President Barack Obama has formally announced the end of our occupation of Iraq with the full withdrawal of our military forces by December 31, 2011. As one of millions of Americans who opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq from the beginning (and who continues to report on the ongoing casualties on a too regular basis), I am pleased to hear this news and praise President Obama for not extending the date of departure that was set by George W Bush before he left office in 2008 to end this almost nine year long nightmare.
However, as an American who has watched what our government does with more interest than in what they say; I have to say that I am still withholding final judgment until I see where we are in another year. As I posted here, America’s toll in blood and treasure in Iraq will not be ending in December. With hundreds of State Department personnel to staff the world’s largest embassy and thousands of mercenaries to provide security for them (all on the US taxpayers’ dime) you can be sure that there will still be bloodshed and dollars squandered.
And what of the issue(s) of how we became involved in that country; the lies that were told; the crimes against the Iraqi people; the lives lost? Does President Obama's announcement also signal the official end to any possible investigation(s) into the people or circumstances that culminated in some 4,500 dead American troops, almost 40,000 wounded, and thousands upon thousands of dead, wounded and displaced Iraqis?
And so, while I will be celebrating on the day the last American soldier departs Iraq, I will live under no illusion that we have heard the last about our involvement in that country.
Chad (The Left) Shue