Looking Back — Part 9, End of Combat in Iraq

We continue to look back on the war in Iraq bringing us to what has happened in 2010.

The beginning of 2010 brought new hope. Combat units would be pulled out of Iraq by the end of the year. On February 17, 2010, Robert Gates (the Secretary of Defense) made an announcement that as of September 1, 2010, the name “Operation Iraqi Freedom” would be replace with the name “Operation New Dawn.”

Unfortunately, even with all the work that was done in Iraq to ensure peace by ridding the country of Hussein’s regime, there still is not peace. On June 20, the Central Bank in Iraq was bombed killing 15 people. Then another attack followed at Iraq’s Bank of Trade building.

On August 19, 2010, the last combat brigade left Iraq. Most of convoys of troops from the U.S. moved into to Kuwait before heading home. About 50,000 personnel remain in the country to give support to the military in Iraq, but they will be required to leave no later than December 31, 2011. This was decided and agreed upon by both the U.S. and Iraqi governments.

Even though it’s easy to say that at this point, combat is over, it’s hard to say if it really is. With insurgents continuing to bomb and attack, the U.S. troops that remain in Iraq will likely face combat situations and more are likely to give their lives to help the Iraqi people. It will be a good day when the last U.S. soldier and military personnel leaves Iraq and lets the people of Iraq run their own country. The hope is that the government established in Iraq is one that can withstand the test of time.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated that what the U.S. troops “have accomplished something really quite extraordinary here, [but] how it all weighs in the balance over time I think remains to be seen.” This is a profound statement. It’s hard for us in our limited view of history to know whether the war in Iraq was worth the sacrifice of so many lives. We hope it was.

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