Under the SOFA agreement, the U.S. is to withdraw its remaining forces from Iraq on 12/31/11. But on Tuesday U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested the U.S. should keep 10,000 of its 48,000 troops there indefinitely to maintain order and protect Iraq from Iran.*
Mr. Gates did not say how many U.S. Special Forces would remain nor did he say how many thousands of U.S. private "contractors" from firms such as Blackwater are there now and how many of them would remain. Nor did he say what would happen to the Green Zone, a highly secured U.S. enclave within Baghdad and from where the Iraqi government operates with U.S. protection. Nor did Mr. Gates reference leaving the numerous U.S. military bases there, including "Camp Freedom" from which top U.S. officials land and depart rather than use the Baghdad International Airport which is too risky.
In April, there were at least 162 attacks on U.S. forces, up from 128 the prior month and 92 in February according to a Wall Street Journal source, as emboldened fighters are challenging the U.S. occupation. On Sunday, two U.S. soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb. This after more than eight years of war, numerous lives lost, a million Iraqi children orphaned and at least a trillion U.S. dollars wasted.
Unless driven out, as it was in Vietnam, the U.S. military never leaves, as Germany (66 years since World War ll ended), Japan (nearly 66 years) and South Korea (nearly 58 years since the Korean War ended) can tell us. In our silence this Hell on earth we brought to the Iraqis has been allowed to continue and some major U.S. corporations have profited handsomely from it. But America is going broke and its war madness must end before it is morally and financially bankrupt. The proposed continued occupation of Iraq is an excellent time and place for us as Americans to say "enough" and demand an end to the war and a withdrawal of our troops.