Well, that was quick. Apparently US troops in Iraq are back in the combat business, notwithstanding President Obama’s recent speech indicating that the combat phase of the war ended August 31, 2010.
From CBS News:
(AP) BAGHDAD (AP) – Days after the U.S. officially ended combat operations and touted Iraq’s ability to defend itself, American troops found themselves battling heavily armed militants assaulting an Iraqi military headquarters in the center of Baghdad on Sunday. The fighting killed 12 people and wounded dozens.
It was the first exchange of fire involving U.S. troops in Baghdad since the Aug. 31 deadline for formally ending the combat mission, and it showed that American troops remaining in the country are still being drawn into the fighting. The attack also made plain the kind of lapses in security that have left Iraqis wary of the U.S. drawdown and distrustful of the ability of Iraqi forces now taking up ultimate responsibility for protecting the country.
Sunday’s hour-long assault was the second in as many weeks on the facility, the headquarters for the Iraqi Army’s 11th Division, pointing to the failure of Iraqi forces to plug even the most obvious holes in their security. Two of the four attackers even managed to fight their way inside the compound and were only killed after running out of ammunition and detonating explosives belts they were wearing.
The American troops who joined the fight and provided cover fire for Iraqi soldiers pursuing the attackers were based at the compound to train Iraqi forces, said U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Eric Bloom. Iraqi forces also requested help from U.S. helicopters, drones and explosives experts, he said. No American troops were hurt, Bloom said. Under an agreement between the two countries, Iraq can still call on American forces to assist in combat and U.S. troops can defend themselves if attacked.
President Obama originally campaigned on “getting out of Iraq” in 16 months. Some may try to spin the meaning of what he meant by that now, but the meaning was quite clear to everyone back during the campaign. Getting out meant getting out.
It was a tremendous disappointment to Obama’s supporters on the hard left when Obama cast this promise aside shortly after taking office and instead deciding to reduce the deployment to 50,000 after 18 months (in compliance with the terms of the security agreement negotiated with the Iraqis by President Bush). Obama’s speech declaring the combat phase of the war was over during a high profile, prime-time, national TV speech was largely intended to impress these same disappointed people. It was Obama’s way of trying to say: “See, practically speaking, we have pretty much have gotten out of Iraq. Just like I promised you we would.”
CBS, the MSM and the left wanted to believe, but it was easy to tell that they were not fully convinced by their lack of enthusiasm after the speech. During the campaign and for months thereafter, they mindlessly swooned and just “believed” Obama no matter what he said. He was almost a sort of liberal messiah figure to many of these people. But he seems to have taken advantage of that blind love one too many times now. The days when he can confidently depend on his loyal base to blindly “trust me,” almost no matter what he tells them, appear to be starting to wind down. And not a moment too soon.
There will continue to be combat skirmishes in Iraq probably for some time to come yet. The Iraqis are increasingly in charge of their own security, but we did not leave 50,000 troops in Iraq to sit around and watch football on satellite TV. This incident was not a major battle, but it does go to show that the combat phase of this war is not over, contrary to what Obama told the American people on national TV on August 31, 2010.
So whatever Obama had hoped to sell to his left wing base during his oval office speech on this topic, his presentation has just turned out to be another self-serving, manipulative, empty gesture. And those people on the left and in the MSM who have been out front in leading the Obama praise choruses find themselves disappointed once again.