From the "Yes, but…" file.
Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.Well done, Mr. President, yes, but not particularly well said. Any timetable for withdrawal is an improvement, but the combat mission will end when no American troops are in harm's way in Iraq. We may be withdrawing combat arms brigades first, but will we deny the "training," "support" and "security" forces left behind hazardous duty pay? I can't imagine doing so. Will we still be awarding Purple Hearts and other combat decorations when circumstances call for them? I assume we will.
Will the trainers send their trainees into the field unaided and unsupervised, or join them in the field? When convoys and installations are attacked, will our troops take cover and call the local authorities, or will they act in self defense? Save some medical personnel and military chaplains, every man and woman in uniform is a combatant, regardless of their MOS.
As long as we have combatants occupying Iraq, we have a combat mission. To pretend otherwise demeans the service of those who remain.