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As Troops Leave Iraq, Many Simply Call It 'a Job'

Mood shifts as the US presence shifts
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2010 8:03 AM CDT
As Troops Leave Iraq, Many Simply Call It 'a Job'
U.S. Army soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division race toward the border from Iraq into Kuwait Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010.    (AP Photo/ Maya Alleruzzo)

(Newser) – As combat operations wind down, the American troops who remain in Iraq must come to terms with a new reality: What was once, in some minds at least, a war of liberation, is now a mostly a training and diplomatic mission. “It’s almost not worth the trip,” one soldier tells the New York Times. "It’s more politics now.” The shift is leading many soldiers to reflect on a war that for some had purpose, that for others did not. In a lengthy piece, the Times collects the thoughts of many, who it calls veterans of not one but four wars: the shock and awe invasion, the sectarian conflict, the 2007 surge, Obama's "denouement."

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“A lot of people at home are tired of this,” one soldier tells the Times. “The way I look at it, it’s my job.” Explains another: “Do I think the kids running around here have a better future? To be honest, I don’t really care. In the end of the day, when I look back on it, I haven’t lost a soldier in my squad. That’s what’s important to me.” Another says, simply and matter-of-factly, "I missed the birth of my kid.” (Read more Iraq stories.)

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