Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Iraq: Yesterday's News

I’m a bit surprised that there hasn’t been more attention paid to the first phase of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq cities. Most of the news media hysteria has been focused on the recent election in Iran and the resultant protests. Not that Iran isn’t newsworthy yet when you consider the investment this nation has made in our ill-advised attack against Iraq, the trillion dollar price tag, over 4,000 U.S. troops killed, over one million dead Iraqi, and millions more forced to flee as refugees, that there would be a bit more coverage of Iraq than what is now occurring.

While we are on the topic of price tags what did we buy? Iraq now has possibly the most corrupt government in the world. The infrastructure is still in dismal condition, the land itself has been polluted with depleted uranium, radioactive material that goes on killing which has no doubt gotten into the water and therefore the food chain and of course into people. There are countless unexploded cluster bomblets and land mines still waiting to kill and maim. One could say that the gift we gave the people in Iraq is the kind of gift that keeps on killing, day in, day out, year after year. And what do we get out of it? Contracts to drill Iraqi oil for the giant oil corporations – such a deal.

Juan Cole had the following to say.


T.S. Eliot wrote at the end of "Hollow Men" in 1926, "This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but a whimper." He may as well have been talking about the war George W. Bush launched in Iraq in 2003.

The end of routine, independent patrolling of major Iraqi cities by US troops today is a major milestone in modern Iraqi history.

But the US public has moved on, little interested in the foreign wars its armed forces are still fighting, and worried much more about the long-term consequences of the Republican Party's Ponzi-scheme economy of 2001-2008, the collapse of which has cost them or their family and friends their jobs. As in the 1930s, even celebrity gossip and the glitz of Hollywood are more present in people's minds than distant armies on the march. The public and the mass media mysteriously ignored the Afghanistan War right from 2002, and now Iraq is being given the same treatment, even though there are 130,000 or so US troops in Iraq and 38,000 in Afghanistan, and both contingents are still fighting and dying.

I think that is pretty much on the money though I don’t agree on all the particulars. Is the June 30 date truly a milestone? Perhaps. However redeploying the troops is not the same as withdrawing them from Iraq. According to Juan Cole’s numbers there are 38,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan which is touted by Obama and the Democrats as the “right war” the war that Obama has made the centerpiece of his foreign policy yet the estimated number of “residual” troops who will stay in Iraq after 2011 far exceeds that number. Who’s kidding who?

People keep saying we are pulling out of Iraq but they keep ignoring those residual troops. I know I keep harping on this residual topic but the way it is ignored by people who really ought to know better just blows me away. And there is one more aspect of this which would be that even if we withdrew all the troops what is to keep which ever president that happens to be in office from sending them right back again on whatever pretense?

Though the Afghanistan/Pakistan war shall no doubt become extremely important as it is likely to be the death of American supremacy on the world stage it has yet to reach that point. It wasn’t all that long ago that the Iraq War was center stage with liberals howling at the moon over George W. Bush and his lies that entered us into that war. I guess that was then and this is now.


At June 30, 2009 11:18 AM, Anonymous Brian M said...

My only skepticism towards this excellent post is the quote "the republican Party's Ponzi Scheme economy." Let's be honest here (and I know you are!) the disaster is fully bipartisan. Mentioning the Republicans alone is partisan wrangling.

At June 30, 2009 12:00 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

I agree completely that it was bipartisan. Obviously I don’t agree with Juan Cole when it comes to Obama and the Democrats. And though there are things I don’t agree with in his post I thought his point about Iraq being ignored was quite true. I didn’t want to critique his post concerning the Democrats and I tend to just tune out his views on American politics any way. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile reading his posts since he does offer valuable insights concerning Iraq. It’s not like I hate his guts just because he supports Obama however mistakenly.

At June 30, 2009 1:14 PM, Anonymous Brian M said...

Oh, I know. I was just being peevish. :) I don't even mind some of his writing.

Keep up the excellent writing!


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