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The war in Iraq is over, isn’t it?

December 22, 2011
Salem News

The U.S. military mission in Iraq is over, President Barack Obama insisted this week.

No, it is not. Almost beyond any doubt, more Americans will be killed and maimed by terrorist attacks in that country.

For months, Obama has been touting what he insists is his administration's success in ending the war in Iraq. This week he pointed out the armed forces will pull virtually all U.S. troops out of the country by the end of the year.

But at least 16,000 U.S. diplomats and contractors - including a massive, expensive security force needed to protect them - will remain in Iraq. No one has announced a timetable for most of them to leave.

Nearly 4,500 Americans have been killed in Iraq since the war began there in 2003. Tens of thousands have been wounded - many of them maimed for life.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, speaking at a ceremony in Baghdad to officially end U.S. military involvement in Iraq, paid tribute to those who have served there. "You will leave with pride - lasting pride," Panetta said.

He is correct. By the hundreds of thousands, American men and women have served their country with honor, courage and distinction in Iraq.

But they have done so while coping with government policy, under both Obama and former President George Bush, that at times seemed calculated to ensure failure.

The peril faced by thousands of Americans still in Iraq is not lessened one iota by Obama's insistence the war is over.



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