Vice President Biden made an unannounced trip to Baghdad on Tuesday to meet with Iraqi leaders and American troops as the deadline for a draw down of U.S. forces by the end of 2011 approaches.
Biden plans to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani, along with other political leaders, during his two-day visit. The vice president also plans to give remarks at a joint event commemorating American and Iraqi troops.
Biden is hoping to negotiate with Iraqi officials over a continued American presence in the country after the 14,000 remaining troops are withdrawn at the end of the year. Additionally, the White House said Biden will seek diplomatic agreements on trade, energy and political organization while meeting with the Iraqi leaders.
This is pretty ambiguous. “American presence” can be as simple as the diplomatic throng that will remain in Iraq, backed by a private military army. But a couple weeks ago, Gen. Martin Dempsey let slip that military trainers would remain at ten bases in Iraq beyond the December deadline. The top-line statement has always been that all troops will leave, and with the US down to 14,000 troops left, that is nearing reality. But there’s this residual force lurking in the back of everyone’s mind. Nobody will come out and say it, at least until Dempsey did. But in violation of the status of forces agreement, some trainers will stay behind. And now the Vice President enters the country to ensure that will happen.
I’m not that exercised by a few hundred trainers, it’s more the casual violation of law and the wanton prevarications from official sources that grate on me. We cannot quit with the military buildup in practically every country on Earth, even when the people of that country plainly don’t want us there.