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Sabah, Turkey

Iraq War Ends

By Erdal Safak

By declaring that the U.S. mission in Iraq has been accomplished, President Obama leaves Iraq to its fate.

Translated By Omer Aslan

7 August 2010

Edited by Allie Kirchner

Turkey - Sabah - Original Article (Turkish)

In a speech at a Disabled Veterans of America conference, President Barack Obama delivered “good news” by promising that “next month, we will change our military mission from combat to supporting and training Iraqi security forces.”

This is the third time during the Iraq war that an American president has shared “good news” with the American public. Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, first shared good news in his “Mission Accomplished” speech, which he delivered aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln about 40 days after the U.S. Army invaded Iraq. When Mr. Bush declared “major combat operations in Iraq have ended,” the sailors on the ship celebrated with him.

About two and a half months after that speech, however, Iraq entered into an incessant cycle of sectarian conflict and terror, which began with the bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad on August 23, 2003. The bombing resulted in 22 casualties, including the special representative of the U.N. general secretary. On another occasion, the good news was more of a joke. On July 4, 2009, copies of The New York Times featuring a front page headline “Iraq War Ends” were distributed on the streets of Manhattan. It would later turn out that this was a fake issue prepared by members of the Yes Men group.

Now President Obama has given good news: “By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.” Only about 50,000 American soldiers will remain in Iraq, a big reduction from the 144,000 U.S. soldiers that were stationed in Iraq when Obama took office. The only missions for the remaining soldiers will be to support and train Iraqi forces, partner with Iraqis in counter-terrorism operations and protect our civilian and military efforts.

Yet President Obama made this announcement following the deadliest month in the last several months: 535 people, of whom 396 were civilians, died in violent attacks in Iraq in July. The number of deaths from terrorist attacks since the beginning of 2010 has reached 2,400. The cost of the American invasion for Iraqis has well exceeded one million victims. Bombs keep exploding. Every day in Iraq, suicide attacks and trucks loaded with bombs claim more and more lives.

The Iraqis have access to electricity for only three or four hours a day and they do not have access to water. Iraqi politicians gather every day and negotiate for hours and hours. Although five months have passed since the elections in Iraq, the chances that a government will form are bleak. President Obama is so desperate that he sent a top secret letter to Shiite leader Ali al-Sistani, encouraging him to step in and use his influence.

In an interview with the Guardian, Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein’s first deputy prime minister, correctly asserted that “the Iraq that Saddam Hussein built during the previous 30 years has been destroyed in 30 months.” By declaring that the U.S. mission in Iraq has been accomplished, President Obama leaves Iraq to its fate, or in the words of Mr. Aziz, "to the wolves.” As pointed out in an insightful analysis in the Guardian, “Iraq is losing its raison d’être as a state.” Make no mistake, perhaps this is exactly why Iraq is being served as a tasty dish at the “wolves’ table.”



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