End of Iraq war in sight for U.S. troops

January 5, 2010 - 0:0

Americans received great news Saturday from the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

Army Gen. Ray Odierno said that despite Iraq’s two-month delay in holding nationwide elections, American combat troops will leave the war-torn country as scheduled by the end of August.
“The plan that I put together originally gave me plenty of flexibility, and part of that flexibility was that the election would be delayed, so I built flexibility into our plan,” Gen. Odierno said. “I feel comfortable that we’re on track.”
After all combat troops leave Iraq in August, the remaining 50,000 U.S. forces will be performing non-combat operations such as training.
Around early May, if the country is on stable footing, Odierno said he will be begin moving troops out of Iraq. There are currently about 110,000 U.S. forces in Iraq, and Odierno said by March 7 there will be roughly 100,000 troops here. Under a security pact signed with the government of Iraq, all U.S. forces are to be out of the country by the end of 2011.
The general’s words couldn’t have come at a better time. As American begins the new year, any positives about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are welcome.
The war in Iraq has taken its toll on many families in America. As of September 2009, 4,345 U.S. troops had been killed in action there. As of April 6, 2009, there were 31,102 wounded in action. Of these 9,477 required medical air transport.
Things aren’t much better in Afghanistan. As of Dec. 31, 2009, at least 861 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of America’s invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to the Defense Department.
While the end of 2011 can’t come soon enough for U.S. troops in Iraq, the bigger question is when will American troops be out of Afghanistan for good?
Taliban and al-Qaeda insurgents seem to be expanding their stronghold in both countries, which means it will be tougher for U.S. troops to root out the hardened fighters.
The New Year’s Day suicide bombing in Pakistan that was allegedly orchestrated by the Taliban and killed more than 100 innocent people, shows just how serious the insurgents are about controlling citizens in the war-torn region.
Hopefully, residents and militia fighters will be defiant toward the Taliban and try to take back their villages and towns, but no matter what happens, America faces a long, hard road in Afghanistan.
So here’s hoping Gen. Odierno’s plan works and all American combat troops leave Iraq as scheduled by the end of August. And here’s hoping America can find a way to end the war in Afghanistan as soon as possible and with few casualties.
(Source: delcotimes.com)