CNN on ambivalence of US withdrawal from Iraqi cities

CNN’s Michael Ware weighs in from Baghdad on the feeling there as U.S. troops begin pulling out of the country’s cities according to an agreement reached with the government in Baghdad. “It’s a really mixed bag,” he says at one point. Ware’s face and voice and reaching descriptions actually describe the ambivalence he’s reporting really well.

“This day means jubilation, celebration. It means relief. … No matter the intentions, it has been a foreign occupation. ‘This is Iraq for Iraqis,’ I keep hearing, ” he said. “But there’s still a war going on here. They know the risks of this day… he said, as car bombs have exploded in the last hours.

What has been accomplished? CNN asks their man on the ground.

“Boy, that’s a tough one,” he says.

Look, under no circumstances should anyone take away from the honor of the sacrifice of the 4,324 American servicemen and service personnel who have laid down their lives here on the Iraqi soil…. Today is a day that America should pause as a nation and have a moment silence to consider that sacrifice that was given, because it’s a really odd bag about what’s been achieved.

OK, you removed the regime of Saddam Hussein but he wasn’t poising a threat to the United States or really to the region. No, there was no WMD. Al Qaida and Saddam never liked each other, even if they chatted occasionally. Even America chats to its enemies. There is a democracy of sorts here. It’s not the shining beacon that the planners of this war intended it to be for the region. In fact, surrounding countries are going: ‘What? You want us to have that?’ So it hasn’t doe that. You’ve increased Iranian power and influence within the region. this government here in Iraq is more closely aligned with Tehran than it is with Washington. It’s a mixed bag. It’s not an easy question to answer.

The New York Times reports that many Iraqis stayed away from the celebrations in the streets for fear of violence and that a car bomb killed at least 24 people in an outdoor market in the northern city of Kirkuk.

Hat tip again to FDL’s Jane Hamsher.

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