The Obama Administration’s decision to withdraw all American forces from Iraq by the end of 2011 was quite unexpected and controversial. With the exception of 125 - 150 soldiers remaining in country for embassy duty, U.S. forces will be home for Christmas, barring some change of heart by the Iraqi parliament in November.
This monumental decision was apparently spurred on by a disagreement of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which in part has always given the United States jurisdiction over American service personnel who commit criminal or civil acts of violence while serving in Iraq.
Should one person, the Commander in Chief of all US armed forces, be allowed to make this decision? Should this not have been a Joint Chiefs of Staff/Commander in Chief decision? Let’s face it, the Commander in Chief and his White House Staff are not known for their vast experience in the military.
There has been considerable pressure on the White House and the government by the American public to bring this extremely expensive war, which began in March 2003, to a close.
As of Sept. 30, 4,481 US soldiers have been killed and 32,195 seriously wounded. The cost of deploying a single soldier in Iraq for one year is $390,000. While I could not find the exact cost of the Iraqi war, it is estimated that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the US taxpayers more than $1.3 trillion dollars, (a trillion has 12 zeros). This seems like a pretty good reason to get out of Iraq.
Conversely, many senior government officials and senior military officers feel leaving Iraq is a mistake. While they haven’t said it publicly, I am sure they feel we have lost the war (sort of like Vietnam). That means that the horrendous price in lives and human suffering (not to mention the expenditure of the 12 zeros plus) was for naught.
I, like many of my colleagues, feel that within a short period of time Iraq will re-associate itself with Iran and the only visible vestige of our nine year effort in Iraq will be the weapons that were stolen or left behind and a few extremely wealthy Iraqi officials. Hopefully some of the humanitarian progress made by American forces will remain but even that seems unlikely.
I was there when the Korean war ended. The U.S. Lost!
I was there when the Vietnam war ended. The U.S. Lost!
While I was not in the Middle East conflict, it looks like the U.S. lost again!