It is not too often I am pleased by the foreign policy announcements from this administration, but last week's announcement that the war in Iraq was in its final stage and all the troops may be home for Christmas did sound promising. I have long said that we should simply declare victory and come home. It should not have taken us nearly a decade to do so, and it was supposed to be a priority for the new administration. Instead, it will be one of the last things done before the critical re-election campaign gets into full swing. Better late than never but, examining the fine print, is there really much here to get excited about? Are all of our men and women really coming home, and is Iraq now to regain its sovereignty? And in this time of economic crisis, are we going to stop hemorrhaging money in Iraq? Sadly, it doesn't look that way.
First and foremost, any form of withdrawal that is happening is not simply because the administration realized it was the right thing to do. This is not the fulfillment of a campaign promise, or because suddenly the training of their police and military is complete and Iraq is now safe and secure, but because of disagreements with the new government over a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). The current agreement was set up by the previous administration to expire at the end of 2011. Apparently the Iraqis refused to allow continued immunity from prosecution for our forces for any crimes our soldiers might commit on Iraqi soil. Can you imagine having foreign soldiers here, with immunity from our laws and Constitution, with access to your neighborhood?
Some 39,000 American troops will supposedly be headed home by the end of the year. However, the US embassy in Iraq, which is the largest and most expensive in the world, is not being abandoned. Upwards of 17,000 military personnel and private security contractors will remain in Iraq to guard diplomatic personnel, continue training Iraqi forces, maintain "situational awareness" and other functions. This is still a significant American footprint in the country. And considering that a private security contractor costs the US taxpayer about three times as much as a soldier, we're not going to see any real cost savings. Sadly, these contractors are covered under diplomatic immunity, meaning the Iraqi people will not get the accountability that they were hoping for.
While I applaud the spirit of this announcement - since all our troops should come home from overseas - I have strong reservations about any actual improvements in the situation in Iraq, since plans are already being made to increase the number of troops in surrounding regions. What we really need is a new foreign policy and there is no indication that that is what we have gotten. On the contrary, the administration fully intends to keep troops in Iraq, indefinitely, under a new agreement, while the Iraqis are doing their best to assert their sovereignty and kick us out. Neither are we going to be saving any significant amount of money. My greatest fear, however, is that this troop withdrawal from Iraq will simply pave the way for more endless, wasteful, needless wars.
Posted by cosmos on 11/02/11 04:30 AM
Both Hillary & Barack were going to get us out of the Middle East "Pronto", I guess 4 years to the campaign spirit is what politicians mean by "Right Now".
Posted by Frank on 11/01/11 09:01 PM
R. P. again on target & with insight.
Posted by DwightMann on 11/01/11 08:29 PM
Ron Paul says it best. . .
Posted by josejoe on 11/01/11 05:36 PM
does anyone do the numbers on the terrific negative impact it would economically to cut our defense spending substantially? the reason we police the world is all about the dollars, now. yes, we have a lot of altruistic folks who claim they are worried about the future of the world, but there are a lot more worried about the bottom line!
Posted by oldman67 on 11/01/11 01:39 PM
This is for anyone foolish enough to believe this will end wars in the middle east and in Africa you need to read about all the new drone bases in Africa today. Ethiopia, Somalia, the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa. before 9/11 the JSOC numbered 1800 and now the number is 25,000. This organization has a hit list. Any one, any time and any place they decide to kill someone. more powerful than the CIA, if that is possible. Like AFRICOM, they are operating mostly in Africa today. there will always be terrorist as long as the US want the natural resources, run pipe line or build bases in any country. The new Prime minister of Libya just happened tp be a dual US-Libyan citizen, Abdurraheem el-Keib chosen by the NTC. He just happened to have worked at The Petroleum Institute in the United Arab Emirates. The US built Turkmenistan-Afghan_-Pakistan pipe line is near completion. Until the US has control of the middle east and Africa's resources there will be fare ups and even wars in Africa. Iran has the largest natural gas fields in the world according to the State Dept. Click to view link ' America buys war like children gobble candy." Henry Kissenger.
Posted by Steve L. on 11/01/11 12:20 PM
Foreign policy, at least for the US, seems to be trending from numbingly moronic to perplexingly oxymoronic, at least for everyone outside the small club of puppeteers who drives the decision-making executed by the Departments of Defense and of State.
Dr. Paul raises good questions as to the motive and timing of this latest decision. Financial savings would be a fine coldly reasonable motive; mission completion would be eminently logical as the basis for a drawdown, but neither appears to have much significance. This is the point at which the more jaded observers will certainly look more far afield for some consistent threat of sanity in the latest announcements.
Here's one question that comes to my mind (knowing that there is almost never just one simple reason for anything political). The US has been looking unsuccessfully for a justification to attack Iran. They just took out one Muslim leader, Libya's Gaddafi, who had been making overt moves toward an alliance with Iran and are now working through NATO to cook up a similar attack, possibly Turkish-led, to take out Syria's Assad who has long been an Iranian ally. By leaving Iraq fairly defenseless, any Iranian aggression toward Iraq could provide political cover to move into an active military campaign against Iran. Just my thoughts, but certainly something to consider.
Posted by amanfromMars on 11/01/11 09:17 AM
" I am afraid it is more a case of Uncle Sam just does not care if he is despised. Any complaints? There's a bomb for that, he says. " ... . Posted by Bluebird on 11/01/11 08:48 AM
Yes, indeed there is, Bluebird, and simple incendiaries which aren't really bombs at all, all over cities and in massive retail stores in America is something they can hardly complain about if they are into misbehaving so badly on their empire building missions and asset grabs on foreign soil. And there is no defense against that sort of civil para-military action, for who would be the anonymous faceless enemy in their midst?
Uncle Sam is not very bright, is he?. In fact, is he retarded, for he certainly acts that way. On a bang for bucks basis is such a campaign always way out ahead of anything else.
Posted by Bluebird on 11/01/11 08:48 AM
I am afraid it is more a case of Uncle Sam just does not care if he is despised. Any complaints? There's a bomb for that, he says.
Of course it will be a toss up to see if Iran or Syria is next. Does anyone think that it is simply a case of "time to bring the boys home"?
Posted by amanfromMars on 11/01/11 07:37 AM
And Uncle Sam wonders why he is despised in foreign lands where he is an alien force bringing peace and democracy with death and destruction and all to save the dollar from collapsing and being recognised as a worthless paper giving the impression of wealth? ... ... the video is disturbing right at the end ... . Click to view link
Posted by samix on 11/01/11 07:10 AM
Ron paul said - Declare victory and come home ?
what victory ? It was nothing more than a genocide and poisoning of the population of Iraq. The above sentence should read - We should apologise and come home.