"U.S. combat mission in Iraq ends" -- oh really? I mean, sure, I'm glad it's "officially" ending; who wouldn't be? But our entanglement with the political strife and the associated violence in Iraq is far from at an end. To start with, we're leaving 50,000 "non-combat" troops -- and that right there is a contradiction in terms. No one stations 50,000 troops in a hostile country and expects them to be, or remain, "non-combat". And yes, they will be armed, but only for "defense". Right. And how about all those "civilian contractors" -- which means mostly mercenaries? They have more combat experience than the troops do. So, what, are they just going to sit around playing Parcheesi? Plus, any troop that is armed (for any reason) is going to remain a target -- and once the bullets start flying, they'll be magically transformed into combat troops in about a millisecond.
So no, we're not out of there, and it's not over. The most that can be said is that a larger portion of those who remain are either well-paid mercenaries or true believers, as opposed to the run-of-the-mill hapless volunteer. But will the flow of resources be significantly reduced? Highly doubtful. After all, those mercenaries earn many times what the troops do... and don't forget about all the "overhead" and "profit" that their firms charge the government. So this will turn into a designer war, if you will -- slightly leaner, slightly more efficient, and more expensive. And it will also turn into much more of a clandestine war, since if we do engage in combat much of it will be "off the books", and you can bet there won't be any "embedded" press around to take pictures.
My definition -- in case you're wondering -- of what being "out" of Iraq would entail is as follows: No American personnel of any sort (military, contract, diplomatic, "support", "trainers", you name it) in the country. And that means "none". No exceptions! And no American taxpayers' money being spent over there or anywhere else in support of any mission in that area. In other words, as far as we're concerned, the place does not exist. Yeah, I know, dream on. We even have relations with places we don't have relations with -- like Cuba and North Korea. We're hooked on globalism to the severe detriment of our economy, our freedoms, and our domestic tranquility. No reason to think this situation is going to get anything but worse in the foreseeable future.