Granted, the departure of the final combat troops from Iraq is symbolic but nevertheless important -- it provides a milepost to indicate that America's military role in that country is coming to an end.
But if you are watching the coverage of what is taking place tonight, I am curious if you, too, are wondering why the decision was made to "move 'em out" in the middle of the night in the Middle East which corresponds to late in the evening on the East Coast of the United States.
I think I have the answer.
Perhaps orchestrating it to take place at this time is recognition that this president doesn't want to call attention to the move? Maybe. Iraq was not his war, and that war remains more controversial than the one taking place in Afghanistan. The last combat troops exiting under the cover of darkness ensures that while there is media attention, it is left to the less-watched cable news networks to cover America's troops live while the more-popular over-the-air networks are providing comedies and dramas.
Or perhaps it's designed to not make obvious what is painfully obvious -- there remains uncertainty in this country whether the money, resources and lives that were devoted to Iraq were worth it? Maybe. There never was and never will be justification for this war for a sizable percentage of people in this country, and one of those Americans is the man who occupies the White House. You might note that the White House has made it clear that President Obama will not deliver an address to the nation tonight or tomorrow about the departure of the combat troops.
Or perhaps it's indicative that our combat troops exit Iraq without knowing if they and their allies have indeed prepared the country for its future? Maybe. Let's recognize that 50,000 U.S. troops remain on Iraqi soil for another couple of weeks and beyond, and their job is to continue to provide the support the Iraqi government needs as it strengthens itself.
I am sure someone is going to read that last paragraph and jump to the conclusion that I am bashing the troops. Spare me. There is no polite way to say this -- there is no guarantee that Iraq has the fundamental civic, social, judicial and political organizations in place to sustain whatever semblance of democracy exists there.
So, perhaps that explains why this Commander-in-Chief is saying nothing while watching his combat troops exit Iraq. Not only are troops still there, but the mission is not over.
Better said, Mission (Is Still Not) Accomplished.
And with the president about to go on vacation with his family for 10 days, it indeed will be awhile before Mr. Obama says anything about the symbolic end of America's involvement in shaping the new Iraq.
Considering all of this, yes, tonight was the perfect time to "move 'em out."