Tags: iraq us future

In Iraq, Clear Signs of a New US Mission

Thursday, 02 Sep 2010 05:53 AM


The U.S. military's war is officially over in Iraq, even as the future of the country remains undecided. The signs of the end were everywhere Wednesday, despite the presence of about 49,000 American troops who remain mostly sequestered on large U.S. bases, The Washington Post reports.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates touched down in the morning at al-Asad Air Base, which was once home to 22,000 Marines and now serves primarily as a takeoff point for planes ferrying troops home from Iraq. He took questions from troops who pressed him with queries about their retirement and health benefits and barely mentioned the war. By afternoon, Gates and Vice President Biden were presiding over what will likely be the war's last four-star change of command.

The events served to amplify President Obama's message Tuesday that it was time for the United States to "turn the page" in Iraq.

The U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 was followed by a series of American blunders, such as the failure to plan for the postwar occupation, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the often heavy-handed use of force, which fed the chaos and unrest that enveloped the country after the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Even as Gates praised U.S. troops who fought in Iraq, the defense secretary declined to say whether he thought the war's ambiguous outcome was worth the cost in American money and lives. "I think that it really requires a historian's perspective in terms of what happens here in the long term," Gates said.

Read the entire story at washingtonpost.com

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2010-53-02
Thursday, 02 Sep 2010 05:53 AM
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