Saturday, August 28, 2010


President Bush stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and declare "Mission

Accomplished" and combat operations were over in Iraq. President Obama has announced

the removal of the last "combat" troops from Iraq, leaving a mere 50,000 Americans behind.

Do you see a difference? Is President Obama's action much different than President Bush's?

Did we accomplish the mission in Iraq? Did we win?

According to many analysts, we did win. Under the leadership of General David Petraeus,

we "surged" to victory. You remember the surge, thousands of extra troops added to calm

the country down and allow the Iraqis to form a government, decide how to divide oil revenues,

and reduce the influence of Iran. The "surge" was to give the Iraqi Parliament "breathing"

room to figure out what to do with the Kurds in the north who want independence and control

of the oil-rich region near Kirkuk. Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds would have time to learn to work

together and share power.

The "surge" reduced violence. However, it did not accomplish any of the other goals. The

Iraqi people elected a new Parliament in March. There is still no government. Prime Minister

al-Maliki was defeated, but won't let go. Iran's influence appears to be strengthening. The

Kurds are still demanding autonomy and there is no oil revenue legislation. Violence is on

the rise again as Shiite and Sunni seem to be preparing to have at it again. Does any of this

smell like victory to you? Does any of this justify as many as five thousand dead and 250,000

hurt and wounded Americans and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis?

The Iraqi government cannot provide basic services to it's people. Electricity is spotty

at best. Clean water is a scarce commodity. The Iraqi police force and army cannot provide

basic security needs. Our troops have left for Kuwait. How many will be stationed there ready

to return if things go south politically?

There has never been a clear definition of what victory in Iraq would look like. It's

probably better that way because Iraq in its current state certainly isn't a success story. Colin

Powell said we shouldn't use American military force unless we have a clean exit strategy. His

doctrine was ignored in Iraq and continues to be ignored in Afghanistan.

The architect of the "surge" now says we may have to stay in Afghanistan long after the

summer of 2011 (the date Obama promised to start drawing down troops after his version of

the "surge"). I told you, in a piece a few months ago, that General Petraeus would start to hint

that withdrawal is not a good idea. Well, he isn't hinting anymore. He's just saying it outright.

In the New York Times and on Meet the Press, Petraeus cut Obama's knees out saying he

might oppose the President's desire to reduce the number of troops next summer. Petraeus

says we finally have the resources in place to accomplish our "goals".

Which "goals" is he talking about? Will the additional troops reduce the corruption and

unpopularity of the Karzai government? Will more troops stop Pakistan from aiding the

Taliban? How will additional troops prevent Karzai from dissolving anti-corruption squads

in order to protect his own family and allies? Will more troops change the Afghan police from

organized thugs into a real police force? Will more troops give us the same kind of "victory"

Petraeus achieved in Iraq?

Americans are dying at an ever faster rate in Afghanistan. The New York Times says

Petraeus is worried about his legacy. He "won" in Iraq and now must "win" in Afghanistan.

Seeing how well Iraq is going these days, I just can't wait to see what "victory" looks like in

Afghanistan. How do you think General Petraeus would answer Cindy Sheehan's question

about what her son or the sons and daughters of America are dying for these days...the ego

of a "victorious" general or the re-election of a president? What do you think? I welcome

your comments and rebuttals. Please send them to

1 comment:

  1. Obama is living up to his promise of leaving Iraq, but I'm sure he has no ullusions that we accomplished anything there, except to engage in a war for profit. And no matter what Obama's next move is, the short-attention-spanned Republican followers (Not the politicians; They know exactly what they did) will accuse him of any and every thing that went wrong with the 'war'. You can see how their spin machine has gone into overdrive to smear Obama's name. I've never seen such a mob mentality against a President, Bush included.

    But they continue to chip away at Obama's credibility, as it's their only hope of winning the 2012 elections. They hope that their constituants are just gullible and short-minded enough to forget who put us in the predicaments we're in in the first place. Just offer them a rally, with jugs of free fool-aid, and you'll have them waving their flags in blind patriotism.

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

    After watching the Palin/Beck rally today, I think that's already begun.

    Be well, Bernie