American Morning

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December 21st, 2010
08:21 AM ET

NFL greats tailgate, play ball with troops in Iraq

College football post-season and bowl game season is well underway. Over the next month you will see some of the best college teams match up across the country. Bowl games are usually highly publicized, commercialized and televised events. There is one unofficial bowl game, though, that you probably have never heard of.

That's because this game, the "Connect to Home" Bowl, is being played at an undisclosed location in Iraq with NFL and college football greats of the past and American troops currently stationed there.

This morning on American Morning, AM's Kiran Chetry talks to Hall of Fame quarterback with the Buffalo Bills Jim Kelly and former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, who are helping lead the event. Kelly and Peete will play quarterback on opposing teams. Catch the sneak peak practice video here. And, be sure to watch highlights of the game during halftime at the 2011 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 1, and at

Filed under: American Morning • Iraq • Military • Sports
September 3rd, 2010
10:32 AM ET

50,000 reasons Iraq is not over

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="BAGHDAD – SEPTEMBER 1: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L), U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (C) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen (R) stand during the U.S. national anthem during U.S. Forces-Iraq change of command ceremony September 1, 2010 in Baghdad, Iraq. "]

By David I. Levy, Production

The President announced the end of combat operations in Iraq on Tuesday. On Wednesday, The Vice President ceremonially handed the mission over to the Iraqis.

So, are we done in Iraq? No, and the administration never really said we were. We are transitioning to a new mission in Iraq, more politically and diplomatically focused.

But it's just so tempting to focus on the "end of the combat operations" part. The fact that is 50,000 troops are going to remain in Iraq. That is a huge commitment.

The number 50,000 stuck in my head when I heard it, and after some googling, I remembered why.  50,000 is almost the same number of soldiers and civilians I served with when I was in the Air Force stationed in Germany.  The Kaiserslautern Military Community, or KMC, is about 53,000 people and is the largest military community outside the United States. 

That means we're keeping a force in Iraq that's almost as large as our largest overseas military community.  Or, let's compare that to another country, Korea.  The official website of the U.S. 8th Army in Korea states that "U.S. troop level in Korea presently stands at 28,500 in the force."

So while 50,000 troops reflects a steep drawdown from active combat operations, it's still a huge number among our installations overseas.  The President didn't mention how many civilians there will be.

But that's only until 2011, right?  Well, maybe.  The Iraqis can ask us to stay and there's good reason to think they might.  Sectarian violence remains a big problem and Iraq's parliament still hasn't formed a coalition government.  Iraqis also have some issues to work out with their neighbors, Iran and Turkey.  We're friendly with Turkey, but Iran has been a thorn in our side, to say the least.

So while Operation Iraqi Freedom may be over, let's remember this is only a transition, not the end.

Filed under: Iraq
September 1st, 2010
01:04 PM ET

Change of command in Iraq

Filed under: Iraq
August 19th, 2010
11:47 AM ET

Iraq: Milestone not mission accomplished

Now that the last U.S. combat brigade has left Iraq only 50,000 support troops will be left in the country by the end of this month. What does this mean for our role in Iraq, moving forward? Retired Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, former assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs spoke with American Morning Thursday.Watch Video

Filed under: Iraq
March 8th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

Obama says responsible withdrawal of troops continues

(CNN) – President Obama says the responsible withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq will continue. That commitment came yesterday after the polls in Iraq closed.

Despite a wave of violence, Iraqis turned out for the second national election since 2003. So what does this all mean for the future of Iraq?

We were joined on Monday's American Moring by Gen. Ray Odierno, commanding general of the multi-national force in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill.

Read more: U.S. envoy: Iraqis deserve credit for vote

Filed under: Iraq • World
December 17th, 2009
10:00 AM ET

WSJ: Militants used $26 software to hack U.S. drones

There's a new report out today that says militants were able to hack one of the most effective weapons in finding and killing al Qaeda members. Insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan were reportedly able to intercept live video feeds from U.S. unmanned drones, allowing them to see on the ground what the drones were seeing in the air.

On Thursday's American Morning we spoke with the reporter who broke this story, Wall Street Journal Intelligence Correspondent Siobhan Gorman.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Iraq • Military
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