U.S. troops and Iraq's future

U.S. troops and Iraq's future

September 22nd, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

The United States has announced that by the end of this month the number of U.S. troops in Iraq will be drawn down to roughly 40,000.

That, obviously, is good news, since we have been involved in the Iraq War since 2003, at the cost of thousands of U.S. soldiers' lives.

The United States and its allies invaded Iraq based on bipartisan U.S. concern -- and concern around the world -- that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction. It had, after all, used WMD against its own people.

The fears of new Iraqi WMD were not borne out after the invasion, though it is good that the world got rid of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Still, the cost of the war has been high to the United States, even if terrorist attacks in Iraq dropped markedly after the surge in U.S. troops.

And there are fears of what may happen as U.S. forces continue to pull out of Iraq throughout this year. Based on those concerns, there are discussions of leaving several thousand American troops in Iraq to deal with whatever threats may arise.

Circumstances in Iraq aren't anything close to ideal. But we hope the Iraqi people will take the initiative and seize their chance for the freedom and representative government that were denied them for so long.

That will require great fortitude -- and no doubt further loss of innocent life -- because terrorists in Iraq want to seize control. But surrender to terrorists would exact an even higher price.