Iraqis celebrate 'Americans GTFO Day'
Iraqis danced in the streets to celebrate what they see as the first step toward a complete withdrawal of American forces:
Iraqi forces assumed formal control of Baghdad and other cities Tuesday after American troops handed over security in urban areas in a defining step toward ending the U.S. combat role in the country. A countdown clock broadcast on Iraqi TV ticked to zero as the midnight deadline passed for U.S. combat troops to finish their pullback to bases outside cities.Actually, there were a couple of bombings, and four Americans were killed in combat. The American press has been pretending that the Iraq War is virtually over, but the reality is that the war is still raging. Violence is down 60% from the 2007 peak, but executions and car bombs are still quite common. If any other country on earth suffered as many car bombs, it would be front page news in every major newspaper in the world, and the leading cause of death in Iraq is execution. The fact that present levels of violence are thought of as a cause for celebration shows just how horrific Bush's war became.
"The withdrawal of American troops is completed now from all cities after everything they sacrificed for the sake of security," said Sadiq al-Rikabi, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. "We are now celebrating the restoration of sovereignty."
The Pentagon did not offer any comment to mark the passing of the deadline.
Fireworks, not bombings, colored the Baghdad skyline late Monday, and thousands attended a party in a park where singers performed patriotic songs. Loudspeakers at police stations and military checkpoints played recordings of similar tunes throughout the day, as Iraqi military vehicles decorated with flowers and national flags patrolled the capital.
One person who's not happy about the prospect of an American pullout is Dick Cheney. The former vice president said that he "would not want to see the U.S. waste all the tremendous sacrifice that has gotten us to this point."
Cheney's newfound concern for the troops is touching, especially considering the fact that he and his pal Donald Rumsfeld urged President Bush to invade Iraq in early 2003 rather than waiting until weapons inspectors had finished searching for Iraq's nonexistent chemical weapons facilities, despite the fact that invading in Spring 2003 would require American soldiers to patrol the streets of Baghdad without armored vehicles and without body armor.
At any rate, it appears that the Iraqis believe they'll be better off after the Americans are gone.
(cross posted at appletree)