As 3 bomb blasts in Baghdad kill 11, wound 21…

MARINES leave Iraq again – for good this time?

2004 Iraqi soldiers move in as Marines move out, only to have to return in 2006

It is easily lost in the hopefulness of the Marines’ departure from Iraq – hailed in ceremonies as “the final chapter” – that this is not the first time they left in the expectation of never returning. Will it be the last?

The insurgency is diminished, and while Iraq’s episodic political turmoil could upset the timetable

Iraqi tribal figures attend a handover ceremony at Camp Ramadi, Iraq. The Marines formally handed over control of Iraq's western Anbar province to the Iraqi Army

for the withdrawal of tens of thousands of U.S. forces this year, it is hard to imagine a circumstance under which President Barack Obama would respond to crisis in Iraq by sending back the Marines.

“There continues to be a lingering element bent on creating havoc,” said Maj. Gen. Rick Tryon, the Marine commander who handed over responsibility for Anbar at a ceremony Saturday in Ramadi. Marines are well acquainted with havoc. It accompanied them into Iraq and then, for a time, took cover in an illusion of peacefulness. By the time of the Marines’ hurried return in March 2004, havoc was back. The following month was the second deadliest month of the war for the Marines. READ MORE: WASHINGTON POST

RELATED: Military stories