On Tuesday, Barack Obama claimed during his Oval Office speech that he had fulfilled his promise to get the combat troops out of Iraq:
So tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country.
This was my pledge to the American people as a candidate for this office. Last February, I announced a plan that would bring our combat brigades out of Iraq, while redoubling our efforts to strengthen Iraq’s Security Forces and support its government and people. That is what we have done. We have removed nearly 100,000 U.S. troops from Iraq. We have closed or transferred hundreds of bases to the Iraqis. And we have moved millions of pieces of equipment out of Iraq.
But did he really remove the combat brigades — or did he just change their names? Army Times says it’s the latter:
As the final convoy of the Army’s 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Lewis, Wash., entered Kuwait early Thursday, a different Stryker brigade remained in Iraq.
Soldiers from the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division are deployed in Iraq as members of an Advise and Assist Brigade, the Army’s designation for brigades selected to conduct security force assistance.
So while the “last full U.S. combat brigade” have left Iraq, just under 50,000 soldiers from specially trained heavy, infantry and Stryker brigades will stay, as well as two combat aviation brigades.
As does NPR:
You could be forgiven if you thought there were no more U.S. combat brigades in Iraq since there was so much news media coverage earlier in the week about the “last combat brigade” exiting the Arab nation.
But as it turns out, there actually are still combat brigades there. They’ve just been renamed.
As journalists at NPR and elsewhere have repeatedly noted, there still are thousands of U.S. combat troops in Iraq.
Not only combat troops, however, but combat brigades. They’ve just gone under something of an Orwellian name change.
The real kicker is that these articles appeared almost two weeks earlier, when the Obama administration first announced the supposed drawdown of combat brigades in Iraq. Apparently, Obama doesn’t read NPR, or Army Times, either. (via Don R)
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