The End of the Iraq War in Sight?

President Obama today announced that all combat forces will be out of Iraq by August 31, 2010, a full seven and a half years after the intervention began on March 19, 2003.

This will make the Iraq involvement the second longest war in US History, only outdone by the slightly longer operation in Vietnam, if one considers the real combat stage to have begun under Lyndon Johnson in February 1965 after the attack by the Viet Cong at Pleiku, South Vietnam, and the end being in March 1973 when Richard Nixon finally withdrew the last US combat forces after eight years and one month.

While this is, of course, an event eagerly awaited, one has to wonder if a change in the war situation between now and then might delay that date.  Also, the intention of Obama is to keep somewhere between 35,000 and 50,000 non combat forces in Iraq beyond 2010, which leaves the impression that we are going to have a long range presence in Iraq, similar to Korea, Germany and Japan.

That is not a welcome thought, but probably inevitable, as we have never really left anywhere we have intervened in a major military conflict, with the one glaring example of Vietnam.

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