In Iraq, the end looms

The United States has positioned itself to end the Iraq War and claim a small victory.

Ever since âÄúMission AccomplishedâÄù on May 2, 2003, the United States has been fighting a war in Iraq from which we refused to withdraw until augmenting our obvious âÄúsuccessâÄù with victory. Although chronically indecisive about specifically enumerating the terms of that victory, the January 2007 Iraq Strategy Review was the last word on the matter and stated our âÄústrategic goalâÄù to be an Iraq that âÄúcan govern itself, defend itself and sustain itself.âÄù Of course, Iraq can do none of these things âÄúby itselfâÄù with a U.S. military presence, but as of last Friday, President Barack Obama has set a date for realizing victory. On Aug. 31, 2010, American combat troops will have left the Arab nation and we will finally be able to talk about Iraq in the past tense. Under ObamaâÄôs proposed timeline, the United StatesâÄô armed forces will have largely evacuated Iraq by fall 2010, leaving a residual support force of 35,000 to 50,000 soldiers to aid the Iraqi government until the SOFA-mandated total withdrawal at the end of 2011. Critics have noted that this places our withdrawal 19 months after ObamaâÄôs inauguration, rather than the 16 months he had suggested on the campaign trail or the 23 months preferred by Gens. Ray Odierno and David Petraeus. While splitting the difference is not the best option, it appears to be the only one that is both politically viable and true to the arrangement weâÄôve made with the Iraqi government. Responding to ObamaâÄôs statement, a spokesman from IraqâÄôs Interior Ministry said, âÄúOur forces can face all the challenges; 19 months is no worry.âÄù The war will be over soon, and itâÄôs about damn time.