Monday, June 23, 2014

Relief Over U.S. Exit From Iraq Fades as Reality Overtakes Hope

By PETER BAKER, NYT
JUNE 22, 2014

WASHINGTON — Standing in Al Faw palace in Baghdad, surrounded by an artificial lake and the ragged remnants of eight years of war, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. felt a surge of emotion on that day in December 2011.

He had gone to Iraq to note the end of an era, the departure of American troops from a country that had cost his own so much. Ebullient, he praised the troops, congratulated the generals, wished Iraqi leaders good luck and called President Obama to share his excitement.

“All I’ve said about this job, I take it back,” Mr. Biden later recalled telling Mr. Obama. “Thank you for giving me the chance to end this goddamn war.”

“Joe,” he remembered the president responding, “I’m glad you got to do it.”

For two men who had run for office on the promise of getting out of Iraq, it seemed like a moment of validation. But that moment has proved achingly ephemeral. It was not the end of the war or even the end of their involvement.

(More here.)

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