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President Obama: ‘America’s War in Iraq Will Be Over’ by Year-End

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Posted on Oct 21, 2011
AP via YouTube

“Today I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays,” President Obama declared Friday, helpfully noting that this withdrawal plan makes good on one of his campaign promises. No doubt what he said strikes fear in the hearts of Republican presidential hopefuls and their supporting casts. Yes, this was a good week in Obama PR.

This announcement may be spun to play like a victory, but the reality of what the war in Iraq was about at its beginning and the state the country will be in when American troops leave aren’t changed by Obama’s rhetoric. The president himself made vague noises about the less triumphant aspects of the Iraqi situation during his speech, gesturing at the future of U.S.-Iraqi relations by hinting that “the United States will continue to have an interest in an Iraq that is stable, secure and self-reliant.” We’ll have to wait until 2012 to start seeing what that looks like.  —KA

AP via YouTube:

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By Myshkin, October 24, 2011 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

I believe the facts are that the Iraqi government has demanded that the US leave, DESPITE the Obama administration’s vigorous efforts to negotiate a scheme by which US troops stay.

From Glenn Greenwald’s column (10/21) at Salon.com:

First, the troop withdrawal is required by an agreement which George W. Bush negotiated and entered into with Iraq and which was ratified by the Iraqi Parliament prior to Obama’s inauguration. Let’s listen to the White House itself today: “’This deal was cut by the Bush administration, the agreement was always that at end of the year we would leave. . . .’ an administration official said.” As I said, it’s a good thing that this agreement is being adhered to, and one can reasonably argue that Obama’s campaign advocacy for the war’s end influenced the making of that agreement, but the Year End 2011 withdrawal date was agreed to by the Bush administration and codified by them in a binding agreement.

Second, the Obama administration has been working for months to persuade, pressure and cajole Iraq to allow U.S. troops to remain in that country beyond the deadline. The reason they’re being withdrawn isn’t because Obama insisted on this, but because he tried — but failed — to get out of this obligation. Again, listen to the White House itself:

  The Status of Forces Agreement between the United States and Iraq expires at the end of the year. Officials had been discussing the possibility of maintaining several thousand U.S. troops to train Iraqi security forces, and the Iraqis wanted troops to stay but would not give them immunity, a key demand of the administration. . . .

  “The Iraqis wanted additional troops to stay,” an administration official said. “We said here are the conditions, including immunities. But the Iraqis because of a variety of reasons wanted the troops and didn’t want to give immunity.”

The Obama administration — as it’s telling you itself — was willing to keep troops in Iraq after the 2011 deadline (indeed, they weren’t just willing, but eager). The only reason they aren’t is because the Iraqi Government refused to agree that U.S. soldiers would be immunized if they commit serious crimes, such as gunning down Iraqis without cause . As we know, the U.S. is not and must never be subject to the rule of law when operating on foreign soil (and its government and owners must never be subject to the rule of law in any context). So Obama was willing (even desirous) to keep troops there, but the Iraqis refused to meet his demands (more on that fact from Foreign Policy‘s Josh Rogin).

Third, there will still be a very substantial presence in that country, including what McClatchy called a “small army” under the control of the State Department. They will remain indefinitely, and that includes a large number of private contractors.

None of this is to say that this is bad news (it isn’t: it’s good news), nor is it to say that Obama deserves criticism for adhering to the withdrawal plan (he doesn’t). It would just be nice if these central facts — painfully at odds with the two self-serving narratives that started being churned out before the President even spoke — were acknowledged.

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By Oceanna, October 24, 2011 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

Obama’s taking credit for SOFA illustrates his capacity for lying, along with a
desperation for re-election. 

As inconsistent as Obama may have been in the past, he’s showing greater
consistency.  At least in his pattern of warfare and extra-judicial assassinations
that devastate their host countries.

Like Libya, Syria is receiving repeated sanctions and calls for Assad to step
down.  The preludes are remarkably similar. It looks like we have another
dictator to kill and geopolitical conquest to seize, sooner than later.

Of course, whatever transpires, there will be few boots to the ground in either
Uganda or Syria.  After all, preserving American lives is tantamount and
assured.  Well, at least for those implementing and carrying out the death and
destruction.

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By Blueokie, October 23, 2011 at 11:42 pm Link to this comment

Typical of Pres. Wall Street Puppet,  Bush made the deal in ‘08 and ‘no hope and
little change’ has been desperately negotiating with the Iraqi government right up
to the deadline to let our war profiteers stay.  Unfortunately the Iraqis chose to go
with the rule of law, no immunity for war criminals, so you might as well leave.  On
the bright side Pres. Wall Street Puppet can claim the fulfillment of a campaign
promise (even though he worked as hard to stay there as he did to kill the public
option).  He still has the CIA, JSOC, and the ever expanding private secret armies
and intelligence that is answerable to no one.  Drones for everyone!!!!

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By Fred Wilder, October 23, 2011 at 6:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Barack the superkiller of unarmed humans and administrator of cheap wars can take his extraconstitutional powers and shove them where the sun don’t shine.  In 2008 he had my time, my money, my energy and my vote.  In 2012 he’s got my scorn for his hypocrisy and his use of terror on behalf of plutocracy.  One thing he won’t have is my vote, even with my nose clipped, and I don’t give a damn if a rethuglican turd takes office, they are only slight less hypocritical than Barack, and they will hasten the downfall of the keptocracy with their blatant reckless behavior.

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By amunaor, October 23, 2011 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

What the hell do you mean by ‘America’s War in Iraq’? America was never at ‘war’ with Iraq. It was an invasion of opportunity, created by Wall Street gamblers and the Administration. Let’s stop with this War BS!

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By gerard, October 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

“United States will continue to have an interest in an Iraq that is stable, secure and self-reliant.”

After making it unstable, insecure and not self-reliant?  “Have an interest in ...”?  Maybe that ain’t good?  Judging from most other countries we
“have an interest in” one might well ask questions.

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By balkas, October 23, 2011 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

just another fable by o’bombbama or o’bamamir.
expect more wars, torture, exploitation, warfare for poverty [never
against it], ‘war on drugs’ [in a drugged-to-gills-society], jailings for
some—palaces for others, pollution, waste, anger by the ruling class
against ‘lazy, want s’mthing-for-nothing people’, greater unity of god
and priests and, thus, the state and religions, etcetc. tnx

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By tovangar2, October 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm Link to this comment

I know @tolstoy, Hillary’s private State Dept army. The CIA has an army, Obama’s
got an army, everybody has an army anymore. All unregulated & mostly secret.
Troops all over the place in their ever-so-chic uniforms. One cannot tell which is
which anymore w/o a scorecard.

Time to draw a line under the whole sorry mess. Time for consensus democracy,
public servants instead of “leaders” & decent lives. I’m sick of the criminal class &
this blood-soaked death spiral the US is on.

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By tovangar2, October 22, 2011 at 11:50 pm Link to this comment

How about America’s war ON America, when’s that gonna be over??

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By tolstoy, October 22, 2011 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

With 5,000 plus paramilitary blackhawk style military left in Iraq to guard the embassy (at 17000 members) etc. we really haven’t quite left Iraq to the extent the Sadrists would like it. Muqtada Al Sadr (with a couple of million enthusiastic followers, many armed) has called any remnant of American military a continuing “occupation.” Again deceptive language and chickens before they’re hatched style self-congratulation.

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By Aarky, October 22, 2011 at 9:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Emile Z: You are so right on. The US military and State sweet talked, whined, and arm twisted to stay in Iraq, but the Iraqis insisted on that provision. They knew that too many of their citizens had been killed in various stupid and deliberate ways by our troops and mercenaries. The Iraqis saw through the ploy of offering jet fighters and man toys at bargain sale or free prices, just to keep a large contingent of troops there as trainers. Read, “How Your Tax Dollars Financed “Reconstruction” Madness in Iraq” and realize that State has the largest Embassy in the world in Baghdad and the waste and corruption will continue until about 15,500 bureaucrats are forced to leave the country along with their 5,000 mercenaries. Our concern is that the Generals will park all those 50,000 troops in Kuwait, itching for an excuse to re-invade.

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By storkfmny, October 22, 2011 at 3:34 am Link to this comment

This deal was cut back in ‘07-08 by the Bushwhacker himself, that all troops would be out by the end of 2011. What a freakin cheap shot Obama taking credit for saving the world.
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By lauraj56, October 22, 2011 at 1:09 am Link to this comment

I just hope they’re not bringing them home to deal with Occupy.  I wonder what they are being told about the 99%?

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By Pamela, October 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I beg to differ about making good on his campaign promise. He promised he would pull the troops within six months of taking office. HE DID NOT MAKE GOOD ON HIS PROMISE! If his lips are moving then he is lying!

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By larrypsy, October 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

We’ll now have enough troops to head to Uganda, Syria, Pakistan, wherever Hellary leads us.

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By EmileZ, October 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

Hmmm…

I wonder if Obama would have made good on his promise if Iraq hadn’t wisely refused to sign a new status of forces agreement providing immunity to all U.S. soldiers.

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By skimohawk, October 21, 2011 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

Well, gee… ain’t that wonderful news?

The truth is:
On October 14, 2011, Barack Obama announced the deployment of US military “advisers” to central Africa.

The truth is:
U.S. military spending is at its highest level since WWII.

The truth is:
U.S. military overseas troop deployments are at their highest levels since Vietnam:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Overseas_Troops.gif
(it’s just a picture- you don’t have to read any diatribes or wait for a video to load.)

Barack Obama is no more than a mouthpiece for big banks and the military-industrial machine.
Just another empty suit.

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