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Iraq’s Independence Day
Is Iraq ready for the departure of U.S. combat troops from its cities?
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appy Independence Day, Iraq! said the Chicago Tribune in an editorial. Iraqis Tuesday are celebrating the pullout of U.S. combat troops from their cities, but Americans should rejoice, too—“this is the beginning of the end of the Iraq war.” This “hopeful moment” is possible because the U.S. “surge” quashed sectarian violence, the Iraqis “embraced democracy,” and President Obama is “wisely” adhering to the gradual withdrawal negotiated by President Bush.

Before the “media trumpets sound” the end of the war, said Marie Cocco in RealClearPolitics, it’s worth remembering that “nothing about our entanglement in Iraq has ever been as it seemed.” Saddam Hussein wasn’t behind 9/11, Iraq’s purple-finger election didn’t bring “a flourishing of democracy,” and now, the urban withdrawal of U.S. troops is “mostly cosmetic.” The real question is, What will we do if Iraq isn’t ready to go it alone?

“The United States cannot fix Iraq,” said The New York Times in an editorial. Ultimately, “that is up to the Iraqis.” And the Iraqis seem happy to see us go, after “six bloody, ruinously costly years.” But before we leave entirely, at the end of 2011, we have a strong interest in pushing Iraq to solve its looming crises—sharing oil revenue, Kurdish autonomy, and now, security.

It’s always doom and gloom from the “leftists,” said Ralph Peters in the New York Post. Yes, Iraq has some challenges, but today is a day to celebrate Iraq’s “major milestone” and America’s achievements. “We gave one key Arab state a chance at freedom and democracy,” and we humiliated Al Qaeda in its self-proclaimed “central front.”

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