In what should have been reported as major news, the United States suffered zero combat deaths in Iraq in December for the first time since the Liberation of Iraq began in 2003.
Last month reflected a sharp downward trend in combat deaths in Iraq that began after the troop surge in 2006 as both Saddam Hussein's Baathists and al-Qaeda have been vanquished, and as Shi'ite-Sunni violence has dramatically decreased. The war continues, although to a much-lesser degree than before, but for the U.S. and its allies, which have turned the responsibility for security of more and areas of Iraq over to the Iraqis, the war has increasingly become a minor war -- the opposite trend of the more challenging Afghanistan.
It is becoming, therefore, increasingly difficult to understand the domestic political pressure to withdraw all American troops in order to “bring them home,” as if they would be stationed in their own homes, or even that all U.S. troops are stationed in the U.S., and not in Germany, Japan, South Korea, or even at ongoing special missions like Kosovo. It is reasonable to trust the Iraqis, whom the U.S. has been training, to fulfill their responsibility to secure their own country, and to withdraw American troops only out of respect for Iraqi sovereignty, but to withdraw only because of intimidation from militant Muslims is misguided. It is worth noting that 14 Americans were killed by militant Muslims in acts of Jihad on American soil in 2009, one in Arkansas and 13 in Texas.
Today, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, when Magi (the “Wise Men”) from the East, at least one of whom was from ancient Iraq, made a pilgrimage to pay homage to Jesus Christ, the newborn King of the Jews. It should not have been a surprise to many opponents of the Liberation of Iraq that the Iraqi experiment in self-determination has proven to be successful, now that the modern foreign ideas of totalitarian dictatorship, as represented by the socialist Baathists and by al-Qaeda, have been defeated.