Well, folks… that’s all she wrote. I’ve departed Baghdad, Iraq for the grassy knolls of the United States. However, it will still be some time before I step off a plane onto U.S. soil.
I had a friend of mine put together this Photoshop job replacing the image of President George W. Bush with mine.
In my last briefing to the commanding general of Task Force 134, we displayed it on the screen. It was quite a hit.
I wouldn’t dare say the mission in Iraq is “accomplished,” but I would say that it is well on its way to the end.
In fact, in the six months I’ve been in Iraq, we’ve accomplished quite a bit. These are just a few of the things we’ve done:
- Withdrawn from the cities in accordance with the Security Agreement. The Iraqis are now responsible for maintaining security of their sovereign land.
- Released more than 5,000 detainees from U.S. detention facilities to their homes.
- Transferred more than 750 detainees to the Government of Iraq with an arrest warrant or detention order.
- Closed Camp Bucca’s theater internment facility, which once held more than 21,000 detainees.
- Transferred the Iraqi Correctional Officer training center to the Iraqi government (actually, this happens on Tuesday).
- We’ve reduced our footprint from 135,000 troops in Iraq to roughly 110,000. That’s 25,000 servicemembers no longer in harm’s way.
- Using diplomacy, we’ve helped the Iraqi government resolve some of its electoral issues, and they are now planning on having elections in early March.
These are just things that I know about in detail. I know we’ve also been shipping equipment out of Iraq back home and to Afghanistan in some cases. We’ve reduced the number of contractors in Iraq.
Moving ahead, the commands in Iraq will consolidate into a single force structure called United States Forces – Iraq, or USF-I. This will further enable the command to streamline its operations into one cohesive unit, which will make things way more efficient.
Just from my point of view, there are way too many public affairs offices in Iraq, and none of them know what the others are doing.
So, I think “Mission Accomplished” may be a bit too early for Iraq, but I think it’s just about right for me. Very light posting on the blog this week as I make my way home through the spottiest internet on Earth.
More to come…
UPDATE: This audio is for Nikki…