15 Dec 2011 - PRESIDENT Barack Obama has marked the end of America's military involvement in Iraq with a welcome home speech for troops at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Obama declared the military operation a “success”, saying US troops were proudly leaving behind “a stable and self-reliant Iraq”. Commentators were less triumphant. While some called the withdrawal ‘dignified’, others suggested that the US left Iraq because it was no longer relevant.
Obama right to praise troops
The cost of the war both to American troops and to Iraqis was great, says an editorial in The Daily Telegraph. “Serious questions also remain over whether the war was legitimate in the first place.” As for British involvement, these questions will be answered when the Chilcot Inquiry reports next summer.
But Obama was right to pay tribute to the sacrifices made by those who served in Iraq, says the Telegraph. “They cannot be blamed for the mistakes of their political masters.”
US has lost relevance
To give credit where it is due, Obama did face down the military and neo-cons to set the date for withdrawal, says Adrian Hamilton in The Independent, thus achieving an end that may not be “victorious”, but is “at least reasonably dignified”.
But the departure is an indication not so much of its achievement in bringing about a new order after Sadam Hussein, says Hamilton, as “the extent to which the US force has simply become a less and less important player in the country’s affairs”. read more>>>