Wednesday, September 01, 2010
War Is Over ... War Goes On
With far less fanfare than President Bush's infamous declaration of "Mission Accomplished," President Obama announced something only slightly clearer: the end of combat operations. Given that 50,000 American troops -- presumably well armed and trained in the arts of war -- remain on the ground in Iraq the president's Oval Office speech last night seems like a milestone without much meaning.
Since March of 2003, 4,416 Americans have died in Iraq. Untold tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed. We have spent almost $750 billion.
With 50,000 American troops still in Iraq those costs, in lives and in dollars, will continue to increase.
The president promises that we will have no "boots on the ground" in another 18 months or so. I doubt we will get an iconic "helicopter on the roof" photo opportunity of the end of this war, but I am sure that we will spend just as many years counting the costs of this one and trying to figure out why we were there in the first place.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Afghanistan climbs to 1,269, and the cost approaches $350 billion. When will we ever learn ...