In Iraq today, diplomats, military officials, and Washington busybodies are involved in a complex game of maneuvering into place American troops meant to remain in Iraq long past the previously 12/31/2011 negotiated deadline for full withdrawal. Iraq will eventually agree, probably in some semi-passive way, such as calling them trainers, or visiting students, or temps. There will be endless argument over numbers -- should it be 3000 soldiers or 10,000? The debate over whether troops should stay on, or how many should stay, begs the real question: What will all those soldiers do in Iraq?
The U.S. has already tipped its hand on the most obvious thing some of them will be doing: Special Forces operations. Vice Admiral William McRaven, who heads up JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command, told a Senate committee that a "small force" of special operations types should remain in Iraq after the end of the year. Some Iraqis, specifically Iraqi special forces who don't want to face the bad guys alone, have asked that the US operators stick around as well.
So what will all those bad boys be doing in Iraq? They would undoubtedly just keep on keeping on with what they are already doing -- hunting down individuals and killing them. The bin Laden raid was a varsity-level operation of this type, but night after night such raids, albeit on a much smaller scale, are taking place in Iraq (as in Afghanistan) to pop bomb makers and local cell leaders. Why do you think we've had no new prisoners found for Gitmo recently? Dead men tell no tales.