This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
So that’s that. As of the end of the year, the Obama administration will have withdrawn all U.S. troops from Iraq, with the exception of a small contingent of presumably nervous embassy guards.
Obama’s recent announcement that the war was over was mere formality. For America, the serious fighting in Iraq ended a couple years ago, when Iraqi security forces took full responsibility for Iraqi security.
What’s driving the final withdrawal – a legal dispute – seems ridiculously anticlimactic. Some Iraqi leaders would as soon have U.S. forces on hand to keep training their troops, and the Obama administration would as soon keep them there.
The deal-breaker was the U.S. insistence on criminal immunity for American troops in the face of the Iraqi parliament’s refusal to grant that immunity. No triumphal parades, no helicopters fleeing from rooftops, just a breakdown in back-room negotiations. A whimper, not a bang.
The whimper, though, says much about the achievements of American troops in Iraq.
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