Drawing Down In Iraq

Monday, August 2, 2010 - 3:34pm

President Obama says combat operations will end on August 31st.

The U.S. combat role will end in Iraq at the end August, on schedule and as promised.

President Obama made the announcement Monday during an address to the Disabled American Veterans.

50,000 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq until the end of 2011 to train Iraqi soldiers.

President Obama described that as part of the transition.

"But make no mistake, our commitment in Iraq is changing-from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats."

With U.S. forces set to leave, violence is up, in part because Iraqi politicians can't decide who should govern.

July was the deadliest month for Iraqis since 2008 with more than than 500 killed.

Can the divided nation survive the U.S. pullout?

"More likely than not the Iraqis will find some some way to hold things together," predicts Brookings Institution analyst Michael O'Hanlon.

But if they cannot, will we?

NBC Military Analyst General Barry McCaffrey doesn't think so.

"If the thing devolved into open civil war again, it's hard to imagine that we would intervene again," he says.

Afghanistan is more urgent, and that's where President Obama is focused.

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