President Obama says we are leaving Iraq--finally, finally. I pray he will be able to do what he says.
What he actually says, of course, is a little more complicated--that all US combat troops will leave by the end of this month--this month! The 50,000 or so who will still be there will be charged with protecting US bases, property, etc., but not with going out and trying to shoot people. If those who might want to shoot us hold off for a spell, the 50,000 may come home too.
Why did we go there, all those years ago? It's hard to remember. Iraq was ruled by violent dictator, Saddam Hussein. He invaded Kuwait at one point. The first President Bush organized a coalition and drove him out of it. Why not go further, that Bush was asked? Because, he answered, it would destroy my coalition. Right.
But the second President Bush was more foolish than his father and went all the way.
He claimed Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, but he didn't. Some invoked the memory of 9/11 drawing a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam, but there wasn't one. We invaded Iraq, Saddam fell and we've been stuck there since.
Leaving is much harder than getting rid of Saddam. It still may not work. The Iraqis had elections last March and they still haven't come up with a new government. So will the place stay stable as we leave? Who knows? Will we stay longer if violence recurs? I surely hope not.
But only time will...well, you know how that one goes...