Thursday, September 09, 2010

I Hate The War

Q.[Michael R. Gordon:] Is the Obama administration willing to maintain a limited U.S. military presence in Iraq after the Status of Forces agreement if the new Iraqi government requests such assistance?

A.[US Vice President Joe Biden:] It would depend on what was asked, and it would obviously be considered just like we have similar arrangements with a whole lot of other countries. We do think it is important that they end up in a position of eventually being able to actually generate and execute based on their own intelligence, that they are able to have an air force to protect their airspace and that they have physical capacity to maintain control and use more sophisticated equipment. But the first thing we got to make clear to the Iraqi people, because it goes to motivation, is that we have to make clear we stand ready to meet the absolute letter of the agreement. Our intention now is that we will be out completely. It has been made clear in a thousand ways that if in fact there are residual needs -- nothing like 50,000 troops or 30,000 troops or 20,000 troops staying in Iraq -- if there is a residual need for training and helping them further refine their command and control, I am sure we would entertain that. And we would look to, you know, our military, the Pentagon to give us an assessment, the intelligence community, as to what that capability was and how much of a reach or a lift that would be. The interesting thing to me, Michael, is that every time I have been to Iraq -- every time since the election, not since being sworn in, I think I’ve been here six times -- in talking to [Gen.] Ray [Odierno], Ray keeps making the point that this has just been a progressive evolution that where he has real confidence in their special forces and he has increasing confidence in the capacity of the force. The one caveat … I have ever heard him express about the capability, competence and continued competence and the ability to handle all that a modern military of this size has to handle is that there has been a budget freeze on the top number. They have not been bringing in new troops on an attrition basis…. At some point they are going to have to make a hard decision … whether they want an army of 168,000 or 165,000 people or they only need an army the size of 100,000 people or whatever the number is.

The above is from a transcript the New York Times has posted online tonight, a September 1st interview between Gordon and Biden. They have an article (by Gordon and Anthony Shadid) emphasizing another aspect of the interview.

We're emphasizing the above because of a comment Jason Ditz ( made this week about how these discussions are going on in private. That privacy is, in part, because outside of Jason Ditz, others at, Cindy Sheehan, Phyllis Bennis, Michael R. Gordon and a few others, no one's really talking about it.

As someone who was repeatedly attacked for nearly two years because I told the truth about the SOFA -- it is a contract, it can be renewed, it can be replaced or it can simply phase out -- and I damn well know who didn't tell the truth. That includes the cowards who were silent and the liars who claimed the SOFA means the end of the war. You know the fools, a number of them have counters on their websites claiming X days until the Iraq War ends.

The SOFA does not and never did mean the end of the Iraq War. The SOFA replaced the yearly UN mandate. That's all it did. 2011 could end with both sides deciding they were done with each other. In which case, the contract just runs out. But it can be extended or it can be replaced with a new contract. Why might that happen? Well, as Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) reported today, "a close ally to Prime Minister Nouri Maliki" -- Minster of Defense Abdul Qader Obeidi -- has stated that Iraq will require a US military presence (in "some form") "at least until 2016 to provide training, support and maintenance for the vast quantity of military equipment and weaponry that Iraq is buying from America" and that they will require assistance on "intelligence gather" after 2011 as well as help with their air force "at least until 2020."

That's one way that a decision could be made to extend or replace the SOFA.

Where's The Nation's angry editorial on the subject? No where to be found. But the bulk of them are happy to pimp the lie that the Iraq War is over because Barack said "combat operations" were over. AP refuses to play that game but our 'friend' to the left, The Nation magazine, will play it. That says pretty much everything you need to know. And what it doesn't say can be found in Justin Raimondo's column for today.

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 4416. Tonight it's 4423 -- we've switched to the DoD count and are done with ICCC. You can [PDF format wanring] click here and add the 2 deaths from Tuesday.

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