Immediately following President Obama’s declaration that the U.S. combat mission in Iraq has “ended,” the Associated Press circulated an internal memo stating, “Combat in Iraq is not over.”
“To begin with, combat in Iraq is not over,” writes AP standards editor Tom Kent in an internal memo obtained by the George Soros-funded Media Matters, “and we should not uncritically repeat suggestions that it is, even if they come from senior officials.”
Continued Kent: “The situation on the ground in Iraq is no different today than it has been for some months. Iraqi security forces are still fighting Sunni and al-Qaida insurgents. Many Iraqis remain very concerned for their country’s future despite a dramatic improvement in security, the economy and living conditions in many areas.”
The memo notes Obama’s national address last week in which the president stated, “The American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country.”
Kent takes issue with Obama’s declaration.
“However, 50,000 American troops remain in country,” he writes. “Our own reporting on the ground confirms that some of these troops, especially some 4,500 special operations forces, continue to be directly engaged in military operations. These troops are accompanying Iraqi soldiers into battle with militant groups and may well fire and be fired on.”
The AP reported that two days after Obama’s speech on ending combat in Iraq, U.S. soldiers were sealing off a northern village as the Iraqi army raided houses and arrested dozens of suspected insurgents.
“Iraq still faces a hostile enemy who is determined to hinder progress,” Gen. Lloyd Austin, the newly installed commander of the U.S. troops still in Iraq, told AP.