Seven years after the U.S. embarked on its war in Iraq with “shock and awe”, the military ends its combat operations on Tuesday with considerably less fanfare. President Obama will make the announcement in a televised address from the White House.
On March 20, 2003, suddenly, with no advance notice, every major radio and television channel across the United States interrupted its programming to transmit a recorded message direct from the White House.
"My fellow citizens,” former US President George Bush began in an uncharacteristically sombre tone, “at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq…” And with those words, the United States confidently embarked on a 2,721-day odyssey that now ends almost as it began, with another TV address from the Oval Office Tuesday. This time, though, a different president will deliver a far more humble message.
"I am not saying that all is, or will necessarily be, well in Iraq," Gates said in a speech in the Midwestern state of Wisconsin.
Meanwhile Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki hailed the end of American combat operations in a televised address on Tuesday, stressing that Iraq's own soldiers and police were capable of defending a "sovereign and independent" country.
With Baghdad’s political stability in limbo and a violent insurgency that continues to prey on civilians, Obama is taking a considerable gamble that his decision to end combat operations in Iraq will not spark an all-out war among the country's feuding political, religious and insurgent groups.
Date created : 2010-08-31