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The US Has Been Bombing Iraq Since 1991 Without Stopping--Until Now

A top general told AlterNet that the U.S. military is preparing to end the longest air war in history.

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Still, after 20 years of sorties by U.S. fighter jets, after eight years of wartime missions by U.S. bombers and attack aircraft since George W. Bush’s invasion, after a year of attempts by President Obama to push the two-decade-long campaign into 2012 and beyond, America’s air war in Iraq is reportedly coming to an end.

As he looked back on the war, Handy asserted “no one should believe the sacrifice [of U.S. troops in Iraq] was in vain” and  touted the “opportunity that the Iraqis now have,” by virtue of living in a democracy. What went unsaid is that Iraqis have only ever lived in a “democracy” in which a foreign military occupied their country. 

By Jan. 1, 2012, if Handy is to be believed, Iraqis will know a new kind of freedom, some for the first times in their lives. While the U.S. now maintains it has the right to conduct an unmanned airstrikes in any country (or at least any country in the global south) and currently does so in nations like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, a palpable shift may indeed still occur in Iraq. On that first morning after the final American withdrawal, Iraqis will wake up and be able to look to skies free of foreign bombs, rockets and machine guns for the first time in 20 years.

Nick Turse is the associate editor of TomDispatch.com and a senior editor at AlterNet. His latest book is The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan (Verso). You can follow him on Twitter @NickTurse, on Tumblr, and on Facebook

 
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