Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Minor combat operations have ended

It's great and all that the last combat brigade is out of Iraq a couple of weeks early, but:

Scatterings of combat troops still await departure, and some 50,000 will stay another year in what is designated as a noncombat role.
Even better than careful gradations of Pentagon bureaucratese, American casualties are waaay down in Iraq. It's still important to keep track of the fact that they were actual human beings with names and not just numbers. The most recent and surely not the last was Jamal Rhett, age 24, of Palmyra, NJ.

President Obama kept his promise, rather slowly, to finish up in Iraq. Good for him. But, like many of the better moments of his administration, it's a two cheers moment, not a three cheers moment.

In the end, the neocon Project for a New American Century got what it wanted - a permanent U.S. presence in Iraq. The rest of the rationale for going in was all marketing and bullshit. Now we have permanent bases there, more outposts in the empire the PNAC explicitly wanted to proclaim.

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