Leaving Iraq

Flickr/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/3082972774/">US Army</a>.

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If you don’t follow the Boston Globe‘s Big Picture blog, you should. The blog compiles the best wire photos on given subjects into powerful, evocative photo essays, with big, high-quality images. Every month, you can see the latest scenes from the Afghanistan war, for example.

Last week, the Big Picture published a series of recent photos from Iraq—the foreground fight that has moved to the background of the media’s consciousness. Many of the images are striking, but I was particularly drawn to a relatively peaceful shot (by Getty’s Ahmad al-Rubaye) of acres and acres of military vehicles, sitting idle in Baghdad’s Camp Victory. As the photo’s caption notes, all of those vehicles have to be either “taken home, sent to Afghanistan, or destroyed, two months ahead of a deadline that will serve as a precursor for a complete US military pullout from Iraq.”

In 2007, Mother Jones devoted an issue to how, exactly, the US could get out of Iraq. The whole package is here; but of particular interest is this graphic on what it takes to get a tank unit home from Iraq and this summary of what sorts of stuff we’re going to leave behind when we go. Even when combat troops “leave,” there will still be a sizeable American contingent left behind—the beginning of what could end up being a permanent presence

So while today’s news focuses on Wikileaks’ Afghanistan documents, please remember that there’s still a lot we have to work out with the other war we’re fighting, too—even if John McCain says the war’s “already won.”

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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