Despite flowery speeches, discussions of “transition”, and 50,000 “non-combat” troops remaining, America is still losing men and women and spending tens of billions of dollars in Iraq. And as violence escalates once again, and a new government remains elusive nearly six months after parliamentary elections, some worry that U.S. forces may have to resume “combat” operations.
Recently, there has been a disturbing rise in sectarian violence with multiple bombings becoming a daily occurrence. This has prompted the U.S. Commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, to raise the prospect that U.S. troops may be forced to return in larger numbers, though he added that such a prospect is highly unlikely. In addition, Odierno stated that the U.S. may entertain staying beyond its complete withdrawal deadline of December 31, 2011 if asked by the Iraqi government, an option the Obama administration does not seem to advocate at this time.
When they start bringing up the supposedly remote possibility that troops may stay, well, are they preparing us? Also, how many mercenaries are there now? Oh, 50,000 or so. And their roles will certainly be stepped up. So, nothing really has changed.