The last US combat brigade crossed into Kuwait Thursday morning after a series of night maneuvers through the desert, marking a new chapter in the seven-year-conflict in which the struggle for political power has replaced direct combat.While it is encouraging to see the official "combat" troops exiting Iraq, the remaining troops aren't exactly "non-combat" troops. Their offical classification might be as "trainers" or some such euphemism, many will still be fighting, and possibly dying, in George W. Bush's war of false pretenses.
More than 1,200 infantrymen and other soldiers moved out by road in 360 armored vehicles over the past five days in night-time operations kept under wraps until the last troops crossed the border. Fighter jets accompanied them along a route cleared of bombs and landmines. More than 2,000 of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team soldiers had already flown out of the country.
The road march by the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team complies with President Obama’s Sept. 1 deadline for all combat brigades to be out of Iraq, fulfilling a major campaign promise.
They leave behind 50,000 other US troops in an unsettled Iraq still struggling to form a government, and many Iraqis fear that the prospect of US troops withdrawing entirely next year along with the political chaos could reactivate fighting here.
While rejoicing over the developments in Iraq is understandable, it should be tempered with the knowledge that American troops, our friends, neighbors, fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, brothers and sisters, will still be fighting, and possibly dying, in a hellhole halfway around the world.
Remember with gratitude those who have already sacrificed their lives or their health in service to the country, be happy for those who have made it home, and pray that those who are still serving over there (and not just in Iraq) also make it home.