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February 27, 2009 12:53 PM UTC

Obama asks Dems to stay the course in Iraq.

  • by: Barron X


On Friday, 27 February, President Obama presented his plan for withdrawing all US military forces from Iraq within 16 months.  

Except that it will take 19 months.

And we will leave behind more combat power (wielded by fewer troops) than we kept in Germany after we defeated them in WW II.  


For those few of you who voted for Obama in part because he opposed the war and promised to end it,


things change.  

What caught Obama off guard was that David Petraeus and Ray Odierno,

the generals hand-picked by Bush because of their fervent support for escalating when we should have been drawing down back in 2006,

these “commanders on the ground” now recommend staying the course to victory, as a way of rationalizing justifying making sure that the soldiers who have already died in vain won’t have died in vain.  Or some equally smart reason.



To be clear, those who have died did not die in vain.

They died to protect their brothers in arms, and to fulfill the commitments they made to the Army and the nation.  

Their sacrifice and honor do not depend on the outcome, which cannot be anything good because of manifest failures of leadership at the highest levels.  

And the leadership failures at the highest level just keep coming.  


President Obama will explain later today that it would not be “responsible” to let Iraq fall back into chaos.  

Why in the world does he think that those 2 generals have the slightest clue about what will happen if we end the hostile occupation of a country neither of them understands ?  

There is a list of things that the Iraqis supposedly cannot do for themselves, which to some people means that we must do those things for them.  

Not so.

The list includes things like training tactical units and senior leaders.  

Well, for 6 years now we’ve been paying MPRI and CACI and other Private Military Companies to do exactly that.  

The list includes providing rapid reaction forces to bail out units that get in a jam, and close air support during hostile engagements.  

Military contractors have been providing those services since Blackwater extracted the contractor RTI from al-Kut under fire in November 2004.  

Go right down the list, and EVERY SINGLE ITEM on it has been contracted out by the US Army Joint Contracting Command – Iraq.  

When the US Army pays a contractor to conduct combat operations in Iraq, that’s Mercenary services.  Pure and simple.

But if the Iraqi government hires them to do it, that’s their internal business, not ours.  


The responsible thing to do

is to start treating Iraqis with respect and dignity.  

How is it that we think we can run their society better than they can, when we understand nothing about them ?  

Respect and dignity demand that we allow them to operate their own government, according to local mores and culture.  

My big concern, which you may not share, is that our actions reflect the charity of Jesus.  

Foreign hostile infidel military occupation is a recurring theme in the Bible.  

Lessons are not that hard to draw.

The US institutions in Iraq, God bless them, and the US government more generally, treat Iraqis inhumanly, and inhumanely.  

This is not the fault of soldiers; they are doing their jobs the best they can.

The problems are caused by poor leadership, from Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld, to Jeffrey “Torture” Miller and Ray “war crimes” Odierno and a dozen other incompetent generals.  

And now, the torch of poor leadership has been passed.


How long should it take to get out of Iraq 100% ?

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20 thoughts on “Obama asks Dems to stay the course in Iraq.

  1. All that high and mighty anti-war retoric President Obama spouted during the campaign, and now we are seeing that he apparently didn’t mean a word of it.  He is doing everything that Bush was doing in Iraq, and is following the gameplan laid down by the previous administration.  Serious change indeed.

    I have noticed the lack of outrage from the lefties on this site who have been against our presence in Iraq over President Obama continuing in his predecessors footsteps.  I suppose as long as it’s a Democrat keeping the troops there it’s ok.

    1. Do you

      (a) want troops to stay in Iraq?

      (b) want troops out of Iraq?

      (c) want some troops in, some troops out?

      (d) not give a shit about Iraq or the troops, as long as you can criticize Obama?

      Why do I get the feeling (d) is the answer to this question as well as all other political questions for you?

      1. My shots at President Obama (at least I respect him enough to include the honorific) were on how his words when running for election and actions since achieving the White House have diverged.  I will say that now that he is actually responsible for what happens in Iraq from now on he has substantially changed his tune from the days he was running for Senate.  He is moving in a manner that indicates he is actually listening to those on the ground in Iraq, and is doing what he thinks is best, not what will score him points with the left wingnut base.

        1. That’s included in (c), or (a), depending on what you judge the situation to be. Dare to make an actual choice, dare to support an actual policy, dare to put your own predictions on the line and risk being wrong.

          Then maybe people could take you seriously. As long as you intentionally avoid dealing with issues, and focus only on process, your opinions are just kind of wanky.

          1. I reject your imposition of neat little categories on the world.  It’s a cheap debating trick and doesn’t reflect reality.

            If you want my prediction, here it is.  The transition as laid out by the SOFA that the Bush administration signed with Iraq will go smoothly.  President Obama will desperately point to it in 2010 as a foreign policy success in order to distract Americans from the complete hash the Democrats are currently making of the economy.

            And I get the distinct feeling that the only way to be taken “seriously” by you is to slavishly agree with all of your opinions.  Outside of Go Blue and Sir Robin, I have seen no one else posting here that has less use for an opposing view than yourself.

            1. and take many of them seriously. Just not you. Sorry.

              As for “neat little categories,” I think “all of one, all of the other, or some of both” pretty much includes every possibility.

              Of course, actually taking a stand and choosing an opinion, rather than just booing and hissing from the balcony, requires responsibility.  

    1. Never during the campaign did he say it would take 6 months. He’s been saying it would take 18 months every time he talked about the war.

      I think people are willing to wait 18 months to undo something that took years to screw up.

      I also find it extremely disingenuous that conservatives like Cologeek above are railing Obama for not following through on his promises. If he had said 6-10 months, then you’d be saying he was doing it irresponsibly.

      The real problem, of course, isn’t Iraq. Afghanistan makes Iraq look like the Iroquois Confederation. I predict that by the end of Obama’s tenure as President, the next Chief Executive will be making a similar plan for Afghanistan. If only we hadn’t wasted our resources on Iraq instead of finishing the job in Afghanistan first.

      1. .

        If you go back to the pre-Surge troop level,

        today’s plan only cuts that in half.  

        And the 50,000 strong force –

        what in my day was about the size of a Corps –

        is going to be embedded in Iraqi combat units, and providing units for “surgical strikes” on “terrorist” targets.

        How are those not combat missions ?


        The one thing that I liked about today’s speech is that the President explained why he thinks we should stay in Iraq for the indefinite future.

        31 December 2011 is just a rhetorical construct, which we will convince the Iraqi leaders to remove as a milestone.  Or we will remove them.  

        Now pro-American Democrats like Feingold have a playing field on which to contend with the Obama-military-industrial complex.  


        1. “Immediately upon taking office, Obama will give his Secretary of Defense and military commanders a new mission in Iraq: ending the war. The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased, directed by military commanders on the ground and done in consultation with the Iraqi government. Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 – more than 7 years after the war began.

          Under the Obama-Biden plan, a residual force will remain in Iraq and in the region to conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions against al Qaeda in Iraq and to protect American diplomatic and civilian personnel. They will not build permanent bases in Iraq, but will continue efforts to train and support the Iraqi security forces as long as Iraqi leaders move toward political reconciliation and away from sectarianism.”

          You can go back through his speeches and interviews over the last two years and see he was saying very much the same thing. The exact details may or may not be the same, but the broad strokes are what is important.

          You can argue that Dec 31, 2011 is just a “rhetorical construct”. I’ve heard some argue that Obama has no intention to close Gitmo with in a year despite signing an Executive order to do so. If you want to criticize Obama for hypothetical, that is your prerogative. I’ll stick to criticizing him for things he actually does or doesn’t do.

      2. on how having run on how he would change what Bush was doing in Iraq, he is now following the plan set up by the previous administration.  That is what I find disengenuous.  If the man sitting in the Oval Office wants to change how things are done, that is his prerogative.  But I can certainly point out where his campaign rhetoric and his actions part place.

        1. you would realize that while Bush was criticizing Obama’s plan for withdrawal, the Bush Administration was slowly modifying their position to match the Obama plan. To act as if this isn’t a major policy switch from the last Administration is either completely naive or disingenuous.  

        2. and the Democratic Congressional victory in 2006, I highly doubt that Bush’s war policy would have shifted as drastically as it did at the end. Ultimately it was the Iraqi government being willing to stand up for itself on the SOFA, and the Bush Administration caved. But Obama’s candidacy made it possible.

          So Obama may indeed be following the same procedure that Bush had set in motion, but if you think Bush’s policy shift was isolated form the political reality, then you are mistaken.

          1. Basic Conservative argument from Feb 2007 to November 4th, 2008; Obama wants to withdrawal from Iraq immediately! This would be a catastrophe!

            Basic Liberal response from Feb 2007 to November 4th, 2008; that’s not actually what Obama wants to do. He is advocating a gradual withdrawal with a tentative time line of 16 months but says that of course he would listen to the opinions and advice of his military commanders and would pay attention to conditions on the ground.

            Basic Conservative argument today; HAHA! Liberal suckers, we told you Obama would never keep his promise of withdrawing from Iraq! Fools!

    2. .

      Obama, on the other hand, was talking about getting out of Iraq for the last 2 years.

      Today he presented a plan to stay the course, a plan to be ready to ramp back up in case the helpless Iraqis need us and cry out for help.  

      As one commentator said, this is the plan of David Petraeus.  

      This plan maximizes US presence within the boundaries of the SOFA agreement, which we will do everything we can to get the Iraqis to waive.


      I was a battalion logistics officer for a mechanized infantry battalion many years ago.  It is my professional opinion that we could be out of Iraq, 100%, in 6 weeks.  

      If we want to preserve the gains of the “Surge,” which includes the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad and most other parts of the country, we could draw down more gradually, taking time to transition local control at provincial and municipal levels from US military officers to indigenous local leaders.  That approach only needs 7 months, tops.  

  2. You mean Obama’s going to do basically what Petraeus thinks is a good idea?  You mean a guy with almost ZERO foreign policy experience isn’t going to chart a course that, if screwed up, could make him look like a complete dumbass (to put it most eloquently)?

    There are going to be troops in Iraq for decades to come…people pretending that’s not the case aren’t being honest with themselves.  

    It may not be what we want, but unless you were supporting Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich, you should have known what course your candidate of choice would follow.  That course was most certainly NOT a rapid exit from Iraq.

    This “poor leadership” is good politics.  And like it or not, the president and every action he takes is made up of a good chunk of politics…

      1. .

        The Petraeus Plan is the plan developed by Addington, in Cheney’s office, to ensure that Bush didn’t get tagged with the blame for Iraq.  

        Obama’s embrace of the plan to dump blame for failure in Iraq on Bush’s successor may not be the smartest move.  

        Jones was hired as inoculation against the insinuations that Dabee says Obama is afraid of.


        1. and you may not like who came up with it.  But the rest of the country disagrees…that’s why it’s good politics.

          Generally, do you approve or disapprove of Barack Obama’s plan to pull most American troops out of Iraq

          within the next nineteen months?

          Approve ……………………………………..  80 [259]

          Disapprove …………………………………  14  

           Not sure ……………………………………  6

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