'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama and Iraq: An E-mail Exchange 

Upon submission of his budget to Congress, Obama officially publicized that he intends to keep 50,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely. Earlier in the week, I had the opportunity to have an e-mail exchange with someone about Obama's planned withdrawal of troops, as described in the media.

You might find it interesting in regard to how his supporters go about defending him. Please note that you will have to click on the link for the entirety of Chris Floyd's article about the plan referenced in my first e-mail, out of respect for the intellectual property of Floyd and Counterpunch, as well as trying to prevent this post from becoming even longer.

From: Richard Estes
To: xxxxxxxxxx
Subject: The War in Iraq: Going Around in Circles
Date: Feb 25, 2009 11:24 AM

two things to keep in mind before reading this article

(1) the draw down of troops, as proposed here, mirrors a proposal by one of Rumsfeld's aides in 2005, and subsequently adopted by Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign; and

(2) the Bush administration frequently announced plans for troop reductions without implementing them, because the reality of Iraq had the unfortunate tendency to intrude upon their plans and disrupt them

Obama's Non-Withdrawal Withdrawal Plan

It would be superfluous in us to point out that a plan to "end" a war which includes the continued garrisoning of up to 50,000 troops in a hostile land is, in reality, a continuation of that war, not its cessation. To produce such a plan and claim that it "ends" a war is the precise equivalent of, say, relieving one's bladder on the back of one's neighbor and telling him that the liquid is actually life-giving rain.

But this is exactly what we are going to get from the Obama Administration in Iraq. Word has now come from on high – that is, from "senior administration officials" using "respectable newspapers" as a wholly uncritical conduit for government spin – that President Obama has reached a grand compromise with his generals (or rather, the generals and Pentagon poobahs he has inherited -- and eagerly retained -- from George W. Bush) on a plan to withdraw some American troops from the country that the United States destroyed in an unprovoked war of aggression. Obama had wanted a 16-month timetable for the partial withdrawal; his potential campaign rival in 2012, General David Petraeus, wanted 23 months; so, with Solomonic wisdom, they have now split the difference, and will withdraw a portion of the American troops in 19 months instead.

But the plan clearly envisions a substantial and essentially permanent American military presence in Iraq, dominating the politics and policy of this key oil nation – which was of course one of the chief war aims of the military aggressors in the Bush Administration all along. By implementing his war continuation plan, Obama will complete the work of Bush and his militarist clique. . . . .

From: xxxxxxxxxx
To: Richard Estes
Subject: Re: The War in Iraq: Going Around in Circles
Date: Feb 25, 2009 9:15 PM


Great job in streaming nonpartisan commentary!

The facts and only the facts as we are allowed to see them...

From: Richard Estes
To: xxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: The War in Iraq: Going Around in Circles
Date: Feb 26, 2009 8:02 AM

I assume, then, that you concede the accuracy of what I have posted here, as you haven't actually presented a single fact or argument in contradiction.

But, consider this, from antiwar.com today:

[Just one day after reports came out regarding the Obama Administration’s 19 month withdrawal plan from Iraq, the Pentagon was detailing the enormous number of troops that would remain on the ground after Obama ostensibly fulfills his promise to remove all combat troops, and all the combat they’ll be engaging in.

After the “pullout,” as many as 50,000 troops will remain on the ground, and despite being touted as a withdrawal of combat troops, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell conceded that some would continue to “conduct combat operations,” and Iraq would still be considered a war zone. The rest would be what he described as “enablers.”

President Obama promised a 16-month pullout from Iraq during the campaign, but backed off the promise under pressure from the military. Since then he has spoken of a “responsible military drawdown,” but even as he is set to officially unveil this new plan the question of when the troops will actually be out of Iraq entirely seems like it will remain unanswered.]

Go the original posts for media links relied upon for those statements:


but, I am curious, do you really believe that Rumsfeld didn't have an aide that proposed a similar draw down plan, and that Hillary's proposal during the primaries wasn't similar? if so, go here:


I am, however, hopeful that you will release me from the obligation to post links as to draw down announcements by the Bush administration, as they were numerous, and would require a lot of time to track down

the sad fact is that Obama, after telling people during the primaries that he was going to get the US out of Iraq, is essentially implementing a plan for a permanent US presence, and ongoing violence against the Iraqis, that was contemplated not only by his primary opponent, but by the Defense Department of the President he replaced

It is unfortunate that you find that aggravating, but that is, unfortunately, the reality, unless Obama makes a surprisingly different announcement than what his aides are advising the media to expect

and, I am perfectly willing to have this discussion on the entire list, and people can decide if they are willing to pay a price for Obama progressivism, such as it is, bank bailouts and all, with the lives of Afghans and Iraqis

From: xxxxxxxxxx
To: Richard Estes
Subject: Re: The War in Iraq: Going Around in Circles
Date: Feb 26, 2009 9:10 AM


I'm neither aggravated nor refuting your position. It is not my intent to present an argument in contradiction. I commend you; yet you take it as an assault on your commentary. I have better things to do with my time than fight a progressive agenda when I know its a futile battle. Here's one irrefutable fact: the public, including pundits, experts, think tanks, et. al., is ill informed to make policy decisions given the national security issues. The President of the United States takes an oath to defend the United States Constitution. Ensuing history judges a commander-in-chief's policy and application of executive privilege.

I for one would not judge a President until history has played itself out, or at the very least, unless I am informed enough to do so; not relying on propaganda such as antiwar.com .


From: Richard Estes
To: xxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: The War in Iraq: Going Around in Circles
Date: Feb 26, 2009 10:05 AM

Sadly, you are waiting for the verdict of history, while the proponents of these wars are actively working to continue to perpetuate them in Iraq and Afghanistan and expand them to Pakistan. How many will die in these countries as a result? What is the chance that the people there will respond with violence towards Americans as it is now becoming obvious that the US has no intention to abandon its control over their societies?

Unlike you, I consider myself sufficiently informed to say that these policies are wrong, and should be discontinued. It is our obligation as citizens of this country, even not of the world, to make our independent judgments about these things, and express them, consistent with our values. To abdicate this responsibility through reliance upon the purported special insight of the President and his advisors, an insight that, much like the purported insight of Popes, has shown itself to be faulty numerous times, is something that we should never do.

As for antiwar.com, the report that I posted is supported with links to news articles that say exactly what it says, I guess it is up to you if you want to disregard it. I mean, do you really believe that the troops left behind in Iraq, whether 50,000, 75,000 or 100,000 (don't be surprised if the final number goes back and forth in response to events), won't be engaged in "combat operations". If so, just say so. But, if you want to confirm it, you can go back to the link to the post I provided, and then access the links to the supporting articles themselves.

If we continue to pursue these policies, while pouring unlimited resources into the rescue of people who invested in the US banking and financial system, the future will be grim indeed. And, then, you and I will face the verdict of the people who find themselves suffering gravely as a result. It won't be pleasant.


From: xxxxxxxxxx
To: Richard Estes
Subject: Re: The War in Iraq: Going Around in Circles
Date: Feb 26, 2009 10:16 AM

There's no need to bellittle yourself with personal attacks and character assaults. Unlike you, I consider myself sufficiently informed to say that, sadly, you have yet to learn to agree to disagee. I am an educated individual who has an opinion; whether or not you agree - that's up to you.

And there you have it.

Labels: , , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?