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When the remaining combat troops left Iraq a couple weeks ago; it didn't receive much coverage. Some say that this country is just battle fatigued. It wasn't much a relief to me because we have still have 50,000 troops in Iraq. We may have ended “Operation Iraqi Freedom" but we're just a slogan away from redefining the mission of the residual force we left. The country remains unstable, without a functioning government, unreliable utilities, and high unemployment. As always, the troops should be commended because whatever their mission, they unselfishly accomplished, the goals of this nation. When asked directly if the war had been worth it, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates replied, "It really requires a historian's perspective in terms of what happens here in the long run."

President Obama did not give one of his betters speeches last night; I didn't hear a sense of accomplishment or a spirit of hope. It was a realistic speech. I thought that he was very generous to former president George W.Bush by emphasizing his support for our troops, his love of country and commitment to our security. Many on the right thought Obama should have commended the former president for the "Surge" that stabilized Iraq. To me, which would have been like, commending my son for getting drunk and destroying 20 fence posts. Yes, we got 20 new fence posts, that maybe should've been replaced and perhaps he learned a lesson, but at what cost? This morning, Ari Fleischer (Bush spokesman) criticized the speech because president Obama left out the words "win and won" in his speech. That is a common phenomenon used by the right. We haven't won anything if you consider cost of lives, money, time and expectation. I thought the president was right to tie the economy to the" War of Choice” but he loses that argument when he said “Because of our drawdown in Iraq, we are now able to apply the resources necessary to go on offense" in Afghanistan and elsewhere against al-Qaeda." The president said "we should turn the page" and I will try to do that until someone says" at least we got rid of Saddam or the democrats should get equal blame for the fiasco." I don't believe the" end justifies the means" and the final decision always rests with the commander in chief. I don't believe Presidents Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, or Dwight Eisenhower would have launched a war on such flimsy evidence.

Today, Vice president Joe Biden officially handed over the combat duties to the Iraqi forces. General Odierdo will finally come home after job well done. The general will hand over his duties to Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin.

After reading six books on Iraq, several newspaper articles, and sort of being obsessed with the Iraq war for seven years; I will now turn my attention to something else. We should never forget the million plus who served over there and their families (many on multiple tours), the many who were wounded and especially the 4,400 American troops who gave their lives.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/31/AR2010083104496_2.html?sid=ST2010083106297