“Troops out now”. We hear it all the time. It is the opposite of “Stay the course.” But how many troops are going to leave? How many troops are going to stay? Those answers from the candidates, may surprise you.
Two candidates have forthrightly said, we need to pull all troops out now…….Both of those candidates, Kucinich and Richardson make up less than a combined 2% of all poll numbers. The big movers and shakers, Hillary, Obama, and Edwards have much different messages.
When we hear “withdrawal of American troops from Iraq” we think of all our troops coming home to parades and flags. However what is really being said, is these major candidates support the withdrawal of “combat troops” or “combat brigades.” These effective fighting forces, at the most, make up only 45% of all troops in Iraq. The rest, who are unmentioned, one can assume are to remain there for a long time, especially now that we have a new embassy and need to maintain our new military bases.
Why? Because any serious contender for President cannot publicly be for the chaotic fall of any country in the Middle East……..in other words….the loss of oil….
So the Democratic front-runners must promise voters that they will end the war — with not too many ideologically laden ifs, ands, or buts — while they assure the foreign-policy establishment that they will never abandon the drive for hegemony in the Middle East (or anywhere else). In other words, the candidates have to be able to talk out of both sides of their mouths at the same time. Ira Chernus: The Democrats’ Iraqi Dilemma: Questions Unasked, Answers Never Volunteered
“It is time to begin ending this war…. Start bringing home America’s troops…. within 90 days ” says Hillary Clinton. Excuse me but did anyone hear the word “all”? It seems to have been casually omitted. Previously she said this: “We have remaining vital national security interests in Iraq…. What we can do is to almost take a line sort of north of, between Baghdad and Kirkuk, and basically put our troops into that region” One reporter admits that Clinton expects U.S. troops to be in Iraq when she ends her second term in 2017. She wants 80,000 more troops with an emphasis on special forces.
Obama is not pulling all the troops out either…..To control everything and everyone, he wants “the strongest, best-equipped military in the world.… A 21st century military to stay on the offense.” That, he says, will take at least 92,000 more soldiers and Marines. Like Hillary, Barack would remove all “combat brigades” from Iraq, but keep U.S. troops there “for a more extended period of time” — even “redeploy additional troops to Northern Iraq” — to support the Kurds, train Iraqi forces, fight al Qaeda, “reassure allies in the Gulf,” “send a clear message to hostile countries like Iran and Syria,” and “prevent chaos in the wider region.” “Most importantly, some of these troops could be redeployed to Afghanistan…. to stop Afghanistan from backsliding toward instability.”
Obama plans to use redeployment as a carrot. The redeployment could be temporarily suspended if the parties in Iraq reach an effective political arrangement that stabilizes the situation and they offer us a clear and compelling rationale for maintaining certain troop levels.
Edwards goes further than either Obama or Clinton in spelling out that we “will also need some presence in Baghdad, inside the Green Zone, to protect the American Embassy and other personnel”. Edwards continues: : “I would put stabilization first.” “Stabilization” is yet another establishment code word for insuring U.S. control, as Edwards certainly knows. His ultimate aim, he says, is to ensure that the U.S. will “lead and shape the world.”
The top Democrats agree that we must leave significant numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq. This is remarkably similar to the Republican position. However,…..both sides politely seem to dismiss any mention of the number of Iraqis and/or servicemen killed during our lengthy stay………..
Well, perhaps it’s time Americans started asking such questions. A lost war should be the occasion for a great public debate on the policies and the geopolitical assumptions that led to the war
Tomsdispatch.com puts the challenge before us in clear terms. “Bush, Cheney, and their supporters say the most important message is a reassuring one: “When the U.S. starts a fight, it stays in until it wins. You can count on us.” For key Democrats, including congressional leaders and major candidates for the imperial Presidency, the primary message is a warning: “U.S. support for friendly governments and factions is not an open-ended blank check. If you are not producing, we’ll find someone else who can.”
This is a debate about tactics; not about goals. Among the American people a greater debate is raging. At stake is whether America should be allowed to create a war to further certain interests of its own economy? Or………… should America agree to play by the same rules it insists that all other’s abide by: thou shalt not invade another country for resources. At first glance it appears that in their courtship with the powerful elite for those delicious campaign dollars, the leading Democrats have placed their foot in the very same traps that snapped shut upon the feet of the Republicans.
It is time that all Americans look hard at this duplicity.
Perhaps in such a reflective light, many of the minor candidates, such as Biden, do appear to have the better shine after all…………..