20 August 2010

Bye-bye GI

Look, it's complicated, OK? Yes, Operation Iraqi Freedom has been brought to a close and the Americans have withdrawn their combat troops, all apart from 6000 troops due to go before the end of August and a further 50,000 troops who will remain in Iraq up to the end of 2011. Those 50,000 will be mainly tasked with training up the Iraqi army but will still engage in joint patrols which will no doubt lead to combat operations.

And, yes, the Iraqis had an election in March but they have yet to establish a government. And, admittedly, July was the worst month for two years with a reported 535 fatalities. A further 59 were killed by suicide bomber on Tuesday this week. But the country is said to be stable enough for the Americans to withdraw.

Nor is Iraq financially sustainable:

The [US] state department ... requested $1.8bn for Iraq for the coming financial year, a figure subsequently slashed by the House and Senate.

Members of Congress say that Iraq, with its huge oil reserves, should take a bigger share of the financial burden, but state department officials believe it will be eight to 10 years before Iraq is self-sustaining financially.

But don't dwell upon the downside. And don't ever ask if it was all worth it. Just rejoice, if you can ...

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