Dec 19 2011
More than a month after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki rejected the US’s request to remain in Iraq past the December 31st deadline, President Obama declared the Iraq war officially over last week. The Obama administration was also unable to secure an agreement to maintain its military bases in Iraq, and the last of the troops will leave the war-torn Arab nation by New Year’s eve. However, not getting much media attention is the fact that the US and Iraq did agree to a “training force” to remain in Iraq to the tune of 16,000 civilian employees of the US State Department. Obama, last Wednesday, traveled to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to greet a contingent of returning troops. Obama also acknowledged the 4,500 US troops who were killed during the Iraq war and the 30,000 troops wounded. He made no mention whatsoever of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties and torture victims at the hands of troops, nor did he mention that the Iraq war has cost tax payers over $800 billion, or the decades of funding healthcare that will be required for injured veterans. Instead the President invoked language rooted in the standard rhetoric of American exceptionalism, declaring “Iraqis have a chance to forge their own destiny. That’s part of what makes us special as Americans. Unlike the old empires, we don’t make these sacrifices for territory or for resources. We do it because it’s right. There can be no fuller expression of America’s support for self-determination than our leaving Iraq to its people. That says something about who we are.” Obama also released a video last week as part of his re-election campaign called Ending the War in Iraq: A Promise Kept. As part of the handover of power, the US turned over the last of its prisoners in Iraq to Iraqi authorities with the assurance that they will be tried for the crimes that the US has accused them of. Meanwhile, Iraq’s government is struggling with internal strife that resulted yesterday in the temporary detention of Vice President Tariq al Hashimi on suspicion of being linked to a string of political assassinations.
GUEST: Raed Jarrar, Iraqi-American blogger and political analyst based in Washington, D.C.
Visit raedinthemiddle.blogspot.com for more information.