Yesterday, President Obama announced that the United States is on track to officially wrap up its combat mission in Iraq on August 31. When he took office, there were 144,000 American troops in Iraq. Now, a year-and-a-half later, there are only around 50,000. These remaining troops will serve as a transition force, continuing to train Iraqi forces and protecting American faciltiies until a final, complete withdrawal takes place sometime next year.
While declaring an end to the official combat mission is something of a semantical nuance in light of the fact that 50,000 American troops will remain in Iraq, there can be no denying that this is a significant foreign policy achievement. As this blog has pointed out in the past, the Iraq War was an enormous error on the part of the United States, and ending the war was a major part of Obama's presidential campaign platform. That he has thus far succeeded is greatly to his credit.
21st Century Jeffersonians believe, as a matter of principle, that the United States should have as little to do with the Middle East as possible. It is good that we are winding up this unncessary war, which should never have happened in the first place. What happens in Iraq now is up to the Iraqis.