The Iraq War Ends

by Ryan on December 15, 2011

in The Iraq Front

Today, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was present in Baghdad for the official ceremony which served to formally end the Iraq War.  The secretary noted that we’re leaving with our “chins held high” and gave respectful deference to the sacrifices of the soldiers and their loved ones during this conflict.  We leave only two small bases with about 4000 troops, but they are slated to be home by Christmas.

The war affected America in many ways — too many to recount here in great detail.  The war cost the lives of 4,484 soldiers while wounding about 32,200.  Thousands of the nearly 1.5 million soldiers who served in Iraq at some point continue to endure physical and mental pain, PTSD, along with other personal and economic adjustment issues — it’s not a secret that war changes people.

However, I’m not one to dwell on the negative.  We’re leaving with our missions accomplished:  Saddam’s long dead;  the insurgency was crushed;  potential for a civil war has been commuted and is in Iraqi hands moving forward;  and though not up to par, the Iraqi military will handle their own security now.  Every significant objective has been satisfactorily reached.  We come home proud of our accomplishments, ready to let history move ahead and judge.

I also can’t let politics slide here.  President Obama made some obligatory remarks the other day about this moment which got under my skin a bit.  Plainly, I’m not going to give him “credit” for simply not messing up a situation securely left to him by his predecessor (who also happened to be absent from Obama’s remarks), which Obama himself trashed before assuming the role of commander-in-chief.  Had Bush actually been mentioned by name I would have felt something new and different towards Obama — a tinge of respect for him being a stand-up guy rising above the partisan past.  Alas, he is who he is and the Iraq War ends well despite his potential obstruction.

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