Tomorrow marks an historic day for Iraq — the deadline for U.S. combat troops to pull out of its cities — and Iraqis are reacting with mixed feelings. The government has declared it a national holiday, with celebrations and military parades planned.
Many Iraqis say they’re glad to see Americans gone… that they will feel freedom and liberation. But, others aren’t so sure… One Baghdad resident says she feels “fear and horror”… and says many Iraqis will be “afraid of each other.” Others say they have come to depend on U.S. troops.
More than six-years after the invasion — the U-S says Iraqi forces are ready to take control of security in the cities. We’ll see soon enough. The last 10 days have seen several bomb attacks and assorted violence which has left more than 200 Iraqis dead and hundreds more wounded. Iraqi and U.S. officials had warned of an expected rise in attacks around this withdrawal date.
After the handover — U.S. forces will have to get permission from Iraq to go into cities or carry out operations in urban areas. There will be a small number of U.S. troops remaining in cities to train and advise Iraqi forces — but most of them will be in bases outside city limits.
There are about 131,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq. Most are supposed to leave the country by next summer, with all forces gone by the end of 2011.
Here’s my question to you: What is life likely to be like in Iraq without the presence of U.S. combat forces in its cities?
Andy from Chicago writes:
One word: anarchy – just like it would have been if we left 6 years ago or 10 years from now. What a waste or time, money and, most importantly, lives.
We successfully removed the stabilizing factor in Iraq, Saddam Hussein. No matter what anyone says, he kept disparate groups in one country. Now, tick-tock, it’s just a waiting time bomb.
Who cares? Crime is up in every major city in the U.S. We have to lay off police here because the cities are broke, because we are spending money policing over there. Hello? What is wrong with this picture?
It will be as chaotic as with every other vacuum left by colonial imperialists’ exits that left few families without fatalities and lifelong injuries. Life in Iraq will be poisoned for generations by the ignorant Christian zealotry of those that sent those troops into this war.
Hank from Montreal writes:
Jack, The Iraqi government has settled nothing amongst themselves. Malaki is next to powerless and biased. It is not going to be pretty: gradual descent into chaos and perhaps even civil war.
The Sunni will begin horrific acts to assume power throughout the majority of the country. It will most likely spiral out of control before the U.S. forces outside the cities can effectively put it to rest. Unfortunately, we’ve lost thousands of sons and daughters in a war that is about to get much worse on the Iraqi people before it gets better.
David from San Diego writes:
There will be fewer American military casualties, at last. That’s all that should matter now.