Sunday, January 10, 2010

Truest statement of the week

Obama swept into office, in part, on a pledge to end the US war in Iraq. Almost a year after he entered the White House, more than 100,000 US troops are still deployed in that country (about the same number as in February 2004). Still, plans developed at the end of the Bush presidency, and later confirmed by Obama, have set the US on an apparent path of withdrawal. On this the president has been unambiguous. "Let me say this as plainly as I can," he told a military audience in February 2009. "By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end ... I intend to remove all US troops from Iraq by the end of 2011." However, Robert Gates, his secretary of defense, has not been so unequivocal. While recently visiting Iraq, he disclosed that the US Air Force would likely continue to operate in that country well into the future. He also said: "I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see agreements between ourselves and the Iraqis that continues a train, equip and advise role beyond the end of 2011."

-- Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse's "The Year of the Assassin" (Asia Times).
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