Closing Bases in Iraq

Kathryn Jean Lopez noted last week the handover of Forward Operating Base Danger in Iraq to Iraqi forces, the 29th such transition so far. Now, first of all, the larger trend ought to be big news. That’s a lot of bases, and even if they don’t lead immediately to a draw-down of U.S. troop strength, they represent tangible evidence of a growing ability to trust the Iraqi forces with security of particular locations. This is what the exit strategy looks like, and should look like: Iraq for the Iraqis.
Of course, FOB Danger has a special significance because of its location: Saddam’s own home town of Tikrit, which has at times been a hotbed of insurgent activity. The base was previously occupied first by the 4th Infantry Division, then the 1st, and then the 42nd Infantry Division of the New York National Guard.
Regular readers of this site will also recognize FOB Danger as the operating base of then-pseudonymous guest blogger “Andy Tollhaus” (who recounted watching the 2004 ALCS there) since identified here and in Dan Shaughnessy’s book “Reversing the Curse.” During the time the base was controlled by the New York National Guard, it was also the site of the murder, in June, of Phillip Esposito and Louis Allen by one of their own men; Esposito was from near my home town in Rockland County.