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Will the U.S. Declare the End of the Iraq War?

Posted May. 01, 2003 22:15,   


War in Iraq still has a number of assignments left such as identifying the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein, finding and getting rid of the still missing weapons of mass destruction.

Is it appropriate for President Bush, who announced Thursday that major battles are over, to declare the end of the war?

The U.S. has many times unclearly ended wars and this time, it will come about after identifying how many days it has left before the elections in Iraq and the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein, the Associated Press reported.

In the case of the American Civil War, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee signed an agreement to surrender his troops to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House on April 8, 1865 but the last battle ended on May 26, 1865.

The Korean War never ended officially even though the fighting has stopped.

The Gulf war never formally ended, either. President George H.W. Bush announced Feb. 27, 1991, that “allied forces had liberated Kuwait and would suspend military operations against Iraq.” Battles ceased as Iraq agreed to a cease-fire on allied terms.

There was no official end to the war in the 2001 Afghanistan War. Instead the U.S. set up a transitional government in Kabul and American flags were hoisted on Afghani soil on December 22 the same year. U.S. forces are, however, still fighting against the Taliban government and various Al Qaeda soldiers scattered about.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has characterized the Afghanistan operation as in a "stabilization security mode" with some combat seen along the border with Pakistan.

The war in Iraq is similar to these cases. The situation is different to World War I or World War II which ended with a signed peace treaty.”

One of the main reasons there hasn’t been any formal end to the war is that Saddam Hussein is still missing.

Also it is related to President Bush’s statement made just after September 11 that defined the nature of the war with terrorism, where he said: "I`m guessing that there won`t be anything that formal because it will be months and months and probably years before the mess is straightened out."

Gregory Urwin, a military historian at Temple University, said the United States will wait to declare the end of war until the election date comes closer and the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein is identified, the Associated Press reported.

Ki-Tae Kwon kkt@donga.com