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As of 2052hrs the last combat troops will have left Iraq. I have heard they are to be replaced by civilians and contractors, but I cannot find a source stating such.
It is in my personal opinion that it is a mistake to "leave" so early: we'll see a rise of violence in Iraq, as the Sunnis, who had realized late in the game to cooperate (the Sunni Awakening) with the new Government will be fearing for their lives as the empowered Shiites have been holding off on revenge all these years. I fail to see any real progress made in their government: there's no real cooperation between the Sunni's and Shiites; and the people who will be at a real loss are the Kurds in the north.
The Sunni Awakening, for those who are unaware, is a group of Sunni tribes who formed a coalition to help ease tensions and better security for the coalition in Iraq. The surge did nothing: it was this awakening that provided the relative "calm" in Iraq because the Sunni's realized they needed a voice, they needed to be able to provide input while the Americans are still here, because once we leave, they believe they're going to be squashed down.
I feel al-Maliki (the guy who came in 2nd in the vote) is going to crack down on all the Sunni Arabs for "Baathist ties". Iran is going to have a huge influence (since they are Shiite as well) and Syria is going to probably side with the Shiite Iraq because Iran is and they don't want to be hung out, left to dry. This places the Sunni Iraqis in a corner. The surge did nothing but put a lid on the container, it didn't solve the deep hatred towards one another, all it did was put US service members on every corner instituting a curfew. With us leaving, the lid is off, and we'll most likely see the violence escalate once more to what it was after the fall of Baghdad.
And then the Kurds in the north are just left hanging. They're going to get the shit end of the deal regardless of who is in power. They are fearing that they're going to get gassed and bombed again. It's a shame, they are the most pro-American group in Iraq.
I'm conflicted: I feel that we're morally obligated to stay there and ensure the government is up and running successfully, and that the security is not just "alright". After all, we came in and bomb the hell out of them, destroyed their government, and forced one down on them while security is still precariously bad. To leave now just signals we give up, we're tired and lazy. However, with Afghanistan flaring up, the economy in the shitter, everyone in the military fatigued from the deployments, how much longer could we really keep it up? We gave them the tools, do we really need to be holding their hands through the rest of it?
"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity." Dwight D. Eisenhower Google+ Profile Origin: 13Evigilant Steam: Evigilant