--are unhappy. They all blame President Barack Obama, who wanted to keep U.S troops in Iraq, despite his initial opposition to the war. None of them seem to recognize that the Iraqis have something to say in the matter, and they didn't want to give American personnel immunity from legal charges. In their view, it seems, Iraq is an independent country and deserves to be treated as such. And their decision is final, since Iraq is no longer under Washington's control. Thank goodness the Iraqis care more about their independence than U.S. policymakers care about Americans' interests, which is to get out.
Iraq was a tragic, foolish, even disastrous mistake. Americans should learn from their mistake. No more unnecessary wars of choice!