Only 7 years and change later and we finally have less than 100,000 troops in a place we should never have invaded in the first place. Remember those heady days after 9/11 when people all over middle America were convinced that Saddam Hussein was going to nuke their mall in the next two days? The mushroom clouds that Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice were predicting would be our doom unless we took out Iraq now! Those aerial photographs of Carvel trucks that Colin Powell assured us were delivering yellow cake instead of ice cream cake? Such a relief there was when the Marines staged that toppling of Saddam’s statue so it would look like the Iraqis themselves were pulling the ropes!
But by the time we found out that there were no weapons of mass destruction, and Saddam had nothing to do at all with 9/11, the “Pottery Barn” scenario–you break it, you bought it–was in full swing (and we were even wrong about the Pottery Barn’s policies!) and it was too late to say “Whoopsie-daisy!” And for the last seven years, we’ve been bollixing up a country that was continuously on the verge of civil war with the only thing which the various factions could seem to agree on was that they didn’t want us!
Since Obama was elected, we’ve been drawing down our forces in Iraq–so we could throw them into the other quagmire in Afghanistan. And now, the last of our “combat troops” will be leaving, with only 50,000 “support” troops remaining–whatever the hell that is. Remember what we called them in Vietnam? “Advisors.” Well, maybe their mission will be to train that untrainable Iraqi self-defense force, but troops is troops. The real reason they’re there is so we will have a presence on the ground in the Mideast when we need them. And it only cost us a couple of trillion dollars to boot!
Fox News only devoted 10 minutes of airtime to this momentous event and some people are crowing about the lackluster coverage the war’s chief cheerleaders have given to the transition. But seriously–is it anything to write home about? As Dennis Kucinich has observed, this is just a new phase in the PR campaign. We’re not going to leave Iraq for some time. Ten years? Remember, we still have troops in Germany and Japan!