Saturday, December 16, 2017

“The Last Combat Troops Leave Iraq”

September 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Bras & Boots, Most Recent Posts

On 17 August 2010, I was sitting at the DFAC eating breakfast with a few colleagues. We were making light conversation, enjoying our eggs, oatmeal, and fruit when suddenly everyone’s attention diverted towards the television. In bright bold letters, the screen read “The Last Combat Troops Leave Iraq.” The volume in the DFAC became softer, as the television volume was raised. We all sat and watched the coverage of 4/2 stryker brigade combat team’s ’s convoy out of Iraq into Kuwait. The CNN story we were watching showed several soldiers happy and full of glee… seemingly ecstatic about the war’s end… and looking forward to reuniting with their families.

My colleagues and I looked at each other, confused… utterly confused about what was going on in the media. Yes, more troops were redeploying, big deal. People redeploy everyday.  But guess what, there are still some of us that are here…in Iraq.  Throughout the next few days, there were many of these news stories talking about the end of combat operations, how things are different now, etc… I agree, things are not as bad as they were during the invasion, during the days of really bad sectarian violence, and even during the “surge,” but the news coverage made it seem like things were all fine and dandy and finished. These stories had my civilian friends and family very confused. Most thought that I would be coming home early. They questioned why I was still in Iraq even though the media, and even the President, said that the war was over.

There are currently less than 50,000 U.S. service members deployed to Iraq as part of a contingency force. We are still here advising and assisting, conducting day to day operations, and helping the Iraqi government form itself. Even though Iraqi elections were held in March, there still is no declared Prime Minister. How can we help form a government that is in such a state of disarray? It is extremely frustrating.

On 01 September 2010, Operation Iraqi Freedom has just turned into Operation New Dawn signifying the end of all combat operations in Iraq. “The war is over!” people exclaimed on television, and this was reaffirmed by President Obama’s speech to the American public on 01 September. But, really NOTHING has changed.

Just this past week, two soldiers were killed in Northern Iraq because they were fired on by an Iraqi Army soldier. One of those soldiers we were supposed to be “advising and assisting” on a joint operation. Yes, combat operations are over, and we have taken on a more advisory role within the country of Iraq; but we are still being attacked through IEDs, EFPs, IDF, and SAF. Shia extremists and AQI continue to plan operations against us. We are still being targeted. We are still here.

The media spin on Operation New Dawn has made me extremely disgruntled. I do think that we have made a lot of progress here in Iraq, but it’s a little discerning…especially when there is so much anti-American sentiment expressed in the media and outside of our gates and walled compounds. I was so angry and frustrated one day, and ended up venting to a good friend.. She reminded me of something extremely important: Without the U.S. invasion, people in Iraq would not be able to protest. They would not be able to express their opinions openly and freely without fear of reprimand by the Republican Guard, or other Ba’athist officials. That in and of itself is a huge step in the right direction.

The war in Iraq is not over, and combat operations have not ended. Everyday we are being targeted by people that want to destroy us and our ideals. Hopefully America remembers us, and we will not be forgotten. Our lives are still in danger on a daily basis, and we must do what we will to protect ourselves and the Iraqi people during a war, and even after the “last combat troops have left Iraq.”  We’re still out here, so please don’t forget that we exist.

-Myriam

Comments

3 Responses to ““The Last Combat Troops Leave Iraq””
  1. dc says:

    I must say I remember that day all too well. My unit was on its last month of a year rotation in Iraq. We endured a lot of the same stuff, constant IDF, IED’s still had SAF and yet, as we supported and watched the Stryker Brigade roll through our AO, and the media stating that the fight was over…moral on my guys and even myself had completely vanished.

    It was almost like that was it, everyone else that was left over there didn’t matter. I took the liberty of making a sign “Still in Iraq” for my family to see that we are still going out of the wire, doing missions and pulling security. As far as its effectiveness I am unsure, but it’s good to keep reminding the public that the Media isn’t always right, and unfortunately it took the loss of a soldier only a couple days after the media and president stated that the war in Iraq was over to realize that there are still dangers down range.

  2. Jo says:

    Yea i remember that day too. we were in JBB. and still under attack with mortars and rockets. I guess Hajis didnt get that Presidentail Memo. Iraq War is still going no matter how many combat units leave Troops still getting fired on in and outside of the wire.

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