As of today, the last combat troop brigade has been removed from Iraq. Over the last 18~ months, 90,000 American soldiers have been removed, leaving only about 50,000. Obama released a statement on the matter, saying “As Iraqi Security Forces take responsibility for securing their country, our troops will move to an advise-and-assist role. And, consistent with our agreement with the Iraqi government, all of our troops will be out of Iraq by the end of next year. Meanwhile, we will continue to build a strong partnership with the Iraqi people with an increased civilian commitment and diplomatic effort.”
It’s the last sentence that’s the kicker. I understand how foolish it would be to withdraw enteirely right now, given the state of affairs in the region and how we would appear internationally for doing so. However, I would like to see total withdrawal on a quicker timeline. Gen. David Petraeus did a damn good building local partnerships and encouraging friendly relations (thank him for our newly restored hegemony fund), but the ill will in Iraq for America still abides. Speeding our departure seems a wise thing to do, given all the facts. We’ll see how the timeline plays out, hopefully successfully.