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Air Force Will Stay In Iraq As Combat Forces Leave Country

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U.S. Army soldiers from the 2-82 Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, carry their bags to waiting trucks as they prepare to board buses later in the evening to fly home to Fort Hood, Texas after being one of the last American combat units to exit from Iraq on December 15, 2011 at Camp Virginia, near Kuwait City, Kuwait.(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

U.S. Army soldiers from the 2-82 Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, carry their bags to waiting trucks as they prepare to board buses later in the evening to fly home to Fort Hood, Texas after being one of the last American combat units to exit from Iraq on December 15, 2011 at Camp Virginia, near Kuwait City, Kuwait.(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – The last U.S. troops to cross into Kuwait said it was “overwhelming” and “magical” to leave Iraq.

Ron Stockton, a University of Michigan – Dearborn professor, said many forget about the original war plan — to smoothly invade Iraq, and then fight Iran and Syria.  He said that war plan would have ended in utter chaos:

“The price of oil would now be catastrophically high, the Iranians would have mined the Strait of Hormuz which is where all the oil exits to go to the world,” said Stockton. “American fatalities, which are now 4,800 – would be many, many times that. Our budget would be in collapse, (and) our role in the world would be seriously damaged.”

Rather than that — the troop withdrawal forced the U.S. to slow down and re-evaluate the situation. The Air Force and key advisors remain on point in Iraq.

“A war should hopefully produce a good outcome, that is, it should maximize the probability of peace – this war doesn’t seem to be doing that – we are leaving behind an Iraq which is semi-stable but seems to be politically unstable, there’s no clear coherent government and there are serious problems in the future I suspect,” said Stockton.

“We are going to have our Air Force there … and I think the Iraqi’s are rather pleased that we are going to have our Air Force there cuz what they don’t want is the Israeli’s, for example, flying across their air space to attack Iran – and entangling them in that,” said Stockton.

Stockton says it may be overstating to say we are pulling out of Iraq – we are just removing the combat forces.

- More from CBS News here

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