A US soldier was killed in northern Iraq on Thursday, the first American service member to die in an attack since the Obama administration announced a withdrawal plan to be competed by December.
“A US service member was killed Thursday while conducting operations in northern Iraq,” the military said in a statement, although no further details were released.
The death comes just after Major General Thomas Spoehr, deputy commanding general for the US force in Iraq, explained the rapid pace of US withdrawal from Iraq. “As I look at the plan, I think it’s clear to me that by the time we get to about mid-December or so, the vast majority of the US forces in Iraq — we plan to have them withdrawn from Iraq by that time,” he said.
This brings the number of US soldiers who have been killed in Iraq since the 2003 invasion to 4,478. In what will hopefully be the war’s final casualty, that this latest death came after the announcement for withdrawal makes it seem even more senseless than the 4,477 that came before.
It should also be a signal that Iraqis don’t necessarily view this “withdrawal” as a complete departure. The popular Shiite cleric Moqtadr al-Sadr warned that the resistance will continue so long as there is a US presence there. “The American occupation will stay in Iraq under different names,” Sadr said, referring to the massive number of private contractors the US State Department is hiring for its “private army,” a force in excess of 10,000.
“If they stay in Iraq, through a military or non-military presence, we will consider them an occupation and we will resist them whatever the price will be,” warned Sadr.
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