Several news stories, both in print and on television, have discussed the “end of the Iraq War.” A ceremony yesterday at Baghdad’s airport marked the conclusion of the war, at which Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta presided.
Of course, the war is not really over. It is not even clear that U.S. involvement is at an end. True, combat troops left last year. And troops engaged in training activities will leave now. But, the Pentagon still has plenty of contractors on the ground to protect the sprawling U.S. embassy and American interests. They contractors do not operate with the immunity our troops had, and the reason our troops are leaving now rather than later is because the U.S. and Iraqi governments failed to reach agreement about extending that immunity.