Perhaps thankful is too strong of a word. Or perhaps not. 80% of Iraq’s parliament voted for a security pact that will keep American troops in that country for three more years – sounds like they’re glad to have us there.
After the madness that’s been happening in Mumbai over the last 2 days and the massive, brutal Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence of 2 years ago, it’s not hard to understand why Iraq’s leaders want to keep the the troops responsible for the progress of the last year plus in country.
It’s also clear that the U.S. has an obligation to keep our troops in Iraq until that country is ready to stand on its own. Despite the recent successes, that time may be beyond the 2012 timeframe specified in this latest agreement. Regardless, the moral imperative of “we broke it, we bought it” can’t be ignored.
That’s true even for Barack Obama who, while elected on the promise of change and troop withdrawals, will find his ability to keep his allies on the far left happy constrained by the realities of his new responsibilities.
Hopefully the U.S. will continue to be able to draw down troop numbers in Iraq and shift the theater of war back to Afghanistan where our focus is needed. And hopefully our former allies in Europe will re-commit themselves to the pacification of that country, work with us to secure its border with Pakistan, and help create an economy based on something other than opium. And hopefully the U.S. will be able to establish long-term working relationships with the governments in both Iraq and Afghanistan and build military bases in those countries similar to those in Japan, South Korea, and other allied nations.
True, that’s a lot of hoping. But our successes in Iraq have created the opportunity to hope for more favorable outcomes. That’s something to be thankful for.