On March 19, 2003, President George W. Bush declared that the United States and its “Coalition of the Willing” began major combat operations in Iraq.

On May 1, 2003, President Bush, dressed in a flightsuit after dramatically landing a combat aircraft on a carrier held off the coast of California for the President’s “Top Gun” fantasy press event, declares that “major combat operations” in Iraq were over.

2,666 days later, on August 18, 2010, weeks ahead of schedule, President Barack Obama actually ends U.S. combat operations in Iraq as the last of the combat troops and equipment complete their withdrawal from the country.

From MSNBC:

The long convoy began moving over the weekend, and as the first soldiers reached Kuwait earlier this week, they grinned broadly, whooped and exchanged high-fives.

“We won! We won! It’s over! We brought democracy to Iraq!” a soldier shouted as fellow soldiers celebrated their arrival in Kuwait this week.

For Staff Sgt. Heon Hong of Guam, the brigade’s departure marked the end of his third tour of duty in Iraq.

“I’m glad I’m here. I’m glad we’re done with Iraq,” Hong said as his transport arrived this week. Hopefully, I never come back to Iraq.”

Another soldier, Sgt. Devon Scarey of Deltona, Fla., said simply, “It feels awesome.”

Brig. Gen. Nick Tooliatos, deputy commanding general for First Theater Sustainment Command in Kuwait, stood at the border saluting each soldier as he or she crossed.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better honor than to greet some soldiers who have done great work for a year fighting our nation’s war, and to just be here and render honors to them and welcome them and thank them for a job well done,” Tooliatos said.

“It’s a historic event,” he said. “In 2003, we rolled across this berm into Iraq, and now as we get ready to transition the security of Iraq to Iraq’s own forces, this is a significant retrograde of a combat unit.”

Thank you for your service.  Godspeed on your way home.

(And thank you, President Obama, for this and for skipping the flight suit.)

 
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  • Shalom Brian,

    I really wish I could celebrate this, but I can't.

    Operation Iraqi Freedom is over only in the way Operation Overlord or Operation Chromite are over. At last count we have some 70,000 troops in German and 30,000 troops in Korea.

    As long as a single service member assigned anywhere else other than at an American embassy remains in country, the conflict is not over.

    B'shalom,

    Jeff

  • modernesquire

    Well, I disagree. The idea that because we still have troops in Germany means that WWII isn't over or because we have troops in Korea means that war isn't over makes as much sense as saying that the fact that a majority of our military bases are in the South is an indication that the Civil War isn't truly over.

  • tudorman

    This is the New Math, D.C.-style, in which pulling ALL the combat troops out means that 56,000 are still there. And they are still armed and will run missions if requested. The Washington Post reported “Those that remain are conventional combat brigades reconfigured slightly and rebranded 'advise and assist brigades”, which makes me recall a something about a duck.

    Supposedly these troops, enough to populate any of a dozen or so cities in Ohio, will be gone by the end of the year. Let's hope so. But will ALL U.S. military personnel be gone and will the bases be decommissioned and completely removed? I have my doubts. Empires and their rulers rarely give up willingly.

  • Shalom Brian,

    You don't know how close I came to adding that precise example.

    Stop and think for a moment. Why is it that the majority of our large Army bases are in the South?

    Yes, I'm serious.

    B'shalom,

    Jeff

    p.s. my ancestors, the welsh, were so anti-british that there are more defensive castles in wales than in any other part of the united kingdom.

  • Shalom Tudorman,

    I really wish we could actually see the sun set on the American empire.

    B'shalom,

    Jeff

  • modernesquire

    Because we don't fear Canada? Seriously, BEFORE the Civil War most of our military installations and best officers haled from the South. That's why we lost most of the battles during the Civil War.

    I'd note that most of the personel in the military still come from predominately rural areas, particularly in the South. If we're there to stop another Confederacy, we're doing it wrong.

  • tudorman

    Hello, Jeff.

    The Empire will collapse, or at least disintegrate. It may not be sudden and therefore hard to see while it's happening, however. But collapse it will. I'm more convinced every day that I will be alive to watch it, hopefully on a big screen TV in my living room far away, and not right outside my window.

    I think you'll find this article and the two podcasts interesting. They are a comparison of the current state of America and the Roman Empire, with the conclusion that we are in some ways far worse off than the Romans. Load them up into your mp3 player. Jim Rickards has some thought provoking insights, and he does not get overly political.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/jim-rickards-c

  • Shalom Brian,

    Number of times the United States has been invaded from Canada: 1

    Number of times the United States has been invaded from Mexico: 0.

    Military insurrections since The War of Northern Aggression: 0.

    I'll give you Lee, Jackson and maybe Stuart, but Grant, Sherman and Sheridan were no slackers. Other than Fort Sumter, I can't think of a significant military base east of the Mississippi. Sure, there were garrisons, but nothing on the scale of Fort Bragg, Fort Hood or Fort Knox.

    B'shalom,

    Jeff

  • Shalom Tudorman,

    That's true, you're absolutely right, there never has been, nor will there ever be a 1,000 anything.

    Whether or not we'll live to see the collapse or, my personal choice, a radical transformation, I'm not placing any bets.

    Thanks for the link.

    B'shalom,

    Jeff

  • modernesquire

    Well, first of all, most of the pre-Confederacy U.S. troops officer corps were Southerns. Second, a military base at those times just isn't comparable to a base now. That's like comparing an Union fort with a Mongolian camp.

    Bases changes as the military and technology changes.

  • mvirenicus

    Yeah, and the union threw some real clunker generals out there too. George McClellan comes immediately to mind.

  • Shalom Brian,

    “[M]ost of the pre-Confederacy U.S. troops officer corps were Southerns.”

    Source please.

    B'shalom,

    Jeff

  • modernesquire

    It's widely accepted by civil war historians that the South had a superior advantage on officers at the start of the war due to the fact that a large share of the officer corp was either from the South or trained there.

    The reason Lincoln was stuck with clunkers like McClellan is because Lincoln didn't get his first choice… Lee.

  • Shalom Brian,

    Yes, Lee was Lincoln's first choice, but that doesn't answer my question.

    “Widely accepted” is not a source, it's a meme.

    B'shalom,

    Jeff

  • mvirenicus

    I'll see your source and raise you two screaming memes.

  • Anonymous

    Well, that didn’t take long:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/05/iraq-combat-continues_n_706275.html

    And of course, there’s the “security contractors” that don’t even figure into the troop count.

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