Iraq combat will end August 31

So says the president:

President Obama outlined the changing U.S. role in Iraq on Monday to an organization of disabled veterans, saying that beginning next month the more-than-seven-year war effort will change from a primarily military enterprise to a diplomatic one.

“The hard truth is we have not seen the end of American sacrifice in Iraq,” Obama told the Disabled American Veterans group in a speech in Atlanta. “But make no mistake, our commitment in Iraq is changing–from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats. And as we mark the end of America’s combat mission in Iraq, a grateful America must pay tribute to all who served there.”

His remarks began a month-long effort by the White House designed to remind American voters that Obama campaigned on a pledge to wind down the Iraq war and that he is carrying out those plans largely on schedule.

The U.S. combat mission will end in Iraq at the end of the month, a milestone that comes after a steady troop drawdown since Obama took office.

Some 50,000 U.S. troops are scheduled to remain in Iraq by the end of the month, the deadline Obama had set for the end of the U.S. combat mission. That means more than 90,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines have left Iraq since his inauguration.

But Iraq remains a fragile nation, and its political leadership has warned of a potential power vacuum as U.S. forces leave.

via Obama highlights fulfilled promise of Iraq drawdown in speech to veterans.

So what do you think will happen next?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The drawdown to 50,000 American troops was negotiated by the Bush administration with Iraq. Basically Obama is once again properly following a well crafted Bush policy.

    The reason we are able to make this drawdown of troops is that the 2007 Surge proved successful. OBama predicted the surge would fail and voted against the appropriation for it. Had this happened we would have left Iraq with disastrous consequence, much as we did so from Vietnam.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The drawdown to 50,000 American troops was negotiated by the Bush administration with Iraq. Basically Obama is once again properly following a well crafted Bush policy.

    The reason we are able to make this drawdown of troops is that the 2007 Surge proved successful. OBama predicted the surge would fail and voted against the appropriation for it. Had this happened we would have left Iraq with disastrous consequence, much as we did so from Vietnam.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The WSJ in an editorial today makes a point that I agree with as follows:

    Mr. Obama earned this victory lap by taking political heat from the Democratic left and staying the Bush course in Iraq. “The hard truth,” he said yesterday, “is we have not seen the end of American sacrifice in Iraq.” It is also true that because of that sacrifice, a major terror threat is gone and Iraq’s people have a path forward.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The WSJ in an editorial today makes a point that I agree with as follows:

    Mr. Obama earned this victory lap by taking political heat from the Democratic left and staying the Bush course in Iraq. “The hard truth,” he said yesterday, “is we have not seen the end of American sacrifice in Iraq.” It is also true that because of that sacrifice, a major terror threat is gone and Iraq’s people have a path forward.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Obama has largely followed Bush’s lead, thankfully, but he’s adding his own touch; more or less a promise that at the end of the month, terrorists will no longer need to face American M16s, but will rather face only Iraqi AKs.

    I hope I am wrong here, but this sounds like a recipe for disaster there. He’s all but telling terrorists to “sit tight for a while, raise mayhem there in September when it’s cooler anyways.”

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Obama has largely followed Bush’s lead, thankfully, but he’s adding his own touch; more or less a promise that at the end of the month, terrorists will no longer need to face American M16s, but will rather face only Iraqi AKs.

    I hope I am wrong here, but this sounds like a recipe for disaster there. He’s all but telling terrorists to “sit tight for a while, raise mayhem there in September when it’s cooler anyways.”

  • Cincinnatus

    I’m actually pleased about this. On the other hand, I predict that it’s going to be a tremendous numbers game. Expect the number of “non-combat” troops to stabilize or even rise, and expect an increase in the use of “private contractors.” The linguistic trick of “combat operations” and “combat troops” is quite important, unfortunately.

    Peter and Bike are also both correct (for once I agree with them!): there is nothing shockingly new about this plan that was not already intended by Bush. This is not Nixon abruptly concluding operations in Vietnam. Obama is merely following the protocols left by the previous administration. Of course, he will still be lavished with praise for being the one to end the war. But like I’ve always said, Obama is just Bush in sheep’s clothing.

  • Cincinnatus

    I’m actually pleased about this. On the other hand, I predict that it’s going to be a tremendous numbers game. Expect the number of “non-combat” troops to stabilize or even rise, and expect an increase in the use of “private contractors.” The linguistic trick of “combat operations” and “combat troops” is quite important, unfortunately.

    Peter and Bike are also both correct (for once I agree with them!): there is nothing shockingly new about this plan that was not already intended by Bush. This is not Nixon abruptly concluding operations in Vietnam. Obama is merely following the protocols left by the previous administration. Of course, he will still be lavished with praise for being the one to end the war. But like I’ve always said, Obama is just Bush in sheep’s clothing.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    “But make no mistake,….”

    Too late.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    “But make no mistake,….”

    Too late.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Its all words. We don’t get to decide when combat ends, we only get to decide if our soldiers will remain in harm’s way. If there is no combat, there should be no troops. Period.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Its all words. We don’t get to decide when combat ends, we only get to decide if our soldiers will remain in harm’s way. If there is no combat, there should be no troops. Period.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The basic issue now in Iraq is whether the fledgling democracy will take hold and develop into an effective and lasting Arab form of democracy that can develop economically and defend itself from the radical Islamists, especially those in Iran. For this to happen, we shall need fifty-thousand plus or minus troops to assist Iraq for many years to come. If Obama neuters these troops or pulls them out to early Iraq would inevitably return to dictatorship.

    Bush was advised that in addition to the issue of WMD, to defeat radical Islam in the Middle East it would help to have a democratic Arab government in the heart of the Middle East that could spread its influence. In my view, as the leader of the greatest power in the world, Bush made a wise decision to take down Saddam and fight the counter-insurgency in order to achieve the vital American interest in a stable Middle East.

    Bernard Lewis, the distinguished Middle East scholar in distilled terms advised Bush that democracies tend not to make war and dictatorships don’t make peace. He, also, thought that of the several areas of the Middle-East Iraq, due to its long background of civilization and development, had the potential to develop an Arab form of democracy.

    Personally, I have so far done very well on a substantial though extremely risky bet on the Iraq dinar going back to 2004, as I continue to be confident in Iraq’s future. Though still much too corrupt, the Iraqis are relatively bright, entrepreneurial, and hard-working people.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The basic issue now in Iraq is whether the fledgling democracy will take hold and develop into an effective and lasting Arab form of democracy that can develop economically and defend itself from the radical Islamists, especially those in Iran. For this to happen, we shall need fifty-thousand plus or minus troops to assist Iraq for many years to come. If Obama neuters these troops or pulls them out to early Iraq would inevitably return to dictatorship.

    Bush was advised that in addition to the issue of WMD, to defeat radical Islam in the Middle East it would help to have a democratic Arab government in the heart of the Middle East that could spread its influence. In my view, as the leader of the greatest power in the world, Bush made a wise decision to take down Saddam and fight the counter-insurgency in order to achieve the vital American interest in a stable Middle East.

    Bernard Lewis, the distinguished Middle East scholar in distilled terms advised Bush that democracies tend not to make war and dictatorships don’t make peace. He, also, thought that of the several areas of the Middle-East Iraq, due to its long background of civilization and development, had the potential to develop an Arab form of democracy.

    Personally, I have so far done very well on a substantial though extremely risky bet on the Iraq dinar going back to 2004, as I continue to be confident in Iraq’s future. Though still much too corrupt, the Iraqis are relatively bright, entrepreneurial, and hard-working people.

  • Cincinnatus

    Peter, I hope you are correct, or else we really really wasted our time in Iraq.

    Unfortunately, I have my doubts surrounding the neoconservative trope that a stable democracy in the heart of the Middle East can pacify the region. In fact, I doubt that that democracy will even remain stabilized for long after our departure. Democracy is not a mere constitution. It requires a certain kind of people, and the Middle East has not (yet) enculturated the proper civic virtues and responsibilities to sustain a democratic regime.

  • Cincinnatus

    Peter, I hope you are correct, or else we really really wasted our time in Iraq.

    Unfortunately, I have my doubts surrounding the neoconservative trope that a stable democracy in the heart of the Middle East can pacify the region. In fact, I doubt that that democracy will even remain stabilized for long after our departure. Democracy is not a mere constitution. It requires a certain kind of people, and the Middle East has not (yet) enculturated the proper civic virtues and responsibilities to sustain a democratic regime.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Cncinnatus, we shall see. I fully understand your skepticism on the matter.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Cncinnatus, we shall see. I fully understand your skepticism on the matter.

  • Cincinnatus

    Carl P.

    Cool story, bro. Do you care to point out which Christians on this blog are “cheering on the slaughter”? While you’re working on that, maybe you could think of something constructive to say as well.

  • Cincinnatus

    Carl P.

    Cool story, bro. Do you care to point out which Christians on this blog are “cheering on the slaughter”? While you’re working on that, maybe you could think of something constructive to say as well.

  • http://www.qualitytoysandhobbies.com Amy

    Let me guess. Obamas non-support of Israel, could lead to a world wide conflict.

  • http://www.qualitytoysandhobbies.com Amy

    Let me guess. Obamas non-support of Israel, could lead to a world wide conflict.

  • Cincinnatus

    Amy: Has anyone here suggested any such thing? Where are all the trolls coming from? If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you would be aware that a fair number of readers and commenters here would like nothing better than to see America’s policy towards Israel altered.

  • Cincinnatus

    Amy: Has anyone here suggested any such thing? Where are all the trolls coming from? If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you would be aware that a fair number of readers and commenters here would like nothing better than to see America’s policy towards Israel altered.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    The “old posters” are concerned about Iraq descending into chaos, and we get people telling us we want people killed, and that it’s all about Israel. Somebody has a one track mind, and it’s not the regulars.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    The “old posters” are concerned about Iraq descending into chaos, and we get people telling us we want people killed, and that it’s all about Israel. Somebody has a one track mind, and it’s not the regulars.


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