Monday, December 19, 2011

Dawn of a New Day in Iraq

Early yesterday morning under cover of night, the last convoy of U.S. troops crossed the border into Kuwait. The last unit out reportedly was the 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division under the command of Colonel Doug Crissman.

And so it ends, not with a bang but with a wimper, and this email from President Obama's reelection campign:

Early this morning, the last of our troops left Iraq.

As we honor and reflect on the sacrifices that millions of men and women made for this war, I wanted to make sure you heard the news.

Bringing this war to a responsible end was a cause that sparked many Americans to get involved in the political process for the first time. Today's outcome is a reminder that we all have a stake in our country's future, and a say in the direction we choose.

Thank you.

Our country has been at war with or in Iraq since August 2, 1990 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. For the U.S., the war went through four phases: the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, the no-fly zone enforcement from 1991 to 2002, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the counterinsurgency campaign from 2003 to 2011.

The price has been high both in terms of U.S. soldiers killed and wounded and in terms of a wrecked U.S. economy. The dividends, if there are any, will come down the road and be difficult to measure. That makes it all the more important that we salute our troops for seeing this through to the end. And I hope this is the end.

Can Iraq get along without us? Let us hope so. There has been human civilization in the fertile crescent for 12,000 years.

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