US war in Iraq is far from over

Gordon Robison; 21/10/09

During a recent talk I got an ironic laugh out of the audience by asking “remember Iraq? You may not have been aware of this, but the US still has around 125,000 troops there.” One can spend a day — sometimes a week — watching American television news and find few, if any, reminders that the Iraq war is far from over. Americans have often been accused of having short attention spans but this seems particularly unsettling. A useful corrective was offered last week by Ryan Crocker, who retired from the US foreign service earlier this year after a 37-year career that was capped by his stint as ambassador in Baghdad at the time of the surge. Speaking at the Harvard Kennedy School on Friday he told a large crowd not to kid themselves that America’s adventure in Iraq is all but over. “It’s still just getting under way,” he said. “Huge challenges that neither we nor they can identify, will emerge in the future.”