US Hypes Iraq ‘Withdrawal,’ Combat to Continue

"Last" Brigade Leaves, Except for All Those Other Brigades

The US government has decided to hype its “official” end to the Iraq War today, and a number of media outlets are dutifully responding, praising the ostensible end to the Iraq War and showing footage of the “last brigade” leaving from Iraq.

The “last brigade,” of course, except for all of the brigades which make up roughly 50,000 US combat troops, that didn’t leave. Those troops’ jobs won’t change, combat will continue, but they were redefined as “transition troops” for the sake of being able to claim that the president withdrew “all combat forces.”

Praising the “end of the war,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley praised the “declining violence” in Iraq, while neglecting to mention that violence has actually been increasing for several months, and that July was the deadliest month in the nation in over two years.

The administration that brought us the “government-in-a-box” fiasco in Marjah is now bringing us the “victory-in-a-box” TV spot, with all the pomp and self-congratulatory shamelessness of the LeBron James Free Agent Signing Special. Its a wonder the administration didn’t book a musical guest, perhaps putting some former American Idol winner at the Kuwaiti border waiting for the troops to arrive.

And at the end of a live journey with embedded reporters, the war “ends”and the “last troops” come home. Except that all the fighting is still going on and the bulk of the troops are still there, and not leaving for months or even years.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.