Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Hate The War

And finally: presidential hubris. The withdrawal of U.S. combat forces in Iraq at the end of this month, and Obama's recent virtual unfurling of a "Mission Accomplished" banner, comes as reports show an Iraqi government woefully unprepared to take over, a country lacking rudimentary infrastructure, a potential resurgence of al-Qaeda in Iraq, and an Iraqi military chief who, on Thursday, suggested that U.S. forces might need to stay in the country for not another year (as is planned), but another decade. And, oh yes, the State Department is $400 million short on the funding it needs to even make the draw-down possible. While we'll have a good year to wait and see what actually happens in Baghdad, the White House sure seems like it's setting itself up for a fall.

The above is from Alex Wanger's "Has the White House Gone Tone Deaf?" (Politics Daily) and I don't agree with all of her conclusions -- either in the excerpt or the full column -- but it's a strongly written column and it's a look at how some people are interpreting the events going on. The State Dept, for example, is short for several reasons -- including that they don't need it and we don't need to pressure on Congress to fork over that money to militarize diplomacy.

Immediately after the election we were noting how Barack, by not ending the Iraq War right away and by beefing up the Afghanistan War, was playing the same game Bush did. Meaning "He took his eye off Afghanistan!" will transform to cries of "He took his eyes off Iraq!" There is no "win" in either war and both are costing the United States far too many lives, far too many dollars and far too much in the way we are seen by other countries. Barack is not the antidote to Bush. He is instead the mirror image.

After four years of Barack and eight of Bush, America will most likely begin to say, "I'm not against all leaders, just dumb leaders." But then, would a 'smart' leader want to run an empire?

If the "He took his eyes off Iraq!" game starts (and Republicans in Congress appear to think it could be a winning strategy come 2012), you can drop back to Alex Wagner's column. In many ways, it appears that would be the next point in a follow up column by her.

We'll restate our own position because we have people reading now who only know we are and were opposed to the Iraq War. The Iraq War is an illegal war based on lies. No good can come from that. There's a reason your parents tell you not to lie and warn you about all that can happen if you do. Having been stupid enough to start an illegal war, the US government doesn't need to continue the stupidity by pretending they can now fix a country they've destroyed. They are the guest that got drunk and smashed a window and broke a coffee table. They can't fix it, they just need to leave. Those worried about a vacuum need to face up to the facts. A) A vacuum will have to exist at some point unless you intend to keep US forces in Iraq forever. B) Iraqis will probably see an increase in violence. The US propped a bunch of exiles into leadership. They were not the choices of the Iraqi people. It is doubtful they will want to be ruled by those exiles. As citizens in and of Iraq, it's their duty and their right to object. And if that means engaging in violence, well the US used violence to end the British occupation, that's what the Revolutionary War was. All people around the world have the right to self-determination. Self-determination cannot be imposed upon a people, that's not how it works. By staying, the US has made it worse. The illegal war should never have started but had the US left in May of 2003, the Iraqis could have sorted out their own lives and their own hopes and dreams. Instead, they were under US rule (Bremer) and then the US decided to install the exiles. Each month, each year, the US government has done more and more damage. And it has repeatedly expected US soldiers to act as traffic cops and security guards in a climate where no one is safe. The very presence of the US military has kept the people down and the puppet government up.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last week, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4415. Tonight it's 4414. (That's one death on Sunday and ICCC walking back two deaths reported by Reuters -- Reuters has issued no correction to that report.)

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