AT THE IRAQ-KUWAIT BORDER—The final convoy of U.S. troops left Iraq early Sunday, bringing a nearly nine-year military mission to a definitive close.
The column of armored trucks and tractor trailers rolled across the Iraq-Kuwait border in the early morning hours. The vehicles were greeted by the glare of television cameras; a few honked their horns as they passed through a gate about thirty yards past the Kuwaiti border.
The road march was a last stage of a highly orchestrated logistical push to bring out all U.S. troops by a Dec. 31 deadline. Planning for the withdrawal began months in advance, military officials said.
Troops head home as American officials sign over the last U.S. base to the Iraqi military. Video courtesy of Reuters.
U.S. troops departed Iraq under tight security, amid worries that insurgents would stage headline-grabbing attacks. Air Force Col. Claude Tudor of the 368th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Group, which coordinated air cover for the last convoy, said planners made last-minute adjustments “just to make sure that we were keeping the insurgents kind of off their toes.”
As the last convoy worked its way down to the border, an Air Force para-rescue unit was on standby, waiting for the 911 call in case something went wrong. Air Force Lieutenant Col. Carlos Brown described the unit as a “quick- reaction” force that could fly out on short notice on a lifesaving mission.
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Note by the editor: This departure did not look like a ‘victory celebration’, rather like an embarrassed retreat after the defeat. Also misleading is to keep talking of ‘last troops pulled out’. There are still thousands of so-called ‘diplomats’ at the US Embassy in Baghdad plus thousands of Marines ‘protecting’ them, not to speak of the tens of thousands of Private Security ‘contractors’. As a doctor used to say: ‘As long as there is dirt in a wound it will not heal’ – and as long as there are some US troops and some US ‘diplomats’ in the country Iraq cannot heal.