No big surprise here, as the date’s been on the schedule for years. The only point in question was if any “stay behind” might be arranged for contingencies:
“I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year,” Obama said. “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.”
Obama spoke after a private video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and he offered assurances that the two leaders agreed on the decision.
The U.S. military presence in Iraq stands at just under 40,000. All U.S. troops are to exit the country in accordance with a deal struck between the countries in 2008 when George W. Bush was president.
(Cited from an AP release.)
When the history of the war is finally written, historians will likely allocate multiple chapters on the run up to war, the WMD and Al Queda in Iraq claims, and high level decisions that marked the course of events nine years ago. The historians will also likely spend, rightly so, thick sections discussing the rise of the insurgency and the surge.
But I predict they will opt to summarize the last two years of the war as just “draw-down” in a scant few pages. Overlooked will be instances such as this:
Caption: Leaders from the 1st Iraqi Army Division, and the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, discuss the documents that will transition Camp Fallujah from the 1-325th AIR to the Government of Iraq, Oct. 12. Camp Fallujah has an important place in the history of U.S. Military operations in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and now Operation New Dawn. What was once a hotbed of extremist violence, murder, and daily bombings, is now a site of relative calm, a radical change over the last eight years. As U.S. Forces withdraw from Iraq the final chapter of Camp Fallujah has been written as the camp is handed over to the Iraqi Army and the Government of Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Seth Laughter)
I contend that how an army departs from a war, and what it leaves behind, tells us more about the organization, if not the nation as a whole, than how that same army entered the war.