Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Who's still in Iraq?

Currently Barack Obama is campaigning for re-election with the claim that he killed al Qaeda by the Navy Seals killing Osama bin Laden and that he brought the troops home from Iraq.

Both are lies.

The first was always a foolish lie -- as anyone should have known long before the September 11th attack on the US Consulate in Libya.

The second was just as foolish but the press wanted to enable him.

Following the 2008 elections, most US media outlets pulled out of Iraq.  The lie that all US troops came home at the end of 2011 justified the cheapness and lazy nature of the US news industry.

Over 15,000 US troops were not brought home, they were moved over to Kuwait which shares a border with Iraq.   Not only was this known in 2011 -- and addressed in the Senate by Senator Kay Hagle among others -- but June 19th, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released [PDF format warning] "The Gulf Security Architecture: Partnership With The Gulf Co-Operation Council"which doesn't just explain the over 15,000 remain in Kuwait but argues that at least 13,000 should remain there for several years to come.  The November 16th snapshot covered the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing where the issue of the remaining was addressed:

Senator Kay Hagan: We'll, as we continue this drawdown of our military personnel from Iraq, I really remain concerned about their force protection -- the individuals that will be remaining in Iraq. So what are the remaining challenges for our military personnel in Iraq in terms of managing their vulnerabilities, managing their exposures during the drawdown?

General Martin Dempsey: Senator, are you talking about getting from 24,000, the existing force now and having it retrograde through Kuwait?
Senator Kay Hagan: The ones that will remain over there.

General Martin Dempsey: The ones that will remain --

Senator Kay Hagan: Their protection.

General Martin Dempsey: Yes, Senator. Well, they will have -- First and foremost, we've got ten Offices of Security Cooperation in Iraq bases. And their activities will largely be conducted on these bases because their activities are fundamentally oriented on delivering the foreign military sales. So F-16s get delivered, there's a team there to help new equipment training and-and helping Iraq understand how to use them to establish air sovereignty. Or there's a 141 M1 Tanks right now, generally located at a tank gunnery range in Besmaya, east of Baghdad and the team supporting that training stays on Besmaya so this isn't about us moving around the country very much at all. This is about our exposure being limited to 10 enduring, if you will, Offices of Security Cooperation base camps. And doing the job of educating and training and equipping on those ten bases. Host nation is always responsible for the outer parameter. We'll have contracted security on the inner parameter. And these young men and women will always have responsibility for their own self-defense.

In December of last year, Ted Koppel reported on how all US forces would not be leaving Iraq in  a report he filed for Rock Center with Brian Williams (NBC):

MR. KOPPEL: I realize you can't go into it in any detail, but I would assume that there is a healthy CIA mission here. I would assume that JSOC may still be active in this country, the joint special operations. You've got FBI here. You've got DEA here. Can, can you give me sort of a, a menu of, of who all falls under your control?

AMB. JAMES JEFFREY: You're actually doing pretty well, were I authorized to talk about half of this stuff.

And yet the lie is repeated -- by the media -- over and over that all troops left Iraq.  Scott Horsely said on NPR's Weekend Update at the start of last month.  It is a lie.

In a time when supposed fact checks take place constantly, the press has stayed silent while Barack Obama has run a campaign based on two lies -- two outright lies.

Last week,  Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."

You might have thought PoliFact and all the other psuedo fact checkers would get busy.  But of course not.  They're determined to lie to the American people because it's more important to them that they carry Barack across the finish line of the 2012 election.

As  John Glaser ( observes, "Most Americans have been led to believe that all US forces besides those guarding the massive American Embassy in Iraq have been withdrawn since the end of last year. But small units have remained in Baghdad to support elite Iraqi forces that report directly to the increasingly authoritarian Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki."  RTT News reports today, "U.S. military training for Iraqi security forces will continue uninterrupted despite failure of the Congress to approve money for it in a temporary spending bill now funding government operations, the Pentagon has said."  northsunm32 (All Voices) points out, "Pentagon officials had warned legislators that the failure to extend the authorization for the program could force the withdrawal of 220 of 296 personnel it currently had in Iraq working with the Iraqis. Obviously, this did not sway Congress. However, just as obviously, there is no plan to withdraw those personnel."

But don't expect to hear that on the evening news.

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