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Ending the military phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom?

Ted Koppel (remember him?) is with NBC News now, after a long career with ABC and appeared on the panel during the second half of Meet the Press yesterday to promote a piece that will air tonight on “Rock Center,” the new newsmagazine program.

Koppel is just back from Baghdad to investigate what the U.S. will leave behind when the last “combat troops” pull out this mohth. The discussion starts with a clip of Koppel interviewing the U.S. ambassador, seeking confirmation of what his reporting suggested would be left behind. The ambassador makes a pretty funny statement by way of saying “I confirm what you learned but I’m not allowed to say so.”

MR. KOPPEL:  I realize you can’t go into it in any detail, but I would assume that there is a healthy CIA mission here.  I would assume that JSOC may still be active in this country, the joint special operations.  You’ve got FBI here. You’ve got DEA here.  Can, can you give me sort of a, a menu of, of who all falls under your control?

AMB.  JAMES JEFFREY:  You’re actually doing pretty well, were I authorized to talk about half of this stuff.

(End of clip, now Koppel discusses it with Meet the Press moderator David Gregory. Scariest bit is right at the end:

MR. GREGORY:  Revealing.  The full interview tomorrow night, as your piece is tomorrow night on “Rock Center.” Your point there, Ted, is that we’ve got a big footprint and a lot could still happen in Iraq.

MR. KOPPEL:  The point is Ron Paul was almost right last night.  You remember, and it was one of the overlooked points in the debate, he spoke of the 17,000, he spoke about civilian contractors who are still in Iraq.  We do have 17,000 people still in Iraq.  They’re not all civilian contractors, but a great many of them are.  You’ve got a consulate in Basra, a consulate in Erbil.  The one in Basra is just less than 20 miles from the Iranian border; 1,320 Americans down there.  They are rocketed two or three times a week. They are about as vulnerable as any Americans have been since 1979 at the embassy in Tehran.  And if they were to be frontally attacked, and I’m suggesting that that’s not unlikely at all, you’re going to see the U.S. military come back in.  Because, while the ambassador said, “No, no, no, we’re going to rely on the Iraqis to do the job,” there is no way that the U.S. military will wait for the Iraqis to save those Americans, and they’re going to need saving.

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 12/12/2011 - 06:44 am.

    It is highly unlikely that anyone for whom the issue is of any consequence will believe for a minute the US will totally leave Iraq. When has the US ever left anywhere? It’s a bit like when someone asks how you are today and you tell them, Just fine, knowing full well the last thing they want to hear is the truth.

    There is more coherence in the way things grow than the way they decline.

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/12/2011 - 10:25 am.

    As long as there’s oil in the Middle East we’ll be there. The Saudi’s want our protection but not our troops, so we need a place for a base.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 12/12/2011 - 11:33 am.

    Perpetual war and doublespeak from the administration, though the Obama administration is hardly the first, nor will it be the last, to rely on it.

    Where is George Orwell when we really need him?

  4. Submitted by Jim Camery on 12/12/2011 - 01:01 pm.

    Remember Rumsfield and Wolfowitz saying this war was going to pay for itself? Where would our economy be right now if the chicken hawk chest thumpers would have been adequately questioned? About a trillion a year when we wrap all the incidentals in, times how many years, …

    And recent experience in Tunisia and Libya shows how brutal dictators have their own shelf life anyway.

  5. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 12/12/2011 - 01:09 pm.

    The military may “leave” Iraq, but someone should tell Mr. Koppel that the responsibility for security now moves to the State Department.

    State will hire about 5,000 mercenaries to protect our ridiculous embassy in Baghdad, our diplomats and staff there and at other locations, and travelers (members of Congress, tourists, visitors) from the U.S.

    Its budget will be $6 billion per year for as long as needed. Twenty years? Forever?

  6. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/12/2011 - 04:17 pm.

    “Remember Rumsfield and Wolfowitz saying this war was going to pay for itself?”

    It would have too if it had been a real war and not simply an invasion followed by an inept occupation. By all rights, that’s our oil.

    When the Left said prior to the invasion that it was all about oil, I was optimistic. Turns out they were wrong about that too.

  7. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/13/2011 - 05:12 pm.

    Dennis–
    By what logic does an invasion and occupation of Iraq (your words) give us a right to their property (you also seem to be big on property rights)?

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