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June 29, 2009

Hey, Anyone Remember Iraq? US Forces Are Officially Pulling Out Of Cities Today

Today is major milestone in the battle for Iraq and not too many people seem to notice or care. At least that's the case here in the US. Understandably, Iraqis are pretty excited.

Iraqi government TV has been playing patriotic music to celebrate the U.S. military withdrawal from cities, towns and villages across the country, officially set to be completed by Tuesday June 30th.

Iraqi military vehicles were also covered with flowers to celebrate the event, and military parades, complete with band music, were organized in Diyala and Diwania provinces.

The government declared a "Day of National Sovereignty" to mark the event, and has invited ordinary citizens to join evening celebrations at Baghdad's Zawra Park for a festival of music and poetry.

Interior Minister Jawad Boulani told journalists the U.S. withdrawal is almost complete and Iraqi forces are capable of maintaining order across the country.

He says he believes Iraq's security situation is under control. "I do not think we need to declare a curfew," he insisted.

There's been an uptick in bombings, some causing substantial Iraqi casualties but that's not going to impact implementation of the security handover agreement. From the safety of my desk, I'd say that's the right thing. Any transition point is going to be an opportunity for the deadenders to do their thing (kill and maim) no matter when it happens. We all knew at some point the Iraqis were going to have to take on this responsibility. According to General Odierno, the Iraqis are ready and now is the moment.

In fact, the transfer has already taken place ahead of schedule.

"It's time for this partnership to have an Iraqi lead, it's time for this partnership to have the Iraqis out in front."

Odierno said U.S. troops still will be training and advising Iraqi forces and Americans will be conducting operations outside Iraqi cities after the deadline. U.S. forces are expected to withdraw from the country by the end of 2010 as part of a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement.

People always asked what victory in Iraq would look like, well this is another piece of that image. Two and half years ago a lot of people wanted to give up on Iraq and this kind of progress was thought impossible by many if not most. Yet, here it is.

We should never forget the hundreds of thousands of Americans who left their homes to remove a dangerous regime and then fight a bloody minded insurgency led by terrorists. Tens of thousands of them were wounded and to date, over 4,200 died in this effort.

Good luck to the people of Iraq, hopefully they will build a nation worthy of and their and America's sacrifices.


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posted by DrewM. at 01:09 PM

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