We’re Leaving But Not Really Leaving Iraq

The new American embassy in Iraq is the largest in the world and is built on a tract of land roughly the size of the Vatican

In my recent Yom Kippur sermon, I linked to an article that explained why, even if Obama did honor the pledge to withdraw US troops at the end of 2011, this wouldn’t be the end of our militarized presence in that country by a long shot.

So now that Obama has formally announced the Iraq withdrawal, just pay close, close attention to the heavily militarized State Department presence that will remain.

From a recent WashPo article:

The list of responsibilities the State Department will pick up from the military is daunting. It will have to provide security for the roughly 1,750 traditional embassy personnel — diplomats, aid workers, Treasury employees and so on — in a country rocked by daily bombings and assassinations.

To do so, the department is contracting about 5,000 security personnel. They will protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad plus two consulates, a pair of support sites at Iraqi airports and three police-training facilities.

The department will also operate its own air service — the 46-aircraft Embassy Air Iraq — and its own hospitals, functions the U.S. military has been performing. About 4,600 contractors, mostly non-American, will provide cooking, cleaning, medical care and other services. Rounding out the civilian presence will be about 4,600 people scattered over 10 or 11 sites, where Iraqis will be instructed on how to use U.S. military equipment their country has purchased.

“This is not what State Department people train for, to run an operation of this size. Ever since 2003, they’ve been heavily reliant on U.S. military support,” said Max Boot, a national security expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Make no mistake: we’re all going to be paying for Bush’s Folly for a long, long time to come…

5 thoughts on “We’re Leaving But Not Really Leaving Iraq

  1. i_like_ike52

    How we miss the gold ‘ole days when Saddam Hussein was in power!. Things were much better then. Remember how Saddam fired long-range missles at Israel and the Gulf States, how he fought a 9-year long war with Iran in which there were hundreds of thousands of casualites on each side, how Saddam massacred Kurds and Shi’ites, used poison gas against his own people, how he invaded Kuwait? Obama and rest of the “Progressives” were right in opposing ousting such a fine leader!

  2. Steve Hinman

    Yes, that is one large embassy and America’s activities in Iraq are going to be an expensive, on-going commitment for a long time to come. Most importantly, the loss of life is staggering. However, as progressives let’s be careful about calling Iraq “Bush’s Folly.” There were many of us on the left who belittled Reagan for claiming that communism was not sustainable. We were wrong. Many of us again belittled George Bush for his belief that democracy was possible in the Middle East. We were proven wrong again. It is too soon to tell what the lasting impact of America’s actions in Iraq will be.

  3. Pingback: Proceed with Caution « The Lady Libertarian

  4. Nova


    you mean that war with Iran which America helped out with via helicopters and satellite images? you mean the murder of Kurds using biological weapons supplied to him from America and Europe?

    Was it worth it? Depends who you are ask. If you are a keyboard warrior from American who never had to do any of the fighting or identify any of his friends or family at the morgue then hell yeah! it was worth it!

    if you are an Iraqi woman who lost half of your family to a sucide bomber at the local market then like 4 million other Iraqis had to flee your country and live on the streets in Jordan because you were considered a second class citizen, then I doubt you’d say it was worth it.

    Fortunately we don’t have to care about what the Iraqis think because we’re god’s greatest gift to the world and have never done anything wrong.

  5. Nova

    @Steve Hinman

    I was just about to join you and concedw that Dubya was poorly judged and was indeed a great visionary, a man of honor and perhaps the greatest statesman in American history and the I remembered those WMD, Steve. I’m quite sure that is why we went in there, not to spread democracy. Remember that stuff Steve? The mushroom cloud? 45 minutes to launch? scary vials of stuff being help up by Powell at the UN? saving the world from imminent danger?

    And then there is that body-count thing that some stick-in-the-mud ALWAYS insists on bringing up whenever Iraq is the topic of conversation. From memory it was pretty big!

    Tell me Steve, how much Kool-aid do I need to drink in order to overcome my misgivings about Bush?


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