By Kevin Zeese
In the week since the much
publicized withdrawal of "combat" troops from Iraq it has
become more evident that the Iraq War continues under a new name:
"Operation New Dawn."
The first off-message comments came from the Department of Defense. Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said shortly after the "end" of the war, "I don't think anybody has declared the end of the war as far as I know. Counter-terrorism will still be part of their mission." He said the more than 50,000 remaining troops will be well armed and that among their responsibilities will be counter-terrorism which will mean taking on Islamist militants in combat situations. The former head of the Central Command who had been in charge of military operations in Iraq echoed the Pentagon sentiments when Petraeus told CBS News, "We're not leaving" Iraq and that the troops remaining behind will have "an enormous capability."
To make matters worse, General Ray Odierno said it was possible that U.S. combat troops would return to Iraq if the security situation worsened. Odierno also said that he was certain the U.S. would consider staying in Iraq after 2011 if invited. There is more talk of the U.S. staying beyond the 2011 deadline for withdrawal of all troops. Iraq's top military officer said last week that American forces may be needed for another decade, something to which Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says the U.S. is open.
Army Times reported that combat brigades remain in Iraq but their name has been changed to "Advise and Assist Brigade, the Army's designation for brigades selected to conduct security force assistance." There are seven Advise and Assist Brigades in Iraq, as well as two additional National Guard infantry brigades "for security" and two combat aviation brigades also remain in Iraq. Combat Brigades are the source for the Advise and Assist Brigades "to retain their inherent capability to conduct offensive and defensive operations, according to the Army's security force assistance field manual, which came out in May 2009."