The world’s been abuzz with the story of the last of the US’s combat troops leaving Iraq. In many ways, this one just goes on the list of “shit Obama managed to do that he probably won’t get any credit for anyway.” After all, a whole slew of liberals spent basically his first two years complaining that we were still in Iraq. Myself included.
That said, it ain’t exactly “over” yet.
To be sure, that we can call the combat phase of the Iraq war over is, to put it mildly, a monumental step. However, we’ve still got about 50,000 troops hanging around, and they aren’t just going to be going to Burger King and playing Madden 2010 against each other. Granted, the actual fighting has been transferred over to Iraqi forces, but 50,000 troops is 50,000 troops, and my more cynical side isn’t willing to breathe a sigh of relief until they’re gone.
The heart of the remaining U.S. force, while labeled “advise-and-assist brigades,” has combat power that far outstrips that of the Iraqi military, and which could be deployed if Baghdad sought U.S. help and President Obama agreed.
Our military has only stopped fighting in the sense that they’re sitting back and watching things, ready to step in if “need be”, and I’m not entirely confident that “need be” will be a definition that most of us would be willing to accept.
Granted, this is a huge step forward, and a great gamble for President Obama. While it’s true that the economy has been the front and center issue lately, possibly the biggest attack on Barry-O was that he’d “cut and run” from Iraq and basically hand it over to the enemy. So one of two things is going to happen here: either he’ll be mercilessly attacked by people who want to see this go badly, or the right will inexplicably start taking credit for the current situation, saying Bush’s war succeeded and Obama listened to reason by not pulling out too soon.
Oh and by the way, while this is all going on, the number of contractors in Iraq will double. Remember those guys? Yeah. Awesome.