It's past time to reduce the number of wars we're in, rhetorically speaking.
Ever since President Barack Obama inserted the United States into the Libyan War, it's become commonplace to say the United States is now engaged in three wars. See, e.g., Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, an Air Force Reserves veteran who declared Thursday:
"Does the Commander in Chief intend to command a military with no money? Doesn't he know we are engaged in three wars?"
Similarly, on Thursday, Rep. Tom Latham, R-Okla., declared that "our brave men and women in the field are engaged in three different wars."
We get the point with regard to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, but is it really true? Or, is it now time to declare the Iraq War over? Indeed, is it both intellectually lazy and overly sentimental to still speak of the Iraq War, as a way to pay homage to those who are still serving?
Yes, there are still about 47,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. But, so what? There are about 28,000 U.S. troops in South Korea, and no one refers to that as a war.
Sixteen U.S. troops have died in Iraq since Jan. 1, according to the invaluable Iraq Coalition Casualty Count site. Of these, seven died from non-hostile causes. This no longer seems to reach war-like levels. It seems more akin to policing a dangerous city. Washington, D.C., for instance, has reported 26 homicides since Jan. 1.
The Iraqi government is not hostile to the United States. The country is not in a civil war. The United States succeeded in replacing the head of state. Must Iraq nonetheless continue to be counted as a war until the last American soldier is removed from the country?