End of Iraqi occupation misinterpreted

By on November 4, 2011

By Michelle Eigenheer–

Democrats and Republicans alike received a surprise this week when President Barack Obama announced that he would be removing all United States troops from Iraq.

Many people look to this announcement as a promise to end U.S. involvement with conflict in the Middle East. However, this speculation is doubtful. U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan, Kuwait, and other countries. Furthermore, troops are not being removed from Iraq purely to reinforce President Obama’s campaign promises. Instead, troops are being removed because negotiations with Iraq did not go as well as they were expected to.

In order for U.S. troops to remain in a country such as Iraq, an agreement must be reached that would exempt military personnel from certain rules and regulations. For example, a female military member in Iraq could not be punished because she does not follow the practice of covering her face. Without this negotiation, U.S. troops would face danger from the Iraqi government.

The circumstances of why this mediation failed are unclear, but the bottom line is that U.S. troops cannot continue occupation without certain immunities.

This is not the first time that U.S. foreign negotiations have suddenly taken a turn for the worst. Recent negotiations to renew the South Korean trade agreement fell through after President Obama demanded that all South Korean car factories in the U.S. allow unions – something they have never allowed before. South Korea refused and the agreement fell through.

While President Obama has this mark on his record, it is not clear if the Iraqi situation has been at all similar.

Though many are relieved by the removal of troops from Iraq, others think that it is a grave mistake. Since the arrest and execution of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi government has been in a volatile state. Without the reinforcement of U.S. troops, the newborn government could potentially fall apart. If this were to happen, the country would be subject to takeover by radical militant forces. It would be irresponsible to simply remove troops from such an unstable political environment.

President Obama made numerous promises during his election campaign and only continued to do so after he was elected. This renewed campaign pledge sounds more like an empty promise than a sure thing.

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Photo: Flikr/The U.S. Army

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