Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Iraq War: Mission Accomplished yet again

The best I can say about Obama's Iraq War policy is that he stuck to the withdrawal schedule for "combat" troops that the Cheney-Bush administration had negotiated at the insistence of the Iraqi government. It's better than McCain's 100 Years War there.

Felipe Sahagún writes in El Mundo that the official end of combat operations for the US in Iraq is Un cambio semántico (A semantic change) 31.08.2010. Fifty thousand official troops remain there. And the situation in Iraq is still very unsettled. As Greg Mitchell tweeted on 08/18/2010, "Meanwhile, 6 more Americans killed in Iraq, meaning 19 in 4 days."

We're on the way out. But not fast enough. And the use of secret operations and mercenary contractors, which Obama has continued and is even expanding, makes the nature of this "change" even more problematic.

And praising the great George W. Bush, who violated the Congressional authorization of October 2002 in invading Iraq, took the country to war under fabricated premises, and committed various other war crimes in the process? What is Obama thinking? He should be investigating and prosecuting Bush for the torture crimes especially, not praising him on national TV. (Just a couple of months before the Congressional elections, to boot!) Joan Walsh writes in Obama, Bush, Beck and Hagee Salon 08/31/2010:

I didn't expect Obama to excoriate the neocon chickenhawks who lied us into war, but I wasn't entirely prepared for his praising the president who got us into this mess. But he did ...

Wouldn't it be lovely if Bush repaid Obama's stretching the truth a bit there by speaking out to Republicans who falsely believe Obama is Muslim, that he wasn't born here, or to the 52 % of Bush's party who say our president supports the imposition of Islamic law in this country. (Oh, and the former president might also join some of his colleagues in supporting the right of New York Muslims to build the Park 51 Community Center near Ground Zero). I won't hold my breath; Democratic statesmanship and generosity is almost always a one way street.
It appears that Obama is still operating on the delusion - and it is truly a delusion if this is what he's thinking - that he's going to be able to establish some kind of "post-partisan" harmony on the basis of fully endorsing the national security state and perpetual war while focusing on the entirely phony threat of budget deficits as an excuse to slash Social Security.

This does not look good.

Here is the official text: Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on the End of Combat Operations in Iraq 08/31/2010. Immediately after praising his awful predecessor, he continued with the pretence that our mammoth military establishment is necessary to save us from the mighty superpower "Al Qaeda":

The greatness of our democracy is grounded in our ability to move beyond our differences, and to learn from our experience as we confront the many challenges ahead. [Post-partisanship!] And no challenge is more essential to our security than our fight against al Qaeda.

Americans across the political spectrum supported the use of force against those who attacked us on 9/11. Now, as we approach our 10th year of combat in Afghanistan, there are those who are understandably asking tough questions about our mission there. But we must never lose sight of what's at stake. As we speak, al Qaeda continues to plot against us, and its leadership remains anchored in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We will disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda, while preventing Afghanistan from again serving as a base for terrorists. And because of our drawdown in Iraq, we are now able to apply the resources necessary to go on offense. In fact, over the last 19 months, nearly a dozen al Qaeda leaders -- and hundreds of al Qaeda's extremist allies -- have been killed or captured around the world.
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