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It’s Obama’s War Now

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Posted on Mar 2, 2009
Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Michael J. Ayotte

President Obama talks to service members and civilians during a visit to Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he elaborated on his exit strategy from Iraq.

By Chris Hedges

This is the text of a talk by Chris Hedges that will be read at anti-war gatherings to be held by The World Can’t Wait in New York’s Union Square, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Nashville, Louisville, Chicago and Berkeley on March 19 to protest the sixth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.

Barack Obama has shown that he is as capable of doublespeak as any other politician when he announced an end to the war in Iraq. Combat troops are to be pulled out of Iraq by August 2010, he said, but some 50,000 occupation troops will remain behind. Someone should let the Iraqis know the distinction. I doubt any soldier or Marine in Iraq will notice much difference in 19 months. Many combat units will simply be relabeled as noncombat units. And what about our small army of well-paid contractors and mercenaries? Will Dyncorp, Bechtel, Blackwater (which recently changed its name to Xe), all of whom have made fortunes off the war, pack up and go home? What about the three large super-bases, dozens of smaller military outposts and our imperial city, the Green Zone? Will American corporations give up their lucrative control of Iraqi oil?

The occupation of Iraq will not be disrupted. Lies and deception, which launched the war in the first place, are being employed by Democrats to maintain it. This is not a withdrawal. It is occupation lite. And as long as American troops are on Iraqi soil the war will grind on, the death toll on each side will continue to mount and we will remain a lightning rod for hatred and rage in the Middle East. Add to this Obama’s decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan and even his most purblind supporters will have to admit the new president is as intent on maintaining American empire as the old.

The occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan has not promoted U.S. security or stability in the Middle East. These occupations have furthered the spread of failed states, increased authoritarianism and unleashed savage violence. They have opened up voids of lawlessness, including in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where our real enemies can operate and plot against us. These occupations have scuttled the art of diplomacy and mocked the rule of law. We have become an outlaw state intent on creating more outlaw states. The occupations have, finally, empowered Iran, as well as Russia and China, which gleefully watch our self-immolation. And, in the end, we cannot win these wars. We will withdraw all our troops in an orderly manner or see these occupations collapse in an orgy of bloodshed. 

Iraq, because of our invasion and occupation, no longer exists as a unified country. The experiment that was Iraq, the cobbling together of disparate and antagonistic patches of the Ottoman Empire by the victorious powers in the wake of World War I, will never come back. The Kurds have set up a de facto state in the north. The Shiites control most of the south. The center of the country is a battleground. There are at least 2 million Iraqis who have fled their homes and are internally displaced. Another 2 million have left the country, most to Syria and Jordan, which now has the largest number of refugees per capita of any country on Earth. And perhaps as many as 1.2 million Iraqis are dead because of what we have done.

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The eight-year war in Afghanistan has seen the Taliban re-emerge from the ashes. An additional 30,000 troops will do little to prop up the detested and corrupt regime of Hamid Karzai. Our attempt to buy off Afghan tribal groups with money and even weapons has collapsed, with most slipping back into the arms of the Taliban insurgents. The U.N. estimates that the Taliban is now raking in $300 million a year from the expanded poppy trade to fund the resistance. The Taliban controlled about 75 percent of Afghan territory when we invaded eight years ago. It has recaptured about half of the country since its initial defeat, and its reach has expanded to the outskirts of major cities such as Kabul and Kandahar. Twenty-nine American troops died in Afghanistan the first two months of 2009, a threefold increase compared with the eight who died during the same period last year. And more Afghan civilians are dying in allied operations than at the hands of the Taliban, according to a count by the Associated Press. In the first two months of the year, American, NATO or Afghan forces have killed 100 civilians, while militants have killed 60.

Do the cheerleaders for an expanded war in Afghanistan know any history? Have they studied what happened to the Soviets, who lost 15,000 Red Army soldiers between 1979 and 1988, or even the British in the 19th century? Do they remember why we went into Afghanistan? It was, we were told, to hunt down Osama bin Laden, who is now apparently in Pakistan. Has anyone asked what our end goal is in Afghanistan? Is it nation-building? Have we declared war on the Taliban? Or is this simply the forever war on terror?


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Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, March 7, 2009 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

re PatrickHenry, March 6 at 8:38 am #

Hogwash Tony?  Better research your facts a little better.

http://www.ihr.org/leaflets/iraqwar.shtml
  x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

PH,

As I said, this view that U.S. imperialists do things for the benefit of Israel, as you, Hargis and this article maintain, only goes to show how naive you are. That’s what they want you think, and you are obliging them very nicely, and promoting the very line they want you to promote. They SAY they are concerned about our plucky ally Israel, but that is just to pull the wool over your eyes. OF COURSE the Iraq war did not benefit the United States, if what you mean is the American people. No, it ripped us off of trillions of dollars and gave them to defense contractors and oil companies, exactly as planned. It benefitted, not Israel, but the military industrial complex, defense contractors and oil companies. The EXCUSE, or JUSTIFICATION, or PRETEXT is that Israel, forsooth, has to be defended. I will grant you, of course, that Israel itself is a military-industrial complex that is part of the U.S. complex. As such, it benefitted also. The military-industrial complex is an international gang. It’s members have no nationalist sentiments. As I said, All they want is money and power - and their next fix.

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By Sepharad, March 6, 2009 at 8:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

cyrena, probably didn’t make it clear but I WAS talking about Bush War I re Shiia uprising. Anyway, thanks for the reference to “In the Belly of the Green Bird.” Sounds both interesting and useful. I’m not familiar with every facet of Saddam’s doings with the Shiia, though they were kept out of not just the government but didn’t have the same access to economic and often educational advancement as did the Sunnis. He also burned out the “marsh” Arabs, who included both Sunni and Shiia. But you’re right re the fact that there was not much antipathy between Iraqi Sunnis and Iraqi Shiias themselves, and they often lived together in the same neighborhoods, sometimes intermarrying. This last is unusual in Arab countries, and my theory (no facts to back it up so it is not even opinion) is that it occurred in Iraq because Saddam’s government, as totalitarian and excessively brutal as it was, WAS secular and not having one religious sect or the other rammed down everyone’s throats made it possible for people to be less conscious of the differences between themselves therefore behave more humanely toward one another. The reverse is true of the Iraqi Arabs and the Kurds, because Saddam drove them from their homes in Kirkuk and Mosul and repopulated the area with Arabs, with no compensation whatsoever. As Kurds were also citizens of Iraq and Moslem (with a large portion also secular), this was not a nationalist or even a religious-based enterprise and went beyond discrimination to a form of ethnic economic persecution. Altogether, Saddam seemed to be ruling on a tribal basis, as a warlord almost, however secular he might be. But there are many such situations in the world; we (meaning Westerners) historically only have taken umbrage and tried to change regimes when there is empire or oil at stake.

Still, in the greater Arab world, the Shiia and the Sunni are very opposed to one another and the Sunni countries truly are worried about Shiia dominance—no other reason for the Saudi’s otherwise inexplicable behavior of late. There are many layers and many puzzles, but in all things Near and Mid Eastern, we Westerners—even scholars who have made it their life’s work to study that region—are well and truly out of our depth, though no one but the scholars ever admit it.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 6, 2009 at 4:38 am Link to this comment

By Tony Wicher, March 6 at 6:09 am #

Hogwash Tony?  Better research your facts a little better.

http://www.ihr.org/leaflets/iraqwar.shtml

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By cyrena, March 6, 2009 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

Yes Sheparad,
Our time lines seem to jive pretty well, though you mention when we encouraged the Shi’ite to rise up against Saddam, and then failed to back them when they did, that sounds more familiar the Bush I war on that same Nation State. We were there…our troops were there, and we essentially stood by while Saddam put the whole uprising down via the standard means that such dictators use.

But in fact, if we really wanted to be honest about it, Saddam didn’t even hassle the average Shia, unless they were a threat (real or perceived) to his authoritarian power. (same reason he kept the religious element at bay, it’s pretty much standard character for those historical figures like Saddam Hussein).

You mention this:

•  “As soon as we invaded Iraq in ‘03, however, the sectarian killings that have taken such a horrific toll were inevitable—just as Gen. Shinseki told Bush/Cheney they would be, to no effect except getting himself fired.”


I would only add what I’ve mentioned before; A team of scholars and experts on the Middle East, (every possible gain of sand) also met several times with the neocons PRIOR to the attack and subsequent invasion, and it was clear that they paid no attention, and basically just blew them off. At least Shinseki’s skills, talents, and good judgment will not go to waste, seeing as President Obama as taken him into his Cabinet.

But there should NEVER have been an expectation that the Cheney regime was going to listen to anybody, or any of that kind of information. THEY ALREADY KNEW IT, and it was part of the overall plan to occupy Iraq, (and permanently) and long before the Cheney regime pulled off the judicial coup in 2000, that gave them the power to carry out these plans.

That’s one of the most important things for our mostly dumbed-down and brainwashed electorate to understand. We need to accept that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was planned long ago, by this former thug regime, and accept the reality of that. Because without that, we fall into these discussions that we’re having now, wanting to make this about the civil conflict between Sunni and Shia, when in fact that conflict was not existent before in Iraqi society any more than there is a conflict between Methodists and Episcopalians here.


The civil violence didn’t begin immediately after that…it actually took several months, and none of it would have been as severe, had the US not been so stupid as to completely disband Saddam’s former Army, and the entire Baathist Part!! That was incredibly stupid, but not if you consider that they intended to be the occupying force forever…

Read Nir Rosen’s “In the Belly of the Green Bird”. You can also search more of his work on line. He gives an accurate account of what was going on in terms of the civilian attitudes from both the Sunni and the Shia.

These past 7 years haven’t happened exactly the way they’ve been fed to us by the former Ministry of Propaganda, and that includes your rhetoric about the Sunnia and Shia as mortal enemies. Again I will say to you, that was NOT the case in Iraq prior to the invasion and occupation by the US.

Sunni and Shia in Iraqi society were not ‘mortal’ enemies, seeing as how they married each other, and you can’t LOOK at an Iraqi and know whether they are Sunni or Shia anymore than you can look at me and tell I’m a self-exiled former catholic turned agnostic. Only the surnames distinguish, and even then, not always.

So this isn’t about any age old conflict between Sunni and Shia specifically, and the propaganda has been damaging. We know the Shia are terrified of the Wahhabits, (who happen to be Sunni) but so are most Sunnis!!

Nope, the civil violence there has the same root as the civil violence here…it always happens when a country comes under attack by an external or internal force.

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Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, March 6, 2009 at 2:09 am Link to this comment

By Ed Harges, March 5 at 2:54 pm #


Vance, dear, please pay attention and read this real slow-like: this article is about the US war against Iraq which began in 2003; that war WAS undertaken primarily for Israel’s benefit and made politically unstoppable by the Israel lobby, and therefore this article IS about Israel and it IS about Zionism.

  =x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x

Hargis, this is hogwash. The real bad guys just have you believing this is about Israel. They no more give a shit about Israel than they give about the United States, or anything else except money and power and their next fix.

Don’t fall for the Israel con. It’s a NeoCON trick!

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

vancemack

Ever hear of PNAC and the Israeli Americans running that show?

Of course not, your just another apoligist for that whiney little crimminal nation.

Remember, remember the 11th of September.

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, March 5, 2009 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

re: By vancemack, March 5 at 4:20 pm:

Vance, we can all see your point - but maybe if you combed your hair just right, it wouldn’t be as noticeable.

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By Sepharad, March 5, 2009 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gulam—re your post about central asia wars, your prediction about the effects on the U.S. seem quite well-founded. We need to stay out of such wars because we probably can’t win there even if our government is persuaded that access to their oilfields are in the interest of national security. I write this not because I think it WOULD be in our national interests but because I can almost hear the arguments being worked out in advance, because we know even less about central asia than we do about the near east, and we would never be able to extricate ourselves once in. I hope Obama remembers that he said he didn’t oppose all wars just “dumb” ones. And so far there are no potential wars other than “dumb” wars in sight. The last times we intervened out of an authentic sense of righteousness was under Clinton—in Serbia/Bosnia to prevent a massacre, and in Somalia to prevent mass starvation after warlords kept capturing food supplies and distributing them only to their supporters while the general population starved. The UN’s Pakistani peacekeeping soldiers tried to intervene and 27 of them were slaughtered by the Islamist warlords. Then the US Rangers and Delta were sent, and were closing in on a temporary resolution when a Blackhawk was shot down, Americans recoiled at the sight of an American soldier being dragged through the streets on international tv and Clinton pulled everyone out. Obama’s adviser Samantha Powers, might find places where either preventing or alleviating genocides seems doable. I wonder if he has any advisers who remember the Monroe doctrine.

Tikkun olam—a worthy ideal—is not as simple as it sounds, ever. At this point, anyway, the U.S. is barely capable of helping itself.

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By Sepharad, March 5, 2009 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gulam, you’re right that many of the Russian Jews in Israel are 1)more susceptible to the rightwing and also 2)mostly secular but that’s because they come from a country that is way left of left and experienced its tyranny, and 2)for such a long time it was a capital offense for Jews to worship openly or teach Judaism to children that their religious side hasn’t been exactly historically developed. (Having not had the religious training, it’s a little surprising to me that the Russians would not want to take in as much as possible then decided what they did or did not believe.) The Ulpan also had, in ‘48, a terrible time acculturating Yemeni Jews because the country they had been driven from was more Arabic than Jewish in tradition, cuisine, etc. A journalism school classmate who was moving to Israel with her fiance went through the Ulpan in ‘68 (mainly to get up to speed with her Hebrew) said there were STILL Yemeni Jews going back for acculteration advice because they just couldn’t get used to the different ways of living. It’s true that the Ashkenaz Jews who migrated to Israel after the founding of the state tend to be more sympathetic toward Arabs than the Jews who came from Arab countries. The latter also feel looked down on by the Ashkenaz, so tend to keep to their own groups and communities. In his essay collection “In the Land of Israel,” Peace Now founder and author Amos Oz visits with a group of Jews with roots in Arab countries at Bet Shemesh and they very frankly tell him what they think the Ashkenaz are doing wrong with all their fancy social and outreach programs, and peace and economic offensives. I can understand why the Ulpan teacher was saddened, because if people do not understand the Jewish culture and tradition, they aren’t going to very interested in making peace with the Arabs and finding ways to live side by side. Jews from Arab countries often have a much greater distrust of Arabs that may take a generation or two to overcome. Ariel Sharon’s mother—a doctor from Russia—slept with an axe under her pillow and young Ariel sat up all night with a rife from age 7 on guarding their fragile planted fields. He was an atheist and father of the settlement idea, but when confronted with demographics tried the unilateral removal of settlers from Gaza because he was pragmatic. And pragmatism is the only thing that will bring a second state and peace. On this if no other point, Oz and Sharon would concur.

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By vancemack, March 5, 2009 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

Bertil…which ‘people’ are you referring to? The ‘people’ supported Bill Clinton when he took us to war against Serbia (damn Zionist excursion!!! Damn Israel). The ‘people’ supported Clinton the numerous times he attacked Iraq. The ‘people’ who vow no war never are indeed very very few. Most of the ‘people’ only care about who is in office at the time we engage.

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By vancemack, March 5, 2009 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

Ed dear…you prove my point every time you write something.

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By Bertil, March 5, 2009 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

After hearing Jeremy Scahill’s reporting on DemocracyNow! yesterday about the 50,000 troops that will remain in Iraq, it seems ironic that George W.‘s (the Decider) passing of the scepter to Barack Obama (the Hoper)leaves the US with Dictatorship Breaking Out All Over.
Scahill identified the limp reaction to Obama’s policy by the Democrats as a sign of a Cult of Personality, our Leader right or wrong.
That was the precondition that Benito and Adolph established before their rise to power.
The Right is for the evangelists and corporation and the petty bourgoisie.  The left is for the right and the bankers and corporations.  Who’s for the people?  Kucinich? McKinney? Nader?

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By Sepharad, March 5, 2009 at 11:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cyrena, Agree with just about all you said. There have been encouraging signs that like the Iraqi Sunnis the Iraqi Shiias don’t want much truck with Iran (the lengthy Iraq-Iran war doubtless left still-painful wounds). It’s not yet clear how much influence on Iraq Iran wishes it had (probably never will be, at least not to us) as they did inject their Revolutionary Guards into the conflct at several points, and have given aid and shelter to Moqtada Sadr). Saddam was a Baathist and was running a pretty secular country although he also identified himself during ceremonies and holidays with other Islamic warriors—something that seems to me anyway inconsequential, sort of like our politicians identifying themselves with MLKing or Washington or Lincoln or Paul Bunyan for that matter on appropriate holidays—and, more importantly, a country with more genuine education (mainly for the Sunnis) than many Arab countries allow their young people. The Kurds and Shiia were held down politically, educationally and economically: the Sunnis, especially Saddam’s tribe, were allowed to heavily discriminate against and displace Shiias and Kurds, more or less how the Tsutsis behaved to the Hutus before the Hutus launched their genocidal efforts in Rwanda. But you’re right,  Iraqis under Saddam weren’t killing each other en masse until after Desert Storm, when we told the Kurds and Shiia that we weren’t going in all the way but that if they wanted to rise up against Saddam we’d back them. They did, and we didn’t. As soon as we invaded Iraq in ‘03, however, the sectarian killings that have taken such a horrific toll were inevitable—just as Gen. Shinseki told Bush/Cheney they would be, to no effect except getting himself fired. And as some of us protesting the war before it began feared, it became a jihadi magnet—partly because the Quaeda-inspired Sunni jihadis saw the chance to not only strike at their mortal enemies the Shiia but also at the invaders—a twofer that made everything worse and greatly ratcheted up the death toll for both Iraqis and Americans.

Absolutely agree that we have to get out of Iraq but in a way to minimize the damage, and am counting on Obama’s intelligence to do that.

RE other Arab Sunni countries and their fear of a more powerful Shiia element, it doesn’t and shouldn’t make any difference to Americans, as it’s their affair, but is certainly understandable. It’s been easier for Syria to deal with Iran because the Syrian Assad rulers, first the father and now the son, belong to a Sunni sect that is unacceptable to other Sunnis—hence the elder Assad’s massacre of 10-20,000 Syrian citizens who practiced standard Sunni religion—and makes them uneasy about their fellow Sunni countries anyway, so how much worse could a Shiia power be (from, that is, the Syrian ruler’s point of view)? None of the ins and outs of the Moslem world should make a “difference” to Americans, but as long as we are blundering around after oil it would be helpful if we understood how they feel about such things. I do admit a partiality for the Kurds, and wish they had their Kurdistan instead of being perpetually uneasy spread through Iraq, Turkey and Iran as they are. (This sort of thing is what makes me sometimes seem “stuck” in the Ottman period: I just wish lines approximating the Ottoman provinces, more reflective of longtime ethnic and religious populations, had been more adhered to when Britain and France divvied the region up.)

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, March 5, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

re: By vancemack, March 5 at 10:18 am #

Vance writes:

“This article wasnt about Israel or Zionism….”

Vance, dear, please pay attention and read this real slow-like: this article is about the US war against Iraq which began in 2003; that war WAS undertaken primarily for Israel’s benefit and made politically unstoppable by the Israel lobby, and therefore this article IS about Israel and it IS about Zionism.

Furthermore, Israel still wants a war against Iran, and so Israel DOES want the US to keep Iraq permanently under its thumb and prevented from ever again becoming a rival or inconvenience to Israel, and that HAS to be a big reason for the US’s plan to keep some 50,000 occupation troops in Iraq.

This article is about policies that are in place for Israel’s benefit and because of Israel’s gargantuan political clout in this country; therefore Israel and Zionism are centrally relevant to any discussion of the article.

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By vancemack, March 5, 2009 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

Truedigger3…does that help you sleep at night?

You are full of crap. You, like Ed, are a bigot. Period.

You SO go out of your way to disprove that you prove the point. This article wasnt about Israel or Zionism. This article was about the new presidents adoption of war policies. The question posed that triggered this was “since everyone wants to end “the war” in Iraq WHO is the enemy we are fighting and WHO is that people think we should surrender to…since of course every war has two sides…and without skipping a beat, Ed jumped in and said Its the Israelis!!! the Israelis are the enemy!!! Not terrorism…not insurgents…not fighting a war for oil…

You are peas from the same bigoted scared frightened little pod.

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By truedigger3, March 5, 2009 at 5:51 am Link to this comment

vancemack,

There is a difference between being a Jew and being
a Zionist.
There are jews who are not zionists and there are
Christians who ARE zionists.
So, when someone condemns Israel, its war-mongering policies , its inhumane and cruel policies toward the Palestinians then he is not codemning all the
jews. He is only condemning zionists and zionism.
People like you,  see an antisemitism coming from under your bed, hiding in shadows, lurking in your closets.

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By cyrena, March 5, 2009 at 3:54 am Link to this comment

By jackpine savage, March 4 at 9:50 am

“I’ve no idea what Obama wants, but the New American Caesar (Petraeus) and his pet-ox Odeirmo plan on being there forever.  Hell, the uber-successful surge looks almost designed to keep us there forever.  After arming the country to the teeth, what choice to we have but to stay and keep everyone from using all the guns we gave them.

It’s a colony now, and that was the point all along.  Just replace “White Man’s Burden” with every rationalization you hear coming from DC and across the river and it will all be perfectly clear.”

~*~*
Well said, Jackpine,

As usual, you provide us with the full dose (reality) even if we’d sort of been temporarily distracted from these details, like all of the weapons we’ve supplied them with over the years. And of course they are only weapons that are useful for the purposes of them killing EACH OTHER. None of the stuff can be used to defend themselves as a sovereign nation state from ANY other hostile force.
And yes of course, since colonization was the plan all along, (the academic elite now reference this as ‘neo-colonialism’) there was NEVER a plan to leave Iraq.

And, I don’t know what Obama wants either, so I have to take him at face value in his claim to want to be entirely out of Iraq by the end of 2011, if only because we know that HE at least, wasn’t in on the original plan to invade/occupy/colonize Iraq. How that works out with The New American Caesar and his sidekick remains to be seen I suppose.

Still, you’ve provided us with the stark reminder of how tricky it will be to accomplish such a maneuver, considering that the place is ripe for civil conflict, (which is still going on, just not as much) and we’ve given them all of those weapons.

Meantime, even now (and from reading the comments here) I don’t think the average American has a clue to the amount of destruction the former regime created in the Middle East. I really don’t. I just know that absolutely every action they took in terms of these aggressive wars of the Bush Doctrine, was already predicted to result in exactly the conditions that exist there now…the resulting civil conflict and strife were a GIVEN..even created. So all of this was well known in advance of the action, but of course the terrorists of the former regime did it anyway.

I don’t honestly know how Obama and his team are going to extract us from this, but I know it’s gotta be damn carefully. Like defusing a bomb on a timer with fragile looking wires and connections that might cause it to blow any minute. THAT’S how tricky it’s gonna be.

But, I still think that’s his goal, if only because he’s been consistent on it. The dimwits think he should wave a magic wand, and have everything remotely connected to the USA removed within a week.) But, just as we’ve known all along, what would happen in Iraq up to this point, we also have a real good idea of what would happen if we left in the same sloppy way that we were chased out of Vietnam, and the genocidal aftermath of it. IF there is a way to avoid that standard historical trajectory, it can only be the right thing to at least try it, even at this point in the most COLOSSAL HUMAN disaster (at the hands of other humans) since the Native American Holocaust and the African Slave Trade that thrived for so very long.

I swear I don’t know how he’s going to reverse damage on this, because that’s not possible. All we can do is get out, but cold turkey would be disaster – something akin to rescuing victims of earthquakes. One wrong move could bring the whole thing crashing down, wiping out entire sections of those who may have survived the initial movement.

It’s bad

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 4, 2009 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment

Sometimes the citizens have to take matters into their own hands and vote with their wallets.

h t t p : / / w w w . b d s m o v e m e n t . n e t

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By vancemack, March 4, 2009 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

No Ed…the reason is because people like you are so rolled up in your hatred and bigotry that any conversation that ever begins is slanted by idiots like you that see little Jews coming from under your bed, hiding in shadows, lurking in your closets. The article and discussion was about Obama’s war management…and you just couldn’t help yourself…its the Israelis!!! The Israelis!!! Its the damn Israelis!!! The cause us to fight the war on terror, to engage now in Afghanistan, the blew up the twin towers, they made McDonalds change their fry grease…they caused the northeastern snowstorms…they killed Kennedy…they caused you to fail…its the JEWS Ed…its the JEWS!!!

ya freqin’ moron.

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, March 4, 2009 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

Re: By vancemack, March 4 at 3:51 am:

Vancemack, the reason that this site — for people like you —  is “so useless to come to” (as you put it) is that the people here whom you hope to persuade are too knowledgeable and intelligent to take your fatuous arguments seriously.

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By vancemack, March 4, 2009 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

Marshall…i suspect those that voted for Obama arent shocked, surprised, or even upset that Obama is not a ‘peace’ president. Liberals ALWAYS support war…when it is a liberal that declares war.

OK…OK…there may be a FEW exceptions…the peace always crowd…but the vast majority of liberals will soon find themselves supporting and justifying Obama’s war in Afghanistan as being necessary and just and right and good. Just like they supported Clinton’s declaration of war against Serbia.

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By Marshall, March 4, 2009 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

By Tony Wicher, March 4 at 6:13 am #

“Precisely…. And your point is?”

Simply that Hedges is right that Obama’s war stance is little changed from Bush’s.  Although i support this stance, those who voted for obama as the anti-war candidate are confronting the realization that he’s not.

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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, March 4, 2009 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

They are playing games in Darfur, trying to arrest the President!!

What next?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090304/ap_on_re_mi_ea/eu_international_court_darfur

excerpt:
“This decision comes within the context of the foreign powers that seek to undermine the stability of Sudan, it is one of the tools of the new colonization”

but also, look here:
“The three-judge panel said there was insufficient evidence to support charges of genocide in a war in which up to 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have fled their homes.”

Darfur NEVER was a genocide, it is a Civil War. “Human Rights Groups” (like the Save Darfur coalition, and Investors Against Genocide) have been playing games over there, trying to get U.S. troops and a military base in North Africa.

Among other “journalists”, Nicholas Kristof has been warmongering for Darfur for at least 3 years in his New York Times columns.

These people are manipulating nothing less than the International Court - to serve their Interests!!

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By jackpine savage, March 4, 2009 at 5:50 am Link to this comment

The SOFA with Iraq has never been ratified by the Senate; therefore, it is non-binding.  Furthermore, the whole push by the stars is to reclassify troops from “combat” to whatever fits the bill so that they stay.

I’ve no idea what Obama wants, but the New American Caesar (Petraeus) and his pet-ox Odeirmo plan on being there forever.  Hell, the uber-successful surge looks almost designed to keep us there forever.  After arming the country to the teeth, what choice to we have but to stay and keep everyone from using all the guns we gave them.

It’s a colony now, and that was the point all along.  Just replace “White Man’s Burden” with every rationalization you hear coming from DC and across the river and it will all be perfectly clear.

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By Tony Wicher, March 4, 2009 at 2:13 am Link to this comment

Re Marshall, March 3 at 1:58 am

Precisely. Also in accordance with the SOFA agreement with the Iranian government. And your point is?

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By cyrena, March 4, 2009 at 1:09 am Link to this comment

1 of 2
•  “Cyrena, Afriend may have been referring to the Arab countries that originally opposed invasion of Iraq who really hope we won’t leave without first stabilizing Iraq so Iran does not extend its dominance there.”

Sepharad,

This could very well be what Afriend meant. Makes as much sense as anything, and I am myself inclined to the same ‘hope’ – that we will not leave without first at least making sure that Iraq doesn’t fall into an ugly and intractable cycle of civil destruction. Believe me please, when I assure you that the ‘conditions’ of such are overwhelming ripe, because of the US invasion and occupation of that nation. In fact, it’s a TEXTBOOK CLASSIC response to such invasions, generally but not always from EXTERNAL forces.

What the former US regime did in its long planned decision to attack Iraq, was a very classic and age old tactic – first divide and conquer (or divide TO conquer) and/or divide and rule, often by proxy. The US has accomplished this in a number of places, most notably for this discussion, Iran. Keep in mind that in 1953, the US/CIA used a coup to overthrow the democratically elected and SECULAR Mossadeq, to install the Shah as their proxy. This was because Mossadeqh was about to nationalize Iran’s oil. (this is a familiar scenario in our history.) What eventually followed, after much civil disruption, was the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and what became quite the opposite of a democratic/secular government structure. They wound up with the Mullahs and Theocracy. Ergo, the original meddling on the part of the US BACKFIRED!!

Considering the context, and the fact that this is such a well used strategy to first destabilize (by any means necessary) a civil society so that it can be ‘acquired’, if not to ‘live on’ per se, than at least to access and control the natural resources that are associate with the geographical space, we know what to expect. We’ve seen it happen time and time and time again, in the aftermath of aggressions that are designed to pit civil societies against each other. We saw it when we left our destruction of Vietnam so sloppily, and we’ve seen it in nearly every civil conflict that has ever been.

So there can be no doubt that the US regime of Dick Bush intentionally created this civil disruption by their invasion and occupation of that space. That Saddam Hussein was ruthless and brutal to anyone who dared defy his absolute control must be acknowledged in the same breath as we acknowledge that the citizens of Iraq were NOT – I repeat NOT – killing each other prior to the US invasion and occupation of that state. Sunni and Shia shared many common public spaces, and without the animosity the ‘war on terror’ propaganda has attempted to present as a centuries old conflict based on different interpretations of Islam.

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By cyrena, March 4, 2009 at 1:07 am Link to this comment

2 of 2

In short, we created the conditions for civil conflict and the resulting (as I said – textbook) strife. We’ve already seen the destruction. For now, things are ‘out of the news’ on Iraq, (unless you keep up with someone like Dahr Jamail, who reports of the realities on the ground) and so we assume that things are at least slightly less chaotic in terms of the senseless civil destruction, because that’s what they tell us, and because in many respects, (dependent on the measurements used to make such assessments) that may be true. But it doesn’t mean that it will remain true, if we leave the place irresponsibly. Withdrawing our presence slowly and carefully, allowing for adjustments to the circumstances on the ground is absolutely required in conjunction with tons of diplomatic finesse.

But we DO have to leave, and it cannot be determined by whatever Iranian influence may or may not become more pronounced. That’s not on us, and it’s not our business. The Iraqis will decide that, because it isn’t for us to concern ourselves with whether or not the alleged ‘influence’ of Iran is a bad thing. Why should YOU care whether or not Iran has more political influence in Iraq? Why should anyone other than the Iraqis care about that? They were as close to a secular nation as the Middle East offers up, prior to the US invasion and Iran’s ‘influence’. How do you know that they won’t, or haven’t already rejected Iran’s brand of a Theocratic Structure? I’ve seen signs that they have, and that when allowed to exercise their new found democracy, will do exactly that, as they TOO are rational people.

It won’t happen as long as we are there though. If they know we’re leaving, and they can see us doing that, and trying to diplomatically clean up after ourselves to the extent that is even possible, then they have some hope for actually regaining their sovereign independence.

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By vancemack, March 3, 2009 at 11:51 pm Link to this comment

this is my point…and why this site is so useless to come to. there is an article written about the ‘war’ in Iraq…a war which no one can even admit to who and what we are fighting…which people want desperately to quit…which no one will identify the enemy we are fighting…and now we are about to shift gears and go to Afghanistan…

and the only discussion is evil Israel. pathetic.

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By Gulam, March 3, 2009 at 11:12 pm Link to this comment

I agree with Ed. However, we should not forget that a majority of the people that we would get to know, if any of us were to spend time in Israel, the more educated and often more European and American Jews, are often way more critical of Israel than anyone writing here. I took the Ulpan once in Jerusalem, the class for new immigrants. A majority of my classmates were Russians. A clear majority of the class wold have agreed with this statement: “I do not believe in God, I am a secular Jew, Judaism is my race.” Often they said it just that way, and over an over again any visitor to Israel will be told by Israelis: “I am not religious; I am a secular Jew.” The right wing parties befriend these people and arrange for them to come from Russia with only the vaguest recollection of Jewish heritage, and the first things they learn are prejudices against Arabs, both Christian and Muslim. The Ulpan teacher was greatly saddened many days by their utter lack of interest in anything of the religion and culture of the country. If you go read about the founder of Israel, Theodore Herzl, you will learn that he was a German Nationalist in his youth. As German nationalism took on a more racial character, he went off and founded a nationalist group for his own race.

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By Ed Harges, March 3, 2009 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

re: By vancemack, March 3 at 6:06 pm:

No vancemack, we are not at war with Israel; but yes, it is our enemy. It is a potentially fatal parasite eating this country alive. But I don’t think we ought to make war against Israel, or seek to destroy Israel. To rectify this unhealthy situation, we need only separate ourselves from Israel. If Israel survives the separation, that’s fine with me.

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By Ed Harges, March 3, 2009 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment

re: By Sepharad, March 3 at 7:42 pm:

It is not true that my one and only source is that book. It is just that I have learned that if you write screensful of stuff, giving all sorts of examples and sources and arguments, people’s eyes glaze over and they don’t even read it, especially if they’re determined not to understand anyway. So as a shorthand, I direct people to that book, which itself leads to many other sources.

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By Bobby, March 3, 2009 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course the Democrats are carrying on the war. The fact is, THERE IS NO NEED TO DISTINGUISH, ANDY LONGER, BETWEEN THE TWO MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES. THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY THE SAME IN THE TOXIC EFFECT THEY HAVE ON AMERICANS. People who believe otherwise, are living in a fantasy world. Period.

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By John H Kennedy, March 3, 2009 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Holder’s/Obama’s pronouncements on Torture, etc
Are To Be Seen As Just Political Posturing UNLESS

A Special Prosecutor
Is Appointed VERY SOON!

We understand what our politicians really stand for by how they act and do not act, Not Just By What They Say.

So IF Obama and Holder would rather We Believe that “THEY Really believe Torture is Illegal”, the Only Way They Can Prove It To We The Voters,
IS TO APPOINT A Special Prosecutor.

Obama said,

“no one is above the law”

SO Congress must demand and the Justice Dept must appoint a Special Prosecutor with Subpoena Powers and the authority to indict all those officials found to have violated Federal Laws, Our Constitution or the Geneva Convention on Torture. The Statute of Limitations starts to run out in March. Prosecution will stop unnecessary wars and the damage to our economy caused by presidential lies and Abuse Of Power. Bush & Cheney confessed that they ordered torture. Very little additional investigation is needed.

Sen. Leahy & Rep. John Conyers’ “blue ribbon commissions” will be nothing but a white wash and a burial for all time of the true facts.

We do not want a commission. We want them prosecuted.

YOU CAN HELP MAKE THEM PROSECUTE!

SIGN THE PETITION To Prosecute at
http://IndictBushNow.org

Have your local progressive group Endorse this Letter to Attorney General Holder
http://ProsecuteBushCheney.org

Prosecute so our 30,000+ US Soldiers who were killed or maimed have not suffered in vain

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By Sepharad, March 3, 2009 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sam Snedegar—you’re right, the war/s are about the oil. Ed’s one and only source is “The Israel Lobby” which he believes in as the Revealed Truth. (Some scholars and journalist have major quibbles with “TIL”, others agree with it.) Ed and some others here also believe that Israel is responsible for all the world’s ills so you have to take that as a “given” and separate that aspect from other issues on which they sometimes comment quite intelligently.

Another poster noted that the wars are also about political power re containing Russia and China, which is probably right to a degree (though I still hope we will be able to negotiate with those countries and develop better relationships than we now have).

Cyrena, Afriend may have been referring to the Arab countries that originally opposed invasion of Iraq who really hope we won’t leave without first stabilizing Iraq so Iran does not extend its dominance there. These Arab countries are mostly Sunni and are afraid of increased Shiia power, especially now that the Shiia Persians are close to getting their own nuclear weapons. Personally, I doubt that the Iranians—that is, as long as the decision-maker is a rational person rather than a true believer in a happy afterlife—would explode a nuclear weapon in the Middle East because it would kill too many Moslems and render the area unsafe for anyone to live for a very long time. I also doubt they’d do it in Europe, whose market for their oil and their pipelines from the ‘stans is considerable. The best way to avoid a confrontation is to not attack Iran, and hope that the mullahs are not as independent as they sometimes seem to be of the entire population, many of whom are rational people.

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By Sepharad, March 3, 2009 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges, you’re wrong on one point and badly wrong on another.

#1 - Obama was NOT an antiwar candidate, as his position-paper on his website during the primaries made quite clear. He also said during one of his speeches that he was not against all wars, just “dumb” wars. His proposal for drawing down as of his speeches at that point was based on what was happening in Iraq at that point. His new proposals reflect his best interpretations of what the current situation demands. This is in no way his opinion on the Iraq war, which was the “dumb” war he was referring to, but instead, at least I think so, what he believes to be the best possible response to what is happening NOW. If true, that’s “smart”.

#2 - The Iraq cobbled together by the English and French colonial powers following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire was not a noble “experiment” as you imply. It was a frenzied hack-job by France and England (Sykes-Picot agreement) to grab the best deals possible out of the newly-available real estate, jealous of one another’s potential benefits and giving no thought whatsoever to what the consequences would be of slashing up people of different ethnicities and sects and jamming them into countries. Had they followed the Ottoman provinces, which DID take such things into account, the Middle East would not be the mess it is today —including the Israel-Arab conflict (promising same land to two groups + many additional bungles and policies guaranteeing prolonged hostilities) that supplies some of the fuel for the fire now beginning to engulf the entire region. If you have forgotten what you’ve read on the post-Ottoman “experiment” there are numerous good books devoted to the subject, perhaps the best-researched and written being David Fromkin’s “The Great Game”.

PS - Before anyone accuses me of misplacing quotation marks, after material that is not an entire quote) I know it is wrong under current grammatical rules. Up until sometime in the ‘50s it WAS correct, but so many typesetters complained about the confusion of sometimes having to put the period outside a quote mark (as in book titles) but inside the quote mark (as in the end of a complete sentence) that Websters standardized the rule. As an editor, I’ve always thought it would have been better for typesetters to learn to distinguish the difference, and in all my editing and writing continue to do it incorrectly because the present “correct” way is sloppy.

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By Paul_GA, March 3, 2009 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

“Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.” ~ Sir Peter Ustinov

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By Bertil, March 3, 2009 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

Also, the false war on terror.  These terrorists are mostly government sponsored.  Webster Tapley spells this out to great extent in his book, “9/11 Synthetic Terrorism.”
Robert Fisk pointed out in an interview that the assassination of Rafik Hariri in Lebanon in 2004 was probably carried out by a terrorist group.  They are groups that lurk in the shadows and are called to perform their function by some government or some financial sponsors.

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By vancemack, March 3, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Im SOrry Ed…did I miss something? Are we at “war” with Israel? Lord, son…does your bigotry NEVER take a break?

Everyone wants to end the “war.” So Which war is it that you want to end? Who do you want to surrender to? Is that REALLY that hard a question to answer?

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By Rex in Australia, March 3, 2009 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great article as usual Mr Hedges.  You make a good point about the Afghanistan war; what is this war for?  It seems like a war against a certain tribe (the Pashtun/Taliban-types) who are NOT al-Qaida.  And they used to be our heroic freedom fighters!
Do people believe in a global policeman (the US and its allies) that can intervene wherever it wants?  If interventions were for purely moral/help-the people-escape-evil-dictator reasons, the US should have gone into Zimbabwe.  I do not advocate ANY foreign intervention except in extreme and necessary self-defence (which is rare).  And I have heard Obama mention Iran negatively also, so be vigilant!

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By Ed Harges, March 3, 2009 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

Vancemack asks: ‘Who is the “enemy” that we want to surrender to?’

The real enemy is Israel, Vance. But we don’t need to be at war with them: we need only stop subordinating ourselves to them. We need only stop aiding and abetting their crimes, stop fighting wars for their benefit, and stop taking their enemies as our own. That would be quite enough progress.

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By vancemack, March 3, 2009 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

I keep hearing this talk about “the war.”

Just which war is it that we want to quit? Who is the “enemy” that we want to surrender to?

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By Virginia777, March 3, 2009 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

and speaking of Obama’s wars, George Clooney and Nicholas Kristof are trying to start one in Darfur, see right here on Truthdig:

Mr. Clooney Goes to Washington ... for Darfur

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By Virginia777, March 3, 2009 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

All this carping about Obama is a waste of time, I’m with Ed Harges, give him a chance to negotiate the thick waters of the Washington mess we are in.

Did any one of you see the difference between him and Bush at his speech??

This blogger’s got it right, here is who to point the finger at:

“the anti-war goyim are lumps of clay and are no more likely to take to the streets than to jump up and fly.”

Where ARE the anti-war protesters?? (how many of them have been corrupted?)

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By thebeerdoctor, March 3, 2009 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

Excuse me folks, my comments about Mrs. (Secretary) Clinton are a visceral reaction. When I see her toothy smile yukking it up with the Israeli leadership, frankly, it makes my peasant’s skin crawl. And yes, MeHere she IS a cartoon character, with the soul of a cockroach and the brains of a King Rat.

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By MeHere, March 3, 2009 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

thebeerdoctor

I’m sure you know why but you still can’t get over it.  She and Bill were key figures in Obama’s ascent to the throne, weren’t they?  Please, try to get over it because Hillary is endowed with the gift of political immortality—she’ll always be with us. Try to think of her as a cartoon—that’s what I do. If I succeed in forming a “Living With Hillary” support group, I’ll let you know.

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By IP Khalifah, March 3, 2009 at 8:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

what O ba ma gangz r exactly doing abroad?.

show me the money to steal..show me a muslim to kill

wakeup americanoz!

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By dihey, March 3, 2009 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

We are seldom informed that the U.S. army has 286 “installations” in Iraq. Some of these are relatively small. Others, like the Balad Air Force Base with its 24,000(!)inhabitants are large.

The choices for Mr. Obama are:
1. Dismantle the bases. That alternative is not only very expensive, it is absolutely clear that with 50,000 troops in Iraq after August 2010 this cannot be done unless the Iraq government will do it for us after December 31, 1011.
2. Just leave the bases. These will probably be looted and set afire by infuriated Iraqis.

I also repeat a warning that I have given numerous times. If Mr. Obama does not command all non-essential civilian to leave well before the soldiers there will be a risk of another “Fallujah” and Mr. Obama will be in a dire pickle.

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By Verne Arnold, March 3, 2009 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

By thebeerdoctor, March 3 at 11:05 am;

No problem; a reference to “my last post” would have been understood. LOL.
Possibly, the answer to your question could be found in “my” last post. Don’t look for the change you want; you’ll get the change they’ll give you and it’s short change at best. The game is clear and remember, “After the game, the king and pawn go into the same box.” — Italian Proverb. Find your life; don’t follow!

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By KAVIRAJ, March 3, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What everyone forgets is that the Taliban is now close to taking over Pakistan. As soon as they can have their hands on the nuclear arsenal, they will drop one of those bombs on the Nato forces in Afghanistan. Then what are the US going to do? This is about oil and about showing the world that the US is the most powerful, is often the argument here. It is not. It is about pretending to fight terrorism, but really about containing Russia and China and taking the oil as a bonus. The oil is not the issue - world power is. The oil is but a side issue and so is Iran. Iran wants to set up an oil-exchange where the business is in Euros, not dollars. That is another reason. Israel controls the US government but partly - why else is the attack on Iran not happening? THe Shia govt in Iraq shows the miscalculation of the US AND THEIR COMPLETE LACK OF UNDERSTANDING THE MIDDLE EAST. Iran has won the war in Iraq, without any military effort. That is why Israel is wanting a war with Iran - the nuclear “issue” is but a scapegoat. Iran will be the most powerful in the Middle East, when the US leaves. That is another reason they have to stay.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 3, 2009 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

I wish someone would explain to this stupid Internet peasant why did President Obama pick Hillary Clinton to be the Secretary of State?
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/03/2009331115609328.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7920210.stm

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By lester333, March 3, 2009 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

to the so-called Christians.  God doesn’t exist.  Were toast and everybody knows it.  Praying ain’t going to fix it, matter of fact, everything is a big ol’ coincidence formed by actions.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 3, 2009 at 6:23 am Link to this comment

re: Verne Arnold

The last post I referred to was my own, on March 2, 9:42 p.m. Sorry for any confusion.

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By Verne Arnold, March 3, 2009 at 5:43 am Link to this comment

By thebeerdoctor, March 3 at 8:55 am;

You said “last post” which was mine, about 2 hrs. before yours.
Possibly I’m a bit dense, but I fail to see your point, if in fact your responding to my post. My point was this: 60+% of the population rejected Bush (including me), however, his appears to be the legacy driving Obama’s regime. Is that what you voted for? I don’t think anybody sees it; Bush has set the course of American policy and we don’t even see it. We’re so screwed, we’ve been sold down the river. Platitudes; that’s what we’ll get. The least given for the most gotten. Poor us; we’ve accepted shit in the place of the gold we’ve given.

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By AFriend, March 3, 2009 at 5:43 am Link to this comment

Cyrena,

If you can perform a Lexis-Nexis search over the past seven years you’ll find numerous statements by Arab leaders -Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UEA etc. - regarding assurances given by the United States that America would not leave Iraq in an unstable condition. Wanting the U.S. and needing the U.S. in Iraq are two separate but connected conversations. It’s impossible to talk about one without the other.

The fact that enemies of Western and moderate Arab nations redoubled their efforts after 9/11 (the notable spike in terrorist activity) should not be misunderstood. One would be hard pressed to find any war in which one side simply gave up the fight once the real fighting began. To suggest that “Bush” created the enemy misses the entire history of the enemies efforts. A history that dates back to the late 1980’s. We cannot ignore the fact that the CIA and State Dept. had been warning of a growing threat for a decade before 9/11.  The Bush administration did not force the CIA and State Dept. to issue warnings of a “growing threat” two, five, and ten years before taking office in Jan. 2000.

Would you say that President Clinton created more of the enemy? Attacks against Western and Arab nations spiked dramatically in 1997. What was the cause at that time?

It should not be surprising that violence on all sides was ramped up after Sept. 2001. After 150 nations, including several Arab countries, began a concerted effort to hunt down and kill the enemy.

This is not a U.S. war. There are over 150 nations involved. This is not simply al Qa’ida we are fighting. There are dozens of related groups in over 90 countries. Iraq and Afghanistan are not two separate wars. These places are battle fields in a single war.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 3, 2009 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

Typical predictable biased Chris Hedges article filled with value-laden adjectives that should be labeled OPINION.

Typical responses from the usual pile-on posters, saying the same things over and over again—you know, the ones who wrote Obama off BEFORE he took office on January 20.

So the “progressives” are attacking him for a phased withdrawal from Iraq with DEFINITE dates, and the Conservatives are attacking him for raising taxes and deficits.

Too bad that tiny itty-bitty number of Americans supporting him is only 63%....

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By thebeerdoctor, March 3, 2009 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

Here is a response to the last post. I used the term “liberal supporters” of President Obama to refer to those in the media who call themselves that. Now of course, they also used the term “progressive” often, having been indoctrinated with the liberal-phobic mantra droned out continuously by that “liberal media” that was and is so unfair and biased, according to the Rush buckets of the world, who just so happen to make millions of dollars spewing out their radio slop.
No, the real problem is not between ideologies. Both of these hardened camps claim to know what is best. Meanwhile, the countless unnamed humans caught up between their visions of hegemony, become the unfortunate but necessary “collateral damage” so vital to their visionary goals. That is why, in the final analysis, the politics of left and right, liberal and conservative, are so meaningless. All are in agreement that the State knows best, just as long as it meets the criteria of what they believe a State should be. Thus, you can bomb people to obey your wishes, whether they are based on selfish or altruistic motives. Meanwhile, the suppliers of these tools of policy, economically thrive, even when the economy slides into a giant sink hole. President Obama, and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, must know all about this. Are they not the ones who praised Israel for bombing the daylights out of Gaza for weeks, and made sure to rush even more weapons to our Middle East ally?  This should be expected from Secretary Clinton, who along with her newly knighted boss, as not spoken one word against the use of phosphorous weapons, by our (according to them) greatest friend in the Middle East.
You have to wonder, whether liberal, moderate or blue dog, how much of this nonsense they will force themselves to swallow, in order to preserve the image of the bright new President.
I am told that the man I voted for, Barack Obama, is an intelligent man. Professing his Christian faith, I am told, is suppose to be a sign of virtue. As someone who sees faith as a way to soothe the fact that death is an inevitable conclusion, a belief in a hereafter becomes a most convenient tool to assuage any pangs of conscience over actions taken for less than noble reasons during our time on this earth. Faith In God: Its what George W. Bush, Barack H. Obama, and Hillary R. Clinton cling to when they go to bed at night. It prevents reality from becoming too troubling.

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By Verne Arnold, March 3, 2009 at 2:55 am Link to this comment

Meet the new boss; same as the old boss…de dah, de dah, de dah. We’re so special, not; do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Obama is just what the doctor ordered; he makes us love the foul tasting Castor oil we got as kids. Change but not too much. Face it: Of all people, Bush has set the course for the foreseeable future. Bush! Can you believe it? He’ll get his place in history and it’s not what you think.

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By prole, March 3, 2009 at 2:38 am Link to this comment

“As long as American troops are on Iraqi soil the war will grind on… Add to this Obama’s decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan and even his most purblind supporters will have to admit the new president is as intent on maintaining American empire as the old” - even his most purblind supporters outside of his loyal Truthdig claque that is. You can expect Robert Scheer and Eugene Robinson and E.J.Dionne and Amy Goodman, et.al. to go on assuring us about how, in the lofty wisdom of Scheer, “We are lucky to have Barack Obama as president.” So now Bob and his visionary liberal chums have even more reasons to “justify” their prescient vote for the new liberal messiah Obama. ‘Do the liberal cheerleaders for Obama know any history.’ Many of the worst crimes of American ermpire have been carried out by Camelotian liberals like Truman, JFK/LBJ, Carter, Clinton and their congressional cronies. And now, here we go again with another fork-tongued, two-faced, smarmy liberal president hellbent on making his mark in the world the same way his reviled and discredited neo-con predecessor did. The Bush Doctrine is in safe hands, the old chickenhawk president has vouchsafed it to the new chickenhawk president, whole and intact. But since the new chickenhawk president is half-black, everything is cool with liberals. And the emancipated Sec.of State is female so it’s all just ‘peachy’. Multicultural imperialism is so much more politically correct than that stodgy old WASPy kind. Innocent victims in Afghanistan can’t object to being blown to bits by a half-black president can they? Children in Gaza don’t mind being starved by a female Sec. of State do they? It takes a village after all, not a steely Sec. of State to care for them?  You need a scorecard to tell the neo-con’s from the liberals nowadays. At least with the nefarious neo-con’s you know where they’re coming from but lethal liberals are always so smugly supercilious about everything, they have to act a little more sneakily while keeping up pretenses. That’s where the Scheer’s and the Dionne’s come in, to help pull the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting goyim.  No doubt, Scheer was as “enthralled” with St. Barack’s bluster at Camp Lejeune as he was with his hero’s “stunning” performance in front of another captive audience in congress last week. Unfortunately, the Great One again forgot in his turgid speech to “confront the military-industrial complex” as Scheer adjured him to do but since he’s a Democrat we can doubtless “leave aside” that too, as Scheer and his liberal cohorts are so wont to do, not only with Larry Summers and the economic team, but just about everything Obama does. So Scheer and the liberal cheerleaders could go even farther than Hedges who curiously asserts that he “could live with the prolonged injustice of the occupation in Iraq”. Most of the liberal partisans like Scheer could live with “prolonged injustice” anywhere for any length of time as long as it was carried out by a Democrat, especially a multicultural one. It’s no accident that the ruling class chose a black puppet president this time around to continue the imperial project and blunt criticism from the growing ranks of the disaffected. Politics is not only “a game of pressure”, it’s also a game of pretense.

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By Outraged, March 3, 2009 at 12:21 am Link to this comment

Re: colin2626262

Your comment: “If I could give a speech, you’d hear it and believe it.”

I’m good. Have at er’.  (BTW, that also means I’m not only calling your bluff, but raising you ten)

But also your comment: “You’ve read too many books, too much philosophy, theology, and the rest.  You’ve forgotten the simple teaching, the simple truth.  What did Jesus say to his disciples?  He said it very plainly.  “Have faith in God.”  That’s what he said.  That’s “the one thing necessary.”

There is no such thing as “reading TOO MANY BOOKS”... who told you that..?  You also aver that reading, “too much philosophy, theology, and the rest.” is (I’m assuming) considered a bad thing…. how so?  Where is your proof?  Is everyone simply supposed to take your word for it because, as you’ve claimed, “If I could give a speech, you’d hear it and believe it.”

I don’t believe you, so from my perspective you’re batting 0-0.  Rant away, but each and every time you do, I’ll call.

Regarding your comment: “You’ve forgotten the simple teaching, the simple truth.  What did Jesus say to his disciples?  He said it very plainly.  “Have faith in God.”  That’s what he said.  That’s “the one thing necessary.”

Yes… I can agree that it’s a simple TEACHING, however, if one has “faith in God” and I can agree that many do.  You need to recognize that this means MANY THINGS to many people, and your “simple teaching” becomes a much more abstract and complex reality.

What is God?
Whose God?
How does what you have been TAUGHT as “God” meld with what others have been TAUGHT as “God”?
Why the discrepancy?
Is “God” as you have been TAUGHT, not powerful enough to merely abolish such discrepancies?

This is the food for thought you must address.  I will gladly argue the point, but be aware… I WILL ARGUE the point.

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By colin2626262, March 2, 2009 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment

Not a word about God in this anti-war speech.  Tim Robbins, the Hollywood actor, gave a better speech than this at an anti-war rally.  He asked, “Didn’t the Bible say, Thou Shalt not kill?”

Chris Hedges doesn’t believe in atheists.  Maybe that’s because he doesn’t know what one is.  Atheists are those who don’t remember God, not those who say God doesn’t exist. 

If you want to have an impact on the world, if you want to give a real message of peace, you have to at least mention God.  Otherwise, you’re just as bad as the politicians, the ones who start the wars.

This talk by Hedges is like something written by Noam Chomsky.  It gives a topical, left-wing analysis with very little feeling.  It’s like a history lesson.  It’s not a speech that will rally people behind a cause.  Listen to Martin Luther King Jr. talk about the Vietnam War.  That’s a real anti-war activist.  And who was King?  A man of God.

If I could give a speech, you’d hear it and believe it.  I wouldn’t go into all these arguments.  I’d talk from the heart.  I’d pray to God to give me the right words.  That’s what Chris Hedges and people like him should do.  They have a voice.  They can give speeches, and people listen to them.  Instead, they talk like politicians themselves.  They don’t speak from their souls about what truly brings peace into this world.  They don’t talk about God.  They’ve forgotten.

And that’s why there are wars.  We’ve forgotten the commandments.  Not only “Thou shalt not kill,” but the more positive ones, like: “Love one another.”  Obama is a Christian.  Hedges is a Christian.  The whole country basically is claiming to be Christian.  So why don’t we act like Christians?  Why don’t we love one another?  Why do we go to war with one another?  Kill one another?  Why, Chris Hedges?  Tell me why.

You don’t know, it seems.  You’ve read too many books, too much philosophy, theology, and the rest.  You’ve forgotten the simple teaching, the simple truth.  What did Jesus say to his disciples?  He said it very plainly.  “Have faith in God.”  That’s what he said.  That’s “the one thing necessary.”

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By Ed Harges, March 2, 2009 at 10:46 pm Link to this comment

re: By SamSnedegar, March 2 at 7:37 pm:

Sam, please read and demonstrate an understanding of Mearsheimer and Walt’s thorough debunking of this “war for oil” nonsense in their essential book, “The Israel Lobby”.

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By Marshall, March 2, 2009 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment

By Tony Wicher, March 2 at 4:36 pm #
“It will be nice to vote for Obama again in 2012 when ALL American troops have been removed from Iraq as Obama stated “

Tony - The agreement Bush signed with Iraq already mandated the removal of ALL u.s. troops from Iraq by 2011, which is the same time Obama stated.

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By cyrena, March 2, 2009 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

By thebeerdoctor, March 2 at 9:42 pm #

To all the liberal minded supporters of President Obama who actually convince themselves that troop withdrawals from Iraq, and “refocusing” efforts to increase troops in Afghanistan, is a peace victory, I must look and laugh. So hardened by their own policy cynicism that they refuse to see that playing with other people’s lives only showcases their lack of empathy for the human condition in general. Do they actually believe the good guy/ bad guy scenario to the point that they are willing, as apparently President Obama is, to sacrifice their fellow citizens to kill the Bin Laden bogeyman?

~*~

Hi beerdoctor,
A question here, before I assume anything. DO you really thing that ‘liberal minded supporters of President Obama, (needless to say I keep hoping that ALL minded people will support the US Presidents in his efforts, but I realize that’s asking too much) are convinced that the withdrawal from Iraq is a ‘peace victory’.

I mean come on, is that rhetorical language, or do you really believe that any sane person would reference this as a peace victory? We’ve killed over a million Iraqis, displaced another 3.5 million of them, left hundreds of orphans, torn up their infrastructure, and have already lost over 4,000 of our own in the destruction of the past 6 years. Do you honestly believe that any sane person would ideological consider the withdrawal of our troops – finally, to be a “Peace Victory”.

So now you say that the withdrawal of troops from Iraq shouldn’t happen? Is that the complaint? I wonder because the rest of us have been wishing for this since before it started. So exactly what are your issues with the plans to have all of our troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011?

Yes, yes, yes, I KNOW that you (and I) also disapprove of the military action in Afghanistan, and that you’ve disapproved all along of Obama’s stance on busting up terrorist operations in the border region of Pakistan-Afghanistan, where there has been at least some documented proof of terrorist activity in the area. I disapprove of that as well, especially since I’m convinced that OBL is dead, and that the US intelligence is clueless about the amount of terrorist activity in the region, and where it’s coming from.  And from a clearly cynical point of view, we could even say that we don’t care about those terrorists, since they can’t do anything to us anyway.

Be that as it may, how does the withdrawal of troops from Iraq somehow become a bad idea, and just another one of Obama’s failings?

And, just out of curiousity, are liberal minded supporters of President Obama any different that moderate or conservative minded supporters? Seems hard to differentiate between the two, unless one has just a general negative bias to begin with.

How do you feel about his other plans…like the DOMESTIC issues that concern us all, including the treatment of our troops when they return. Any of that matter to you? These are the same ones you’ve suggested that Obama (and ONLY him of course, since Dick Bush obviously doesn’t have anything to do with this) is so readily willing to sacrifice.

It’s all a bit contradictory now, isn’t it?

The Era of Applied Bullshit can’t end soon enough.

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By M.B.S.S., March 2, 2009 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment

if chris hedges conscience was a body builder it would be mr universe.  all you need is a conscience and a voice.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 2, 2009 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

To all the liberal minded supporters of President Obama who actually convince themselves that troop withdrawals from Iraq, and “refocusing” efforts to increase troops in Afghanistan, is a peace victory, I must look and laugh. So hardened by their own policy cynicism that they refuse to see that playing with other people’s lives only showcases their lack of empathy for the human condition in general. Do they actually believe the good guy/ bad guy scenario to the point that they are willing, as apparently President Obama is, to sacrifice their fellow citizens to kill the Bin Laden bogeyman? Do they really believe that state sponsored assassination will put an end to terrorism? Let’s see, how many targeted assassinations has Israel committed against Palestinian extremists (as they call them) over the years? Behold: peace is just breaking out all over Gaza and the West Bank!
I can not decide what is worse: the venal duplicity of the government, or the deliberate refusal of its supporters to be conscious of the truth.

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By cyrena, March 2, 2009 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

•  “The new U.S. President is learning that a pullout from Iraq hurts the United States amongst Arab allies and would be considered both a win and a sign of weakness by her enemies. Miss that and again all context is lost.”

Afriend,

I am missing this context, (though I’d like to understand what you’re saying here). Specifically, why do you think the US withdrawal from Iraq would ‘hurt’ us with our Arab allies. That doesn’t make any sense to me. It sounds like you’re saying that our Arab allies want us to REMAIN in Iraq, and that sounds insane, since there is not a single Arab state that has ‘approved’ of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. So, maybe I’m missing something.
Now, with all due respect to your list of ‘accomplishments’ over the last 8 or so years, I really would beg to differ with you, and not as an eternal pessimist, but rather as a realist who abhors propaganda. And, the reality is that global terrorisim, has INCREASED by 700% since the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

There are several reports produced annually, though I don’t know how much I’d trust the US government reports under the Dick Bush regime. Still, there are quite a few resources available for this well researched documentation.

http://www.comw.org/pda/0609bm38.html
http://bobgeiger.blogspot.com/2006/02/proof-that-bush-policies-have-made.html

Mother Jones has an excellent study as well, though it is a few years old now.

That’s not to say that all of this terror is being perpetrated by al-Qaeda, because it isn’t. In fact, I’m still not convinced that al-Qaeda is responsible for 9/11. But that’s the point. The ‘war on terror’ has created literally hundreds of new cells here and there, operating INDEPENDENTLY of each other and our intelligence hasn’t even been able to identify them all. And, the invasion of Iraq is what really let them loose, because Bush sent them (at least whomever we’ve been told is ‘al-Qaeda’) an invitation to a showdown in Iraq. I mean, how many times did we hear that propaganda over these past 7 years? 

But it wasn’t just the al-Qaeda guys that came to Iraq when Bush said, ‘bring ‘em on’ – but rather various and sundry rogue terrorists and other assorted thugs. There was none of this ‘terrorism’ happening in Iraq, because Saddam wouldn’t allow it. He was the only terrorist allowed, and there was not this civil strife among the people, something that is a given outcome to any external invasion.

And there weren’t ove a million dead Iraqis, with another 3.5 million of them displaced, along with hundreds upon hundreds of orphans, and our own more than 4000 troop fatalities. (and that doesn’t even include all of the homeless vets sleeping in our streets, and unattended to until about a year ago, when then Senator Obama was able to legislate some changes, at least in the way they were being treated upon their return.)

So while I would never ignore these supposed ‘achievements’ I’m just not sure that they are.

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By TAO Walker, March 2, 2009 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

Awhile back, in the “ear to the ground” section, there was a brief item entitled “THE STIMULOUS TUG OF WAR.”  The accompanying text suggested it was a supposed “stimulous tug-of-war” under consideration. 

This old Indian wondered, though, whether the “stimulous-tug of WAR” might’ve been much closer to the truth.  Chris Hedges, echoing Sun Tzu and the Book of Changes, has likened war to a dangerous drug, and has said at book-length that “civilized” peoples, including americans, show every sign of being incurably addicted to it.

Given the recent ramping-up of anti-Iran rhetoric, our domesticated Sisters and Brothers may be about to get a lethal dose….unless they refuse to stand still for it.  Their only warning, however, might be their “bosses” not showing-up for work one morning. 

Do you know where the “undisclosed location” nearest you is?

HokaHey!

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By Bertil, March 2, 2009 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

The other night, Jim Lehrer served Obama a softball in an interview on his PBS news program.  He asked Obama after his speech to the marines, if he thought about the soldiers and marines who’ll die in these wars.  Unbelievably, Obama sounded like Paul Wolfowitz when he didn’t know the number of Americans killed in Iraq at that point of the invasion.  Obama said, “No.”  He wasn’t concerned.  Instead, he said, he felt this gratitude for their performance in everything this country has asked them to do.  Obama’s been visited by the ghost of George W. Bush’s Presidency.  It’s is seeming to haunt the WH, putting callous, craven things to say in the tenant’s mouth.
The gerbils in Obama’s little head must have jumped off their treadmill and started knocking on the side of his skull.  Obama circled back to that question and re-answered it by assuring the neo-con ass-kisser Lehrer that he did carry a heavy burden with each death.  Again, though, Obama narcissistically related it to how he feels.  BO ought to spend a night in the sand over there, be shot at, take a shower in an electrified stall, ride around in a humvee, or anything at all to give him a different dimension to his education in Foreign Policy at Columbia

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By AFriend, March 2, 2009 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

There is another way to look upon these issues.

On September 11, 2001 there were eight nations openly supporting Al Qai’da types. Today there is only one.

Over 150 nations are at war against a common enemy. It seems like a mistake to think only in terms of the United States.

Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan and the UAE have all opened their elections processes a crack more. Woman’s rights is a
real and growing but little discussed issue in these places.

A.Q. Kahn was shut down. Libya gave up it’s aspirations for Biological and Chemical weapons. By most accounts Iran slowed or halted its nuclear weapons programs in 2003. Saddam Hussein, the single cause of over a million and half lives, can no longer murder, pillage and rape at will.

By most accounts Usama bin Laden no longer holds “operational control” of the network he and others began. Although still dangerous the enemy of Sept. 11 has been fractured. Over 2/3 of the 9/11 masterminds have been killed or captured.

It’s important to note that in most of the Middle East, N. Africa and S.E. Asia support for Usama bin Laden has fallen dramatically.

—-

The new U.S. President is learning that a pullout from Iraq hurts the United States amongst Arab allies and would be considered both a win and a sign of weakness by her enemies. Miss that and again all context is lost.

If in twenty years Iraq is a stable nation with a representative government, and the right to private property, removing Hussein will be considered to have been bold and brave.—Hoping and working for anything less would be inhumane.

A world without war? I can think of no one that can change the human condition.

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By SamSnedegar, March 2, 2009 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

do eventually get serious, won’t you?

The war was about oil; the “surge” was about moving crack troops in to guard the oil while others took over the less important occupation and fight against the insurrection.

As long as we control the oil, and that will no doubt be FOREVER, we will have to keep a force in Iraq which can keep the Iraqis from stealing back their oil.

It’s very simple whan you talk about the oil; it makes no sense at all without that being factored into the equation;.

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By coach777b, March 2, 2009 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Pulling out ALL the troops at the same time is impossible, improbable and stupid. Withdrawal is a delicate process requiring cooperation from two governments. Iraq and the US have agreed on this process. Of course, when YOU become President or Secretary of State, you can choose an alternate course. As a veteran, I’d be willing to bet, you’ve never served in uniform. You write like a civilian who has no idea of how the military works.

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By Ed Harges, March 2, 2009 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

re: By Hulk2008, March 2 at 5:40 pm #

Hulk2008 writes: ”... Israel’s security and interests have taken a huge blow by the elimination of Iraq as a buffer against Iran.  Israel was far better off when Saddam was battling Tehran…”

You confuse Israel’s actual, realized benefit, as perceived by you now, with Israel’s expected benefit, as perceived before 2003 by Israel’s hard-line supporters who control our foreign policy.

It doesn’t matter that, as you see it, the Iraq war was bad for Israel. There is an Everest of evidence that the most fervent supporters of the Iraq war believed otherwise, that they are now driving the campaign for a war against Iran, and that they believe that continued US control of Iraq is necessary for the success of their plans for Iran.

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By Hulk2008, March 2, 2009 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Harges,
    With all due respect, Israel’s security and interests have taken a huge blow by the elimination of Iraq as a buffer against Iran.  Israel was far better off when Saddam was battling Tehran (with the likes of Rummy pouring in materiel). 
  The other reason W hit Saddam was “‘cause that’s the guy that tried to get his Daddy.” i.e. Frat Boy avenges Pop.

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By mill, March 2, 2009 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

Bush started this war, and did so with out proper cause.  It will ALWAYS be Bush’s mistaken war.  That Obama doesn’t just drop everything right now and pull out troops, as some strident folks suggest makes him seem wise.  It doesn’t make this stupid war Obama’s war.  That just isn’t fair or accurate.

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By Ed Harges, March 2, 2009 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

regarding By Hulk2008, March 2 at 5:11 pm:

The Iraq war was for Israel, not for oil. Please read Mearsheimer and Walt’s book, “The Israel Lobby”. The “war for oil” slogan is a distraction.

The US government’s control, through occupation, of Iraqi oil is not the most lucrative possible arrangement, relative to what peaceful relations would make possible. It is far cheaper to maintain friendly relations with governments of oil-rich countries, and then buy the oil like any normal nation.

The reason the US cannot have much more lucrative and peaceable arrangements with Iraq and Iran than has been the case for decades is that Israel, whose supporters control our foreign policy, will not allow us to have such relations.

The Iraq war was for Israel, not for oil. Israel’s hard-line supporters regarded the Iraq war primarily as a necessary stepping-stone toward a war to destroy Iran —  for Israel’s benefit and for no other reason whatsoever.

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By Ed Harges, March 2, 2009 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment

By copstack, March 2 at 4:14 pm:

The US government’s “control” of Iraqi oil is not “lucrative”, relative to what peaceful relations would be. It is far cheaper to maintain friendly relations with governments of oil-rich countries, and then buy the oil like any normal nation.

The reason the US cannot have much more lucrative and peaceable arrangements with Iraq and Iran than has been the case for decades is that Israel, whose supporters control our foreign policy, will not allow us to have such relations.

The Iraq war was for Israel, not for oil. Israel’s hard-line supporters regarded the Iraq war primarily as a necessary stepping-stone toward a war to destroy Iran —  for Israel’s benefit and for no other reason whatsoever.

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By Hulk2008, March 2, 2009 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

Want to know when the US will leave ANYplace?  ..... When all the monetary interests have disappeared.  W and Friends invaded Iraq and Afghanistan because of oil and because the military needs war to justify their existence and because media of all stripes needs sensationalism for profit. Just imagine how boring a peaceful earth might be - and how low the profits would be.

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By Gulam, March 2, 2009 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

Am I the only one who remembers Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey? It is not like we have not seen this play before. One might excuse John Kennedy for starting the Vietnam War, as is perhaps fair, since he was so stoned out on a mix of drugs given him by Dr. Feelgood to ease his back pain, that it is wonder he did nothing worse. Lyndon and Hubert were the one who did the most to kill people in Vietnam, Layos and Cambodia, and to make that mess into mass murder. Now you are surprised that the Democrats are still pimping for Haliburton and Ratheon, and only moving the solders around? Do not despair this will have the best possible ending. The cost of fighting in the middle of Central Asia will run up debts that, along with the collapse of the housing bubble and the machinations of the Wizzardim of Wallstreet and the Fed, will crash the dollar and bring a merciful end to this short-lived empire. Nothing will better suit the needs of a generation of Americans than to walk and make their own music. I would not want to try and raise children in an urban area though. Forget about these wars. They are serving their purpose. For the Pashtun it will be a great honor to be the ones who brought down the Great Satin.

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By Crimes of the State Blog, March 2, 2009 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

Until the Emperors can be charged with WAR CRIMES, like the brutal thugs they are, nothing will change.

International Law, much to the satisfaction of Goehring, turns out to be victor’s justice.

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By Tony Wicher, March 2, 2009 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

It will be nice to vote for Obama again in 2012 when ALL American troops have been removed from Iraq as Obama stated with pellucid clarity in his speech at Camp Lejeune. Yes, a President who keeps his promises! Who ever heard of such a thing? It’s just going to take Hedges and others some time to adjust to this strange condition.

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By copstack, March 2, 2009 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The U.S. has spent over $600 billion, lost over 4200 soldiers and this person expects the government to just ‘give up their lucrative control of Iraqi oil’ and walk away with nothing? Why would anyone in their right mind do that. I can just imagine the the Roman citizens protesting for the withdrawal of London or Germania.

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By melpol, March 2, 2009 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

Two million inmates are rotting in U.S. prisons. Many are drug addicts. Most will never have the opportunity to assimilate into society. Transporting them to Afghanistan and giving each one an acre of a poppy field to harvest sell and use would be in the interest of the U.S. Eventually they would be the leaders of that nation and suppliers of heroin to a dope hungry world.

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By Ribald, March 2, 2009 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s not all bad. We’ll get another chance in 2012 to vote for Obama’s anti-war platform and feel good about ourselves. Maybe the Democratic candidate will be an actual anti-war candidate in 2016!

  Joking aside, there needs to be a universal acknowledgment that the political world is beset with systemic problems that must be solved before real representation of the popular will can be achieved. Voting is an ineffective means to that end.

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By TUT, March 2, 2009 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Did anybody really believed that the American external policy had anything to do with whoever is the “talking head” in Washington?
Amazing!

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By Tom Semioli, March 2, 2009 at 11:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama was never an anti-war candidate. And what does anyone hope to acheive at the “World Can’t Wait” protests? I was one of millions around the world who participated in massive protestst against the invasion of Iraq, and it acheved absolutely nothing. You’ve got to pay for play in the modern world.

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By dr wu, March 2, 2009 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

The man is so iffy…

Maybe we’ll leave and maybe we won’t. And maybe all the combat troops will go in 19 months (or later if deemed necessary…) and 50,000 will stay along with 100,000 contractors (?) And, by the way,  we’re maintaining the largest embassy (3000+) in the world—situated in the Green Zone. And for what purpose do we need 3000 people there?

Folks, we’re not leaving—at least we’re not leaving while there’s oil still there—The former occupiers of Iraq, the British, said over and over again they were leaving Iraq and finally did it after hanging in for 50 years. I suspect we will do the same. Our occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan will cost 130-140 billion per year and it’s money down the drain.

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By RdV, March 2, 2009 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

Anyone notice the revisionist history Obama tried to slip into the record when he stated that our official cause to invade Iraq was to topple Saddam Hussein?

  What does that tell you?

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By bluejeanne, March 2, 2009 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well now we know why all the past Presidents were entertained at a luncheon for the new President by G-Dubya in the White House a few short weeks ago.  The words of advice to Obama were unmistakably, “business as usual” . . .

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By Paul_GA, March 2, 2009 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

*How could we possibly “win”?*

One wonders who “WE” is, Godistwaddle. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the “global war on terror”, are not the American people’s wars, they’re the American State’s wars—or more accurately, the American Empire’s wars.

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By GB, March 2, 2009 at 9:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

bush said we would leave Iraq when they want us to. We knew he was lying but Obama is not earning points by making this expensive mistake in Iraq drag out.
Obama did say he wanted to ramp up the US commitment in Afganistan in his campaign. No surprise there.
That’s why the military weapons industrial complex media owned companies decided to shut out Kucinich and Paul in the presidential debates to favor their continued sales for these occupations.
As long as we fear our own shadows and let media control our decisions and not use common sense this will be our demise.

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By Ed Harges, March 2, 2009 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman are going to be running Israel now.

What do you think Israel would do if Obama said, “We’re not going to be launching a war against Iran, not even a purely aerial bombing campaign, ever. And we’re pulling all our troops out of Iraq now, so we won’t be able to ensure that you can fly safely through Iraqi airspace on your way to bomb Iran; nor will we have any troops in Iraq to protect you from retaliation after you bomb Iran.”

Does anyone doubt that Israel would then try to get rid of Obama by any means necessary? It would be so easy to make it look like a race crime, wouldn’t it? And then they would have the much more hawkish Joe Biden as President. It’s all set up.

There’s one big reason Obama doesn’t dare pull us decisively and quickly out of Iraq: he wants to live.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 2, 2009 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

mlb’s insightful comments reveal what a nauseating process it is to observe national politics being practiced by the “professionals”. Just because you are powerless when being stepped on does not mean you have to like it.
“I found that the politicians knew how to befog every issue, how to control public opinion and manipulate votes to their own advantage and to that of their financial and industrial allies.”
Emma Goldman
I know I have posted this quote before, but it needs to be quoted again.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 2, 2009 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

Please pardon my typo errors on previous post. That should be these instead of there. And the complete sentence is; “the surge is on.”

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By lizleaf, March 2, 2009 at 8:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you for putting my random thoughts into concrete prose.  Very powerful.

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By mlb, March 2, 2009 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

I listened to Obama’s words during the campaign.  I wasn’t fooled, but that doesn’t make it any less infuriating to be insulted by this asshole. (I use the disrespectful term because, by repeatedly lying to us, Obama has already shown that he does not deserve our respect)  Does he really think enough of us will be fooled if:

- He leaves the troops in Iraq but tells us there’s no more occupation because they’re not called “combat” troops anymore.

- He talks about regulation of the financial while showing no sign he intends to regulate and every indication that he intends to let the bankers finish stealing our money and destroying the world economy.

- He says he’s going to buck the status quo with health care reform when he all he intends to do is make a hoopla and waste a huge amount of effort rearranging a parasitic health care system into a slightly different parasitic health care system, leaving the insurance industry parasite in place to keep the system sick.

- He tries to spread blame for the economic disaster to the vast majority of us who had nothing to do with it.  He tells us we’ll all have to tighten our belts, but neglects to mention that “all” of us, doesn’t include the finance crooks and the military-industrial death cult who get to loosen their belts.

Barack the Bomber - change only an imbecile could believe in.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 2, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

Here is a little insight from Texas (of all places):

“Among the questions that need asking are there: Why is it our mission to remake Afghanistan? What is our national interest, our plan, our “victory”, our exit point?
Instead of addressing these basics (and, indeed, instead of consulting the American people at all), however, Obama and team are simply telling us that the surge is. How’s that different from the way Bush-Cheney treated us?”
Jim Hightower
http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/128957/

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By EJH, March 2, 2009 at 8:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“...even his most purblind supporters will have to admit the new president is as intent on maintaining American empire as the old.”

This is the problem with America.  Even the “liberals” believe that the US has something like a divine right to project its power all over the world.  How many Americans who oppose the war in Iraq also see how wrong it is that there are tens of thousands of American troops in Okinawa and the rest of Japan, for example? 

Obama and the Democrats are no different from Bush and the Republicans except for style.  In some ways I think the Democrats are more dangerous because they play the game so much better.  They understand the importance of lying and fooling the rest of the world into believing in America’s benevolence.  With Bush, at least people outside the US could see what they were dealing with and be inspired to resist it.  Please remember, Obama, despite his good looks and celebrity status, is the president of the most powerful and most dangerous nation on Earth.  He, like all past US presidents, will not hesitate to kill.

http://theunpeople.blogspot.com/

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By godistwaddle, March 2, 2009 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

Iraqi nationalism, increasing after the decrease in sectarian violence, demands that it is the patriotic duty of all decent Iraqis to kill Americans, who brutally invaded and occupied their homeland.  (To do otherwise would be, well, un-American).

How could we possibly “win”?

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By dihey, March 2, 2009 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

There is considerable evidence that President Obama seems to have already caved in to Generals Odierno and Petraeus by giving them control of the number and nature of the troops to remain in Iraq after the 19-month withdrawal charade. Commander-in-Chief? No, “Collapser-in-Chief”. Remember FISA? That was a sure sign for things to come from this master-deceiver.

On second thought, perhaps he did not cave in but has signed on to a mutually beneficial pact with these Generals.

Beerdoctor is right. When one reads the interviews of Obama with the Chicago Tribune and his speeches to AIPAC of several years ago one realizes that this are not Obama’s wars NOW but that they have been his wars all along to maintain U.S. hegemony in the region. Obama is an imperialist pur sang who hides his true nature behind “fighting terrorism in Afghanistan”, whatever that means. Of course he rarely showed this side of his world view during the presidential campaigns which were mostly cubic miles of hot air, except when he once blurted “we will change America first, then the world”. The correct word for that is megalomania of which he has a bundle. His handlers probably told him to stop using this dangerously revealing mantra. Obama obliged. He did not use this “US, US ueber alles” again even though that is his trademark.

The decline of the standard of living of our middle class makes his warmongering even more necessary because the “restoration” of our standard of living demands control of resources and markets in the third world.

Obama’s public face of the determined, strong President is nothing but another charade. He will become known as our lying “Hot-Air President”.

The democrats in Congress are upset? They will not dare to oppose a popular president of their own corrupt party even though his popularity is based on gigantic ignorance by the voting public. Political education is not a strength of our country.

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By Allan Gurfinkle, March 2, 2009 at 7:12 am Link to this comment
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Hedges is exactly right and there is only one option that has any chance at all of changing the planned course, and that is massive street demonstrations.  What are the chances?

Here’s a little secret, the leadership of the Vietnam anti-war demonstrations was mostly Jewish.  Bob Scheer is a good example.  Scheer ran an great anti-war campaign for congress in Berkeley, he barely lost in the primary, and paved the way for Ron Dellums two years later.  Now, the question is, where are the Jews now?  Not leading anti-war demonstrations I’ll wager.  Scheer, for his part, is now hobnobbing with Arianna Huffington. Without the Jews, the anti-war goyim are lumps of clay and are no more likely to take to the streets than to jump up and fly.

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