Iraq: Change you can believe in.

A new year sparks new hopes. That is exactly what has happened in Iraq with the US military turning over security of the Green Zone to Iraqi security forces. Hopefully, the first significant sign of Iraqi autonomy.

With the SOFA pact, made between Iraq and the United States, being fully enacted on Thrusday. Iraqi forces have now taken full control of checkpoints around the Green Zone, as well as its internal security.

Saddam Hussein's Republican palace was among the facilities handed over to the Iraqi people and their government. Maj. Gen. David Perkins, a U.S. military spokesman, noted the significance,"The palace was handed back to the Iraqi people, significant as symbol of the head of the government and a sign for increased sovereignty,"

More important than the symbolic gestures is the reality of involvement by the Iraqi government and role of the US military. The role of US armed forces is severely limited, requiring the Iragi government approval for military operations.

However a more contentious point is the Iraqi government's ability to prosecute American military members for "grave premeditated felonies."

Although, Iraq has been a costly experience in expenditure of treasure and more importantly, blood. While watching Iraq become a sovereign nation, self-governing and potentially self-reliant, it takes away some of the sting that people have felt. Our moral obligation to finish what we started is coming to fruition and in 2011, when our folks come home, we can truly say, "Mission Accomplished." I wonder if Obama will have his shirt off for that press conference?

Related Articles:

U.S. deaths in Iraq down 66 percent from last year

As Clock Strikes 12, U.S. Hands Iraq Control of Green Zone

Photo credit to CNN.



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