Sunday, August 09, 2009

And the war drags on . . .

Reese offers a realistic perspective of where we find ourselves now: "Our operations are in support of an Iraqi government that no longer relishes our help while at the same time our operations generate the extremist opposition to us as various groups jockey for power in post-occupation Iraq.
The U.S. military, he says, is now the subject of attacks meant not to drive us out of Iraq but as "messages sent by various groups as part of the political struggle for power in Iraq." In Reese's sober assessment, there's no point in staying in Iraq just to get stuck in the middle of yet another struggle for power. The removal of combat troops could begin immediately and be completed by this time next summer, he suggests. That move might actually improve our standing with the Iraqi government and, perhaps more important, save us "blood and treasure," he writes. Back in 2003, we seemed to have an infinite amount of both, but that has also changed in the intervening six years.
Reese's report has no status as policy and the senior American commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, has rejected it. The counter-argument centers largely on our role in preventing a resumption of the various feuds among the Shi'a, Sunni and Kurds that could erupt in our absence.
But those feuds might still erupt in future years. And in any case, preventing those feuds was not among the goals of the original invasion. Those goals, or at least those stated for public consumption, were removing Saddam Hussein and creating an opportunity for free elections.Done. And done.
As for babysitting the Iraqis for the foreseeable future, that was not a goal. The sooner they are left to their own devices, the better for America.

The above is from the New Jersey Star-Ledger's "Iraq War: Declare victory and leave." It's not a left view for withdrawal, but it's an argument for withdrawal and it's one that Ava and I noted two Sundays ago and pointed out that this is the time when withdrawal for Iraq is truly not a left issue. It has a broad base of support that goes beyond the left and people from the right and center who are embarrassed that they supported the illegal war. If there was a functioning peace movement in this country that would be built upon because this a tremendous moment but it's not even being noted, it's not even being addressed. Col Timothy Reese's memo is reaching beyond the left -- actually the left outlets have largely ignored it.

And they've done that because they're liars. They're vested in Barack, the candidate they lied for in 2007 and lied for in 2008. It was never difficult for Amy Goodman or Matthew Rothschild to ask a Barack supporter how they could trust him when he'd praised the Iraq War (to the New York Times) in 2004 and when he had no record in the US Senate for pushing for withdrawal, when his voting record was one rubber stamp on the illegal war after another. Now with Hillary supporters, they would toss out the 2002 vote and they would question them, "How can you support her? What about the Iraq War?" Barack wasn't in the US Senate in 2002. But, as he stated over and over in 2004, and again in 2006 and even in 2007, he might have voted for the 2002 resolution if he'd been in the Senate. As it is, he gave a speech against invading Iraq in the fall of 2002 and never spoke out again. He did not take part in any of the early 2003 protests against the war before it started, he did not speak out.

But Amy Goodman and Matthew Rotschild would do their interviews (Rothschild for his radio program -- we won't promote it by naming it) where they grilled Hillary supporters. But Barack supporters they didn't bother with. Time and again, Amy did segments where a Hillary supporter was attacked (by Amy) and the Barack supporter just sat there. In 2007, it was usually attack the Hillary and John Edwards supporter on the Iraq War and the Barack supporter just sat there.

They sent the message they wanted to, they skewed the results, they whored themselves out and the people of Iraq continue to die in the illegal war. And the US service members remain on the ground and they continue to be wounded and, yes, killed.

But it's too much for the liars. Liars like Amy Goodman care so damn little about the Iraq War that they bring on Camilo Mejia last week and ask him about being the chair of Veterans For Peace . . . when he's the chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Has been for how long? They don't even do the basic research. They don't care. It's only Iraq, they can wing it on air, right? What does it matter?

They fostered that uncritical response to Barry O and they continue to encourage it. It's why, at Kansas City Star, Raymond Lungren's perfectly rational argument can lead to the responses it receives. Lungren states, "I think it is time, even past time, that we admit we are wrong about Iraq and get out." The insanely idiot "Kee" feels the need to insist, "We are exiting Iraq Raymond, read newspaper once in awhile." No, "Kee," the US isn't exiting. 130,000 US troops on the ground in Iraq right now is not exiting. Violence goes up in January following the (scheduled) elections, Barack's comfortable with keeping that number in Iraq or even increasing it. "Kee" failed to read a newspaper apparently, specifically the New York Times' 2007 report (transcript's better than the report) on candidate Barack's plans for Iraq. Lungren's the one who needs to read? No, he's the one paying attention the news. It's all the fools who can't grasp reality that are missing the point.

Nancy Dickeman writes the New York Times about their article on Reese's memo ("Declare Victory and Depart Iraq, U.S. Adviser Says," by Michael Gordon) and observes, "We are not merely guests overstaying a welcome, but are invaders and occupiers. It is time to act upon the inescapable truth that Iraq -- its people, desert, rivers, cities, farms and oil beneath the sand -- are not ours to cliam or control. It takes our going home to give Iraq back to the Iraqis."

Here's something for the Cult of St. Barack to try grasping, in 2012, if the Iraq War continues. Barry's going to be exposed as a liar. As the illegal war continues right now, for reasons Ava and I outlined two Sundays ago, disgust with it on the right and in the center increase. Thereby giving Republicans an in for the 2010 elections as well as the 2012.

How so?

The Iraq War's not ending. Barack's promise (Feb. in Texas) was troops home in ten months. Guess what? He's got three months left. Is he going to pull 130,000 US troops out in three months. It's possible -- despite what the liars say. Georgia pulled out of all its troops when they felt Russia was attacking them proving just how quickly withdrawal from Iraq can be.

But he promised ten months. And he didn't use his weasal word "combat troops" in the crowd stomping, cheering speech. Come October, he'll have been in office for ten months. Will he keep his campaign promise?

It's highly doubtful. And that's how Repubicans have the opportunity to seize the popular disgust over the Iraq War and use it to their own benefit. It's really easy and even War Hawk Republicans can do it. Their statements would go something like, "Yes, I supported it but Bush had a plan. Barack Obama's just leaving them on the ground defenseless. They're sitting targets! And when I voted to support this war I was not voting to support US involvement in a war that would last longer than our involvement in WWII!"

There are any number of ways the Republicans will be able to become the anti-Iraq War party. And it's the Barack strokers and appeasers who allow it to happen by refusing to hold him accountable and offering excuses and attacks when the obvious is pointed out: Barack promised one thing, got elected and did another.

Unless there's a major change (which would require real pressure), Barack will end this year with more US troops on the ground in Iraq than were there before the 2007 'surge' was finished -- the 'surge' he opposed. Despite promising that he would pull a brigade a month, despite promising that US troops (in his cheer getting speeches, he didn't say "combat troops") would be out in sixteen months which, in February, he shortened to ten months.

The Cult of St. Barack can continue to demonize and attack and distract but reality's going to sink in and, point of fact, beyond the cult -- approximately 20% of voters -- most voters who voted for Barack were doing so knowing they were taking a chance. They weren't devoted, they weren't in love. It's not going to be difficult for any political party to peel those voters away if the Iraq War continues to drag on.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4328 and tonight? 4330.

Turning to some of the weekend's reported violence . . .


Starting with Saturday, Reuters notes a Baghdad roadside bombing which left two people injured and drops back to Friday to note a Hawija grenade attack on Friday which left three people injured. Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two Tikrit houses were bombed. Moving to today, Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing which wounded four people, a Baghdad roadside bombing which wounded "one member of the national police" and a Mosul roadside bombing which claimed the life of 1 Iraqi police officer and wounded three people. Reuters notes a Baquba roadside bombing which left four people injured.


Reuters notes an assault on a Baghdad checkpoint in which 1 police officer was shot dead and drops back to Friday to note 1 police officer shot dead in Kirkuk. Turning to today, Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 taxi drivers shot dead in Baghdad (and their cars stolen) and 2 pesh merga shot dead in Baghdad (guns had silencers).


Reuters notes 1 corpse discovered in Mosul.

Meanwhile Anne Barker and Emma Alberici (Australia's ABC) report that one of their country's security contractors, Darren Hoare, as well as a British one, Paul McGuigan, were shot dead today in the Green Zone while an Iraqi was injured. Adam Ashton and Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy) report that 1 "British security contractor" has been arrested. Washington Post's Ernesto Londono (Finanical Times of London) adds that the man arrested is Danny Fitzsimmons and, "The shooting happened in a compound operated by Research Triangle Institute, which is the headquarters of two US-funded non-profit groups: the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute."

New content at Third:

Truest statement of the week
A note to our readers
Editorial: When you've got nothing to sell, attack...
TV: He puts the cess in cesspool
Idiot of the Week
Hate Speech Radio (Ava and C.I.)
The Proposal as a feminist statement
How to ensure that your party is seen as a joke
Week three
Why the left shouldn't recruit right wingers

I asked Isaiah to take the week off and, at that point, he didn't have an idea for a comic. Then, as I was writing this, he got an idea and it is a funny one. But he should have had the night off (the week, in fact). So he'll go up after this. And Pru notes Jim Brann's "Iraq inquiry aims to let warmongers off the hook" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

In mid-June Gordon Brown announced that there would be a “non-judgmental”, behind-closed-doors inquiry into the Iraq war, conducted by hand-picked insiders.
On Thursday 30 July, responding to widespread criticism, the latest version of the inquiry was announced.
The chairman, Sir John Chilcot, a former top civil servant and staff counsellor for the security and intelligence agencies, said that “as much as poss­ible” of the evidence would now be heard in pub­lic.
He implied that would include Tony Blair’s evid­ence.
Chilcot said the inquiry will begin taking evidence this autumn. Its final report may not come out until 2011.
Chilcot said, “The independence of the members of this inquiry, I think, can’t reasonably be challeng­ed”.
But its members are the same insiders announced by Brown in June. Chilcot said that it would not be “helpful” to discuss questions like whether any of them had opposed the Iraq war.
Chilcot himself was a member of the Butler inquiry, which cleared Blair of dishonestly using intellig­ence in the run-up to the Iraq war.
Other members of the inquiry include historian Sir Law­rence Freedman, who helped Blair develop the doctrine of “liberal interventionism” that he used to justify the war.
Historian Sir Martin Gilbert, who wrote an article in 2004 saying Blair and George Bush could one day be compared to Churchill and Roosevelt, is also a member of the inquiry.
The events covered by the inquiry will go back only to the summer of 2001.
Yet US governments have aimed to overthrow the Iraqi government since 1998.
Chilcot has limited the scope of the inquiry to dealing with “mistakes” and “shortcomings” on the road to war and its aftermath.
The inquiry will have no legal powers. No evid­ence will be taken on oath and no perjury charges can be brought.
The inquiry will not even employ its own barrister to cross-examine witnesses.
But there will still be some private hearings, “to ensure candour and openness from witnesses”.
The cards are stacked in favour of an in­quiry that concludes that “mistakes were made” and they should be “learned from” next time.
It is unlikely that the over one million dead and four and a half million refugees will get much of a look in either.
But there is scope for the anti-war movement to intervene in this cosy process.
The Stop the War Coalition plans to give evidence—and groups and individuals should submit theirs too.
© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.
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