Sunday, October 16, 2011

A little good news

We got the news today from an Associated Press report that the Pentagon has decided not to keep troops in Iraq after a New Year's Eve deadline. All troops will be removed except for 160 soldiers left to guard the US embassy in Baghdad.

Now, there are some people who aren't going to trust this. "Obama promises a lot. We've heard this before."

Well, technically, what we heard before was a troop reduction, not a complete pullout. And Obama lived up to that.

But some people, ignoring the evidence, have always refused to believe that Obama is acting in good faith in Iraq, and I suspect that they will continue to ignore reality.

Well, I don't know if this will help, but here's a little reality for you.

When I was in Iraq (in the first relief group, replacing the actual invasion forces), the Army had taken over Al-Faw palace, one of the last of Saddam's overly ornate structures left standing.

The Army named it and the area around it Camp Victory. It became the HQ for the US Army, and was referred to by the Army as the Victory Base Complex, also encompassing Camp Liberty, Camp Striker, our Air Force unit in Camp Sather, and a number of other encampments from all branches of the military, and even forces from other countries - we had a British unit right next door, for example.

And how do you know that the military is actually going to pull out by January?

They have closed the main PX in Camp Victory.

You can trust in one thing over all others. You have a buttload of generals in one place, you're going to have someplace for them to stock up on clean underwear, chocolate and cigarettes. And the little black-market supply of Jack Daniels and porn coming in aboard the military aircraft isn't going to be able to expand enough to keep them supplied with all the amenities available. (There are other ways to keep supplied with contraband, but I bought mine straight from the aircrews, and I wasn't in charge of anything...)

They can't shop in Baghdad (OK, they could, but there's rules to keep the military out of town, because of those pesky bullets that keep flying toward them), and they don't want to go all the way to the Green Zone after a long day at the office.

An argument can be made about the lower-ranking troops needing some place to get razors and shampoo, but in the end, the needs of the brass override anything else.

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