Last year, President Obama was widely credited for ending the war in Iraq ahead of schedule. When I say “ending the war”, I mean he kept a promise made by both him and former President Bush to withdraw most of the combat forces in Iraq by 2010, and leave “non-combat” troops there to advise the Iraqi military. In reality, the war isn’t over, unless you count 46,000 troops still stationed in Iraq as a peace-keeping and advising force. These troops would stay until the end of 2011, as part of a 2008 agreement between Prime Minister Maliki of Iraq and then-President Bush. Now it seems that might not be the end date either if Washington gets its way.
According to the Los Angeles Times, President Obama is requesting Baghdad to allow 10,000 troops remain in Iraq after the planned withdrawal date, citing a need to further help the Iraqi military deal with insurgents. However, this proposal must be agreed to by the Iraqi government, which is growing tired of American troop presence in Iraq, and rightfully so. The current arrangement would leave only 200 troops in the country to serve as advisors at the end of the year, made possible by the dramatic decrease in insurgent violence in the country over the last three years. However, there are still lingering attacks, which motivated the call for a delayed drawdown by Washington.
President Obama promised on the campaign trail that he would end the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars during his first term in office. Now in his third year, he has escalated the war in Afghanistan, and continues to delay the drawdown in Iraq, even after declaring the war over and allowing troops to come home. Many Americans, even those that supported these two wars, are now growing war weary, which is understandable after a decade of fighting and mounting spending problems back home, caused in part by the rapidly increased defense budget. We hope the President can keep his promise to end these wars in a timely, responsible manner, but the constant delays in drawdowns tell another story.No tags for this post.