Foreign Policy

Obama Finally Withdrawing (Most) Troops From Iraq


President Barack Obama has announced that "the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year," though, as CNN notes, that might not be entirely accurate:

Of the 39,000 troops in Iraq, only about 150, a negligible force, will remain to assist in arms sales.

Still, the winding down of a conflict that cost the lives of nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers and likely more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians is a welcome development to many Americans. Polling has shown a steady decrease in enthusiasm for all of the Middle East wars, with a 2010 Gallup poll finding that 55 percent of Americans think sending troops to Iraq was a mistake and only 41 percent saying it wasn't. Additionally, a CNN poll found in 2010 that 69 percent of Americans are opposed to the Iraq War.

So, the question is this: What took Obama so long? And why is he keeping troops in Afghanistan, in a war that is nearly as unpopular with the American people as Iraq is? One explanation comes from Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, who says that "born-again neocon" Obama just learned to stop worrying and love the bomb. Another theory was explored by when we posited that the near-disappearance of the antiwar movement meant that the American left just doesn't care all that much about foreign policy unless a Republican is in office.

While the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement has given a new home to some of the antiwar protesters, Obama's forays into Libya and Uganda have been either tacitly accepted or even applauded by mainstream liberals.

Obama also says he plans to bring troop levels in Afghanistan down by the end of this year… to the same levels they were when he first took office. The reduction of troops in Iraq is a landmark moment, and will likely regain Obama some of his antiwar cred with certain voters. But it's still not clear that the Nobel Peace Prize-winning POTUS has done all that much to distinguish himself from his predecessor on matters of foreign policy.

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  1. So, the question is this: What took Obama so long?

    He had no plan or any idea what to do. So he followed the already in place Bush plan.

    1. How long was it supposed to take?

      1. Exactly as long as the SOFA Bush negotiated in 2008 said it would, three years.

        1. So Obama did the right thing?

          1. By following the Bush negotiated SOFA, sure. Good for him.

            1. Bush declared mission accomplished a long time ago.

              1. No he didn’t. He gave a speech on an aircraft carrier that had a sign behind him saying “mission accomplished” about the ship’s return home. If you were not illiterate, you could read what he actually said. He said nothing of the sort.

                He never declared mission accomplished. That is just a lie fed to morons like yourself.

                1. No he just landed on an aircraft carrier in an S-3B Viking with a banner reading “mission accomplished” behind him that was commissioned by the White house, said major combat operations were over, and that Iraq was a “victory” in the war on terror.

                  You got me.

                  1. The sign was not commission by the White House. That is a lie Tony. And he never said the war in Iraq was over. He said just the opposite.

                    1. Maybe you’re not caught up yet.

                      “Bush, in October 2003, disavowed any connection with the “Mission Accomplished” message. He said the White House had nothing to do with the banner; a spokesman later said the ship’s crew asked for the sign and the White House staff had it made by a private vendor.

                    2. the ship’s crew asked for the sign

                      They asked for it dipshit because it was about “their mission being accomplished”. The fact that the White House made it for them doesn’t mean anything.

                      I know you are stupid Tony. But Jesus you can at least try to read you dumb fuck. MNG is dishonest. You to your credit at least try to be honest.

                    3. The White House PAID TO HAVE THE FUCKING SIGN PRINTED. They copped to it being a PR stunt, then tried to weasel out of it with constantly shifting excuses, one of which you’ve apparently latched onto in your neverending quest to make the worst president in US history seem not quite so bad.

                    4. Tony I don’t need to make him not seem so bad. Obama does it for me every day.

                      And go back and read Bush’s speech. He never said the war was over or even the hard part of it. You know it. You just choose to lie about it because that is what you people do.

                    5. He said the combat mission was over and that it was a victory in the war on terror.

                    6. “When he received an advance copy of the speech, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld took care to remove any use of the phrase “Mission Accomplished” in the speech itself. Later, when journalist Bob Woodward asked him about his changes to the speech, Rumsfeld responded: “I was in Baghdad, and I was given a draft of that thing to look at. And I just died, and I said my God, it’s too conclusive. And I fixed it and sent it back? they fixed the speech, but not the sign.”[11”


            2. “”By following the Bush negotiated SOFA, sure. Good for him.”

              Up to a point. Acutally the SOFA allowed troops to say if Iraq wanted them. Obama isn’t the one pulling the trigger. Iraqis do not want to give American forces immunity anymore, so we are taking are marbles and going home. Of course, the Iraqis could change their mind.

              1. They are following the SOFA. Under the SOFA they can ask us to leave. And they are. There is no getting around that obama promised to leave in a year and ended up staying three. We could have re-elected Bush and gotten the same result.

      2. He said within one year, he lied, get over it.

      3. He’s the commander in chief–how long do you think it would take for him to do so?

  2. Why now? Election day is near.

    1. Sad but true.

  3. The reduction of troops in Iraq … will likely regain Obama some of his antiwar cred with certain stupid voters.


  4. About fucking time.

  5. So, the question is this: wtf is the fact that soldiers will be left for security reasons? Let me think of places we have had gone to war, announced it was over , and still have soldiers there…..hmmm

    Reminds me of my last blog:…..the-facts/

    1. Nothing reminds me of your blog.

      1. One of these days, I will have a Gatsby party, and invite all the H&R, and I still will have no clue who the fuck you are then


    Obama warns other dictators they could be next. Having the Army tied down in Iraq prevents the starting of other wars. Obama is getting his Neo Con on and the Bush doctrine of democracy in the middle east is back.

    1. It must leave you with a lot of free time outsourcing your thoughts to Matt Drudge.

      1. That is the Guardian. It is a leftwing British News Paper. Matt Drudge doesn’t appear on the biline.

        1. And you found it during one of your regular perusals of The Guardian.

          At least Drudge was quoting the author when he headlined with the “you’re next” bit, even though Obama’s actual words on the subject seem to have gotten lost in the shuffle.

          1. I read the Guardian and the Daily Mail at least once or twice a week. The Guardian is like reading your posts only if you had an IQ above 80.

            1. Switch to the Independent and the Telegraph. You’ll still have one left- and one right-wing paper.

              1. Yeah. But then there would be no hot chicks. I love the Mail.

        1. Shouldn’t you be out hunting and gathering or something?

          1. I am not White Indian, and I never deny who I am.

            I have not even read his/her posts

            1. You are a strong suspect. It seems to fit your weird sense of humor.

              1. I’d admit it. I’m stuck on chapter 15, and coincidently WI started when I was not reading in August, and September but truthfully.

                I don’t know his game, except for people keep telling me I am a “hunter/gatherer”

                1. Fair enough. It has to be a regular though.

                  1. Then think of a WW2 prison camp: who keeps accusing me of being the traitor, and acts like he was a victim of the bad guys girl?

    2. Although Obama did not name Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, it was he Obama had in mind when he said the rule of the iron fist in the Middle East is inevitably coming to an end.

      Au contraire, I’m pretty sure Obama had in mind Benjamin Netanyahu.

    3. In reality, it never left.

      But you’re right, the success of the Libyan operation basically guarantees that the Bush Doctrine is going to continue rolling right along, no matter what happens next November.

      Get ready for plenty more wars to come. If I’m one of the dictators left in the Middle East, I’m not sleeping very comfortable right now.

      1. There are only so many countries that sit on bunch of oil.

        1. And Obama plans to bomb all of them.

          1. In a much less clusterfuckish manner than his simian predecessor.

            1. Resents his father and is taking it out on Africa.

            2. ….when your slaughtering innocent civilians on other continents, huh? Yeah Kill, Monster Dunk, Mother FUckers.

              1. BUGSPLAT obama grin hillary cackle.

            3. At least we know you support wars now.

              1. No, you support wars. I am for transitioning to sustainable energy. You guys are the ones who want to continue drilling oil from the earth for as long as possible. Hence, you support the Oil Wars, not I.

                1. Africa, then denounce Obama.

                2. …..just in time for Tonee to put on his ghoulish Obama-the-Killer-Klown costume to thrill the party-goers.

                3. What oil wars do we have to fight to drill in the Gulf? To drill in Alaska? To tap the Canadian tar sands?

                4. I never understood how wars for oil got a bad name. Going to war over resources is one of the better reasons out there.

            4. son and intellectual heir to your W Bush.

            5. …beyond reach of sane and sound advice (though considering Hillary and the other folks around him there is little of that forthcoming anyway) and completely oblivious to the consequences of his actions….Remind you of someone else??

          2. Watch out Canada, you could be next!

            1. They keep infiltrating the country with hockey and awesome doughnut shops. They are asking for it.

              1. Tim Horton’s is far from awesome, I’m afraid.

                1. Tim Horton’s is awesome you philistine.

          3. I dont think oil has much to do with it. If the US wanted to pilfer oil then they simply could arrange a UN style humanitarian intervention in a country like Nigeria. Or we would invade Venezuela, much short supply line. Rather this continous meddling in the middle east is an old war policy stuck on autopolit.

            1. I don’t think so either. I was just being poking the sock puppet.

            2. Venezuela, an American neighbor, would be much nastier to invade than those anonymous and unknown African countries. But I see Obama has designs on Mexico, so go figure.

              1. But I see Obama has designs on Mexico, so go figure.

                Obama ’bout to get his James Polk on!

      2. Get ready for plenty more wars to come. If I’m one of the dictators left in the Middle East, I’m not sleeping very comfortable right now.

        Exactly, which is why Item #1 on my dictator shopping list would be serious WMDs and a credible means of using them. Notice that we aren’t bombing North Korea, despite their multiple uses of force outside their borders.

        The more places/countries that get the damned things, the much more likely it is that one of them will be used, whether through malevolence or ordinary incompetence.

        1. You are correct Grey Ghost. That is why we should have never gone after Gadafi. The message should have been “give up your WMDs and you can do what you like internally”. That is harsh, but I would rather live with ordinary tin pot losers like Gadafi than a world full of WMDs

      3. If I’m one of the dictators left in the Middle East, I’m not sleeping very comfortable right now.

        Except if I’m a dictator allied with the US. The rulers of Saudi Arabia or Bahrain should sleep soundly.

        1. Not with a fanatical Shia government in Iran having nukes they shouldn’t.

  7. “!ON TO AFRIKA!”

      1. P.S. Canada is ours too

        1. I got your asses outta Libya. I can easily hit Canada with death drones if I feel like it.

  8. the American left just doesn’t care all that much about foreign policy unless a Republican is in office.


    1. Word 2.

  9. I for one want to congratulate the tireless efforts of the anti-war left, whose persistance and consistency in opposing….


    …. hello?…. anyone? I said THE WAR IS OVER!! WE ENDED IT!!!


    …no…..blood….oil….? Halliburton….?


    Goddamnit, where is everyone?

    1. This. Obama lied, and the anti-war movement died.

      1. So you showed up to protest and couldn’t find any lefties?

        Or you’re just asserting your moral superiority because you never bothered in the first place?

        1. I showed up at the Ellipse bright and early this morning looking for Cindy Sheehan, Sean Penn, and Susan Sarandon, only to find the area as vacant as the space between your ears.

          1. The “progressive leftie anti-republican-in-office-wars” crowd ditched her.

            1. After they took advantage of her grief.

        2. :Tony|10.21.11 @ 3:52PM|#

          Or you’re just asserting your moral superiority because you never bothered in the first place?

          Cha-ching! Thats right. I cheer-led the war from the start. I wanted all thats oil!!!

          No, I unfortunately opposed the war on grounds that had nothing to do with a Halliburton-Cheney-Jews conspiracy to steal teh oils, and was predicated on the idea that, while War is perfectly OK and even kinda fun at times, they tend to cost way too fucking much and should generally be avoided unless there is a legit casus belli, a clear and achievable goal, and an executable exit plan within a reasonable time frame…

          This particular view was not much echoed or shared by the “ITS ILLEGAL!”/moralizing leftist crowd who promoted everything from truther-conspiracies to insisting that we link any anti-war argument to the palestinian right of return, or storm public hearings with Code Pink lesbian-socialists…etc, etc.

          Meaning, they were assholes then, assholes now, and I’m making fun of them for *their* failed moral superiority, having abandoned any pretence at caring about War once a Democrat is prosecuting it. They see no irony in giving peace prizes to the only leader in the world currently engaged in offensive operations in at least 2 african , 1 middle eastern, and 1 central asian nation…. Which i think technically qualifies as a unilateral ‘world war’. but don’t worry = the “Bush Did it First!!” argument will make sense for at least another term, won’t it?

          Your snotty, childish, “I know you are but what am I”?-retort is par for the course behavior from the fucking hypocrites you ostensibly pretend to be defending.

          Feel free to fuck yourself with an eggbeater at any time. Have a great weekend.

          1. That is a fucking great rant Gilmore.

            1. And p.s. in the event you need convincing, just search for many instances when I faced-off with commenters here over the case being made for war in iraq. My biggest complaint was that most opposition was based on political disagreement rather than actually making a substansive case for why the Iraq War was a bad idea. They preferred the moral high ground… playing christ figures, as usual, and demonizing the ‘other party’ rather than maintaining any cogent rationale against the war.

              And now that i think of it, Tony, I don’t recall you speaking up here on the issue at all

              but please, dont let it get in the way of your patting yourself on the back.

              1. I probably argued with you about Iraq. But saying it was the wrong thing to do because it wasn’t in our interest is a fair argument. The whole “it is an illegal war” “war crime” bullshit was just that, bullshit. And now those same people are all behind Libya. It just drives me crazy.

                1. Agreed. And you and I did face off about Iraq once or twice.

                  It was amazing how often I’d end up arguing with *other* anti-war people because I didn’t think their arguments either made any sense or had basis in fact. I was like, “Invading Iraq does not deliver me Osama’s head on a stick any faster, which is what we should be focused on…” And they’d be like, “Man, you’re ignoring the fact this is all about the vast oil conspiracy and corporations and regional hegemony…”

                  I’d be like, “Listen you stupid fucking hippy = put fucking Mother Jones down…read Foreign Affairs and hear from actual *military figures* what the best case against war in Iraq is, because when you open your mouth? All I hear is stupid with a side order of fucking delusional. You don’t need to *disprove* the Bush arguments either = you can just point out, that *even if that shit were *true*, its still a stupid reason for not Killing Al Qaeda as fast and visciously as we can. Fuck iraq. We can bomb them for another 10 years, whereas the actual enemy is in Pakistan…”

                  Whatever. Their “opposition” of the war was similar to their “opposition” of Wall St. They didn’t know what the fuck they were talking about and couldn’t make a case that made any other sense other than, “capitalism and republicans are evil and what they do is probably illegal in some fashion”

                2. Who are these people? I get the feeling you made them up in your head, and are angering yourself over figments of your imagination.

                  Every single one of the presidents in my lifetime has engaged military action. What Bush did was lower the bar of morality and competency so staggeringly that Libya looks like an unmitigated success in comparison.

                  What you want is for liberals to ease your conscience for you.

                  1. Who are these people?

                    Toney has achieved a new low for self-awareness.

              2. They preferred the moral high ground… playing christ figures, as usual, and demonizing the ‘other party’ rather than maintaining any cogent rationale against the war.

                >Initiates slow clap.

                I have to disagree about the initial war being too expense. It was the damned nation-building that was expensive. Invading was cheaper than the Status Quo. You still make a better case than just about every anti-war lefty or ‘noninterventionist’ asshole. I’d say your argument is better than most Reason writer’s argument.

                1. I have to disagree about the initial war being too expense

                  The distinction you want to make about “initial” (e.g. ‘major combat operations’) and later efforts (transition government, efforts at stabilization, eventual ‘surrrgh’, present day effective capitulation) is a meaningless one. Each stage necessarily leads to the other, and all were attempts to repair failed/incomplete/insufficient elements of the prior approaches/strategies. You can’t really have one without the other. Its a rhetorical distinction that has little real basis.

                  As part of war planning, you don’t just play a little ‘Risk’ on a map with army-men then say, “Ok, that’s the plan, we’ll figure out the other shit on the way!’.

                  In fact in any and all major operations, everything up to and including the logistics, communications, contingency plans, political coordination, psyops, information and intelligence collection/dissemination, and agreed upon measurements of eventual conditions for ‘victory’->”lets get the fuck out of here” is mapped out in heavy detail beforehand, in cases many years beforehand, in war games, doctrinal review, military academic circles, think tanks, etc.

                  In a summary, the idea of making the initial phase “small and efficient” (not inexpensive per se) is precisely what has made the entire operation the clusterfuck and money-hole that it has been in total. Try thinking of people who’ve tried rewiring their homes rather than get a professional contractor… and end up burning down the house. Obviously thats a pretty lame analogy, but good enough for the simple point.

                  I recommend the book Cobra II by Michael Gordon. It is *extremely* detailed reporting of the planning process leading up to the Iraq invasion, the invasion itself…up through the end of 2004 I think…. (I might be wrong about how far in it covers things – i’ve read maybe 7-8 books about the war and I mix titles up) The book is remarkable in the level of access it had to people intimate with the planning process. I believe a lot of info leaked out mainly because many, many people got their toes stepped on or shoved aside completely, and when things started to go south, these people wanted the public to know where the blame mainly lay. Obviously there is potential and likelihood for biased reportage, or backstabbing, but it large, the book gets all the important facts out there.

                  As a primary point = “Nation building” is something I dislike as a popular meme. it was basically invented by ’90s republicans specifically to criticize military interventions in Somalia and the Balkans and Haiti. It is not in fact an actual military of strategic term, nor is it a political objective necessarily. Its basically a made-up idea, used to tar unpopular long and protracted engagements, and/or the use of the military for political stabilization actions that many in the DoD consider ‘not our job’. (Send the blue hats!/Smurfs). The term ‘nation building’ is used too often in popular parlance and I think distracts people from a better and more complete understanding of war-fighting and political necessity, and how actual conflicts need to be resolved in an ordered manner rather than just “blow shit up and forget about the rest”. Things dont really work that way and never have.

                  There’s basically a few strategies you can fight a war. (see this nice menu…..tegies.htm)

                  In practice, one or two are almost always tried before a final strategy is resorted to.

                  The fact is, very few wars have ever been fought where there was no ‘reconstruction’/reconciliation/pacification element. The degree of success or failure of these secondary/follow-on efforts depend highly on the effectiveness of the early “major combat” efforts, and of the successful coordination of all elements cited way above (e.g. political, psychological, intel, logistics, etc)

                  In short, we fucked the thing up because we tried to do the thing “lean and mean”, making some very long and risky bets on things working out wildly well in areas that almost *never* work out easily. And it wasn’t about “saving money”, really. Rumsfeld et al (Pearle, Wolfie, others) wanted to achieve a decided precedent= we do things a new way, and if it works, we will be able to do it this way again, and establish a new model for American force projection that shifts the balance of power and influence in a fundamental way.

                  You could almost say they decided to use Iraq as an ‘experiment’. Or rather, the experiment might have been afghanistan, but they learned the wrong lessons from the initial effects there, and applied them to an entirely different theatre/objective/strategy.

                  The reason for the progressive failure of Iraq was the flawed conception of the “light footprint” strategy itself. You simply can’t control a large country with dense urban centers, a large, modern military, and very fractious civil relations, major cultural/language differences, etc., with a ‘bare minimum’-sized force. This was a conceptual failure of horrifyingly expensive consequences in blood and treasure, not to mention American influence and regional stability.

                  People often make a distinction between the ‘Gulf War’/Desert Storm, and The Iraq War/OIF. I have made the argument to a some military history professors and students (among them my dad, vietnam-era marine) that in fact, there is really only ONE war to consider, and the more-recent ‘Iraq War’ was in fact an attempt to finally end the first one decisively.

                  I mostly convinced people, but I’m surprised so few have made this argument.

                  Keep in mind many of the architects of the first were in fact the same people in charge in the second. Also keep in mind that the person with perhaps the most significant experience on the topic (Powell – an actual military commander on the ground in-country during Gulf I) was basically shut out of the planning process almost entirely.

                  Basically, the main arguments against invasion were the major uncertainties, the current manageable situation there, and the potential for massive resource requirements at a time when other issues were arguably more pressing.

                  Anyone can trot out either the main talking points justifying invasion, and I can slay them one by one if need be. I wont bother as I’ve already gone full-retard with this argument so far. In short, I (and others much smarter and informed and experienced on the issue than me) actually made the case before the invasion that the *real* reasons, both pro and against invasion, were far different than those bandied about in the media for public consumption. Dont even bother with the nuclear proliferation/”smoking gun-mushroom cloud” one. Its DOA. Same goes with the ‘flypaper’-meme.

                  I think the main argument in favor of invation that is in fact most appealing and logical from a strategic POV was that it was simply an unfinished job, a pain in the ass being managed rather than dealt with decisively, and that a window of opportunity had emerged that would likely not reappear. The corollary assumptions that it could also achieve broader regional goals (weaken iran, syria, trigger a chair reaction of reforms in the arab world longer term, etc) is maybe also appealing… but the fact is that that stuff was all cooked up not by military people but wonky foreign affairs dudes who get a little carried away with their theorized models of how the world really works.

                  I primarily objected / object to the entire mission concept on the basis that it was not *necessary*. We have and had other pressing issues that got sidelined. We lost focus and got caught up in a historical mission-creep of ginormous proportions. The core mission was (and should still be) to destroy global terrorist networks. You want to debate the iraq war on any other terms, and I will simply not be interested. Has anything we did there to date done anything to either dismantle islamic terrorist groups, bring perpetrators of 9/11 to justice, and improve global security? I would argue no, and in addition, that it has in fact made the situation far worse on many levels, not least of which is the fact that we’ve basically shot our wad as far as credibility as Responsible Actors on a military/political level. We’ve made current and future actions far harder and/or justifiable. Anyone who makes the case that “it was better to be rid of saddam” fails to do any cost benefit analysis. What did we gain and what did we lose?

                  We spent a trillion bucks, killed a shitload of people unnecessarily, severely damaged our reputation and credibility (more important than you think), mostly for the sake of a symbolic “victory” of regime change that has gained us very little in real geopolitical terms.

                  …. end rant. Sorry about that. I stopped posting at FP a while back and I think I needed to vent.

                  1. Tony|10.21.11 @ 5:17PM|#
                    Who are these people? I get the feeling you made them up in your head

                    I sincerely hope you yourself are simply part of my overheated imagination. Damn voices in my head again….

                    Are you pretending the ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’-themes were never really part of popular anti-war discourse?

                    Whatever. Your penchant for intellectual masochism doesn’t interest me. Go let someone else kick your empty gourd around.

    2. They all went out to gambol across the plains.

      1. It’s a good thing internet gamboling is legal. I hate hunting through the internet to gather a meager morsel, that’s why I use Google.

    3. Looks like all of those huge marches on the White House the last two and a half years have finally paid off.

      1. No, no. It’s the march on Wall St. that ended the war. The bankers and oil companies know the jig is up and gave in.

  10. Did Obama ever run as an anti-war candidate? Maybe some supporters hoped that but he ran on having an increased focus on Afghanistan and his Nobel Peace Prize speech was largely about how the use of force is justifiable in circumstances, basically defending war.

    1. No he really didn’t. He was an anti-Iraq war candidate. But he lied about that claiming he would get out in a year only to follow the existing Bush plan and get out in three.

      But on Afghanistan he promised to focus on it. And that is exactly what he has done. Why people thought he was anti-war is beyond me.

      1. He deliberatly obsufcated when asked outright if he was an anti-war candidate. An many of his supporters projected what they wanted on a candidate that was a blank slate. I mean seriously, if any other candidate had said as little as Obama did with so little substance he or she would have been laughed from the stage.

        1. Maybe, but why couldn’t Hillary figure that out during the primaries?

          1. Because if she had gone after him they would have killed her for being a racist. No one was allowed to question the Black Jesus.

  11. The lesson here is: partisan hacks will continue to be partisan hacks.

  12. That figure of 100,000 dead Iraqis is based on a discredited study that treated those deaths like a contagious disease. Real number is perhaps 5-fold lower.

    1. ^^This^^ But that myth is so ingrained that it is hard to kill.

      1. Oh, no. That number is about right up until November ’08. The problem for the anti-war activists is that that number is one fifth of the death toll attributed to the sanctions (actually oil for food).

        1. It was wildly discredited. And the death toll from the sanctions was exaggerated too. But the Left never wants to talk about the toll of the sanctions which were very high. They just like to pretend everything could go on as it was in the fall of 2002.

          1. I think you’re thinking of ‘The Lancet’ study which said one million had died because of the war. That was widely discredited.
            The number of dead in Iraq was, until Nov. 08, approximately 100,000; still one fifth of the number of dead due to sanctions.

            1. I think you are right about that. My mistake. And yeah, the sanctions were brutal.

              1. Yeah I remember that now. I thought it was only 20,000 Iraqis dead though. We’ll be hearing every number possible.

            2. The sanctions didn’t kill anything like 500k people. Ask Matt Welch.

  13. ah, it makes more sense now……..e-20111021

    President Obama’s speech formally declaring that the last 43,000 U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year was designed to mask an unpleasant truth: The troops aren’t being withdrawn because the U.S. wants them out. They’re leaving because the Iraqi government refused to let them stay…

    1. Good for the Iraqis. It is their country. We are no longer an occupying power. Haven’t been since June of 2004. If they want us out, we should leave.

      1. Followup question — Do the Kurds want us out?

        1. Probably not. But the Kurds can more than take care of themselves.

        2. According to the linked article, at least one Kurdish politician does. He’s not anti-American, he just realizes there not much that US troops can do at this point.

      2. It really is wonderful to see them take control of their country with a decent future ahead. One I did not foresee; I was an ultra-pessimist.

  14. Why people thought he was anti-war is beyond me.

    By pretending he is, they can pretend they are.

    That’s all.

    1. If you take as a given that politicians are big fat liars, then you must judge them by their actions, not their promises. That puts Obama in the same league of warmongery as Bush.

  15. We’re still going to have 16,000 Blackwater/xe “contractors” the size of an entire division occupying Iraq. This is a withdraw only in the most Orwellian sense. What’s more our warcrimes against Iraq, which ended or destroyed the lives of literally millions of people, have made us such a loathed presence in the Arab world that we need to take major security precautions just to safeguard our embassy from being slaughtered in revenge.

    And those that started this war–including our current Vice President and Secretary of State along with the former members of the Bush Junta–still are scott free despite committing numerous warcrimes and killing over a million Iraqis.

    1. They can occupy a country the size of Texas with millitias out the wazoo and one that when it decided to have a civil war tied down 150,0000 American troops with 16,000 contractors? Those are some bad ass contractors.

      And there were no “war crimes” in Iraq other than the once committed by our enemies when they hid among civilians and deliberately targeted same.

      1. Here’s something just to start, re: American war crimes:…..s-case.php

        1. Your link is complete bullshit. I will tell you what. Why don’t you tell me what a war crime is and give an example of one. And then if you can do that, you might be intelligent enough to have a conversation with. As it is, I don’t think you even know the definition of the terms you are talking about. And are therefore not worth the time to respond to.

          1. Prosecuting a war of aggression isn’t Rumsfeld’s only crime. He also participated in the highest levels of decision-making that allowed the extrajudicial execution of several people. Willful killing is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, which constitutes a war crime. In his book, Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, Seymour Hersh described the “unacknowledged” special-access program (SAP) established by a top-secret order Bush signed in late 2001 or early 2002. It authorized the Defense Department to set up a clandestine team of Special Forces operatives to defy international law and snatch, or assassinate, anyone considered a “high-value” Al Qaeda operative, anywhere in the world. Rumsfeld expanded SAP into Iraq in August 2003.

            But Rumsfeld’s crimes don’t end there. He sanctioned the use of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, which are grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and thus constitute war crimes. Rumsfeld approved interrogation techniques that included the use of dogs, removal of clothing, hooding, stress positions, isolation for up to 30 days, 20-hour interrogations, and deprivation of light and auditory stimuli. According to Seymour Hersh, Rumsfeld sanctioned the use of physical coercion and sexual humiliation to extract information from prisoners. Rumsfeld also authorized waterboarding, where the interrogator induces the sensation of imminent death by drowning. Waterboarding is widely considered a form of torture.

            Rumsfeld was intimately involved with the interrogation of a Saudi detainee, Mohamed al-Qahtani, at Guant?namo in late 2002. General Geoffrey Miller, who later transferred many of his harsh interrogation techniques to Abu Ghaib, supervised the interrogation and gave Rumsfeld weekly updates on his progress. During a six-week period, al-Qahtani was stripped naked, forced to wear women’s underwear on his head, denied bathroom access, threatened with dogs, forced to perform tricks while tethered to a dog leash, and subjected to sleep deprivation. Al-Qahtani was kept in solitary confinement for 160 days. For 48 days out of 54, he was interrogated for 18 to 20 hours a day.

            Even though Rumsfeld didn’t personally carry out the torture and mistreatment of prisoners, he authorized it. Under the doctrine of command responsibility, a commander can be liable for war crimes committed by his inferiors if he knew or should have known they would be committed and did nothing to stop of prevent them. The U.S. War Crimes Act provides for prosecution of a person who commits war crimes and prescribes life imprisonment, or even the death penalty if the victim dies.

            Although intending to signal a new direction in Iraq with his nomination of Gates to replace Rumsfeld, Bush has no intention of leaving Iraq. He is building huge permanent U.S. military bases there. Gates at the helm of the Defense Department, Bush said, “can help make the necessary adjustments in our approach.” Bush hopes he can bring congressional Democrats on board by convincing them he will simply fight a smarter war.

            But this war can never get smarter. Nearly 3,000 American soldiers and more than 650,000 Iraqi civilians have died and tens of thousands have been wounded. Our national debt has skyrocketed with the billions Bush has pumped into the war. Now that there is a new day in Congress, there must be a new push to end the war. That means a demand that Congress cut off its funds.

            And the war criminals must be brought to justice – beginning with Donald Rumsfeld. On November 14, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, and other organizations will ask the German federal prosecutor to initiate a criminal investigation into the war crimes of Rumsfeld and other Bush administration officials. Although Bush has immunized his team from prosecution in the International Criminal Court, they could be tried in any country under the well-established principle of universal jurisdiction.

            Got a response other than “Bullshit”, meathead? Or are you going to be a good little German and defend The Homeland?

            1. None of that is anything but assertion. Why is Iraq a “war of aggression”? Do you even know what the term means? Do you know where it comes from?

              Again, it is obvious you know nothing about this subject beyond cutting and pasting leftwing invective from people who know even less than you.

            2. And the Seymore Hersh claims have long been discredited. Nothing he ever writes in the truth.

              1. And the Seymore Hersh claims have long been discredited[citation needed]

                1. Hersh has been caught lying any number of times during his career. And specifically and egregiously about Abu Garib.


            3. Well, since Obama is shielding all from prosecution and in fact, punishing the whistle-blowers, the logical conclusion is that he plans on doing the same things because he thinks he can get away with it.

              1. Exactly fucking right, Arboles. There’s only one Party in the country–The Empire Party.

                1. You show what an ignorant twit you are by screaming Abu Garib. If you knew anything you would talk about Bagram where the real abuses happened. But you don’t know anything beyond the shit that the blogs and your know nothing lefty professors fed you.

            4. “”The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, Seymour Hersh described the “unacknowledged” special-access program (SAP) established by a top-secret order Bush signed in late 2001 or early 2002. It authorized the Defense Department to set up a clandestine team of Special Forces operatives to defy international law and snatch, or assassinate, anyone considered a “high-value” Al Qaeda operative,””

              Ah, so that’s Obama’s legal justification for killing the American born cleric in Yemen.

          2. ONE MILLION Iraqi civilians DEAD. Our chickens will come home to roost sooner or later, and then you’ll scream “why do they hate us!?!?!”


            1. Yeah because it says that on the internet it must be true. Come on man. I know you want to be smarter than that.

              1. The British Medical Journal “The Lancet” is lying then? oh?

                1. Yes, they lied about the connection between vaccines and autism too.

                2. Those claims have all been discredited. The wikileaks document showed that it exagerated by as much as 600%. It is a lie. It has been proven a lie over and over again. But hard leftist like repeating it because that is who you are. That is all you know how to do is lie.


                  1. Yes, let’s trust the US government instaed when it comes to counts of civilian deaths. Surely they NEVER lie to us (where are the WMDs?)

                    1. So clearly Lancet must be true. That is some high grade argument there. We really do live in the age of stupid.

      2. “Our enemies”? You mean the Sunni militias WE FUNDED?

        1. We didn’t fund the Sunni militias you idiot until they turned against Al Quada in 2006.

          It is obvious you don’t know anything about the subject. In fact you know so little, that it would be impossible to even begin to have an intelligent conversation about it. I am sorry you have been so sadly victimized by the left wing blogshpere and more probably the education system.

          1. More war crimes:


            I know this is difficult to accept for a redneck meathead brainwashed since grade school by American Exceptionalism, but do try to make an adult argument rather than acting like the Japanese that deny anything bad happened in WWII.

            1. Or how about the “accidental” bombing of al Jazeera Baghdad headquarters?


            2. Eric Alterman is not an international lawyer. And no authority on the law of armed conflict. So your link doesn’t even count as an appeal to authority. Again, tell me what a war crime is and give me an example of one. You don’t even know the meaning of the terms you use.

              It is just sad. Don’t you want to know? Don’t you want to maybe understand what the actual law of war says? Or do you just want to be an idiot who rants and raves against his perceived enemies?

              1. War of aggression. Abu Ghirab. Haditha. Al Jazeera bombing. Mass rapes of Iraqi girls by Blackwater and on and on and on.

              2. Glenn Greenwald isn’t a lawyer?


                1. Sure is a lawyer. So what? IT is not an international lawyer or an authority on the subject. But regardless, even if he was, you wouldn’t understand what he was saying. It is obvious you don’t know or care about the truth or you would be making the arguments yourself instead of linking.

                  You still haven’t told me what a war crime is. That is because you don’t know. You don’t know anything. You are a victim. You should be angry at the people who fed you all of this crap.

                  1. So far the debate is:


                    John: calling 1-800-bullshit

                    John wins. John you must know these people love love love the idea of Evil America. Self-flagellation is held as a kind of virtue. Disturbingly, some libertarians take a liking to this too.

                    I like how ‘Librarian’ is basically a stock of the anti-war asshole that GILMORE was talking about. He’s basically exhibit A.

                    1. I like how ‘Librarian’ is basically a stock of the anti-war asshole that GILMORE was talking about. He’s basically exhibit A.

                      Exactly–notice how this Phaggot Striver Poor is bloo bloo blooing about civilian deaths and war crimes in Iraq, but not about the same in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  16. Of the 39,000 troops in Iraq, only about 150, a negligible force, will remain to assist in arms sales.

    Can’t we just have BATFE do that?

    1. I would whole heartedly support this. There is no agency I loath more than BATF.

      1. …handle the deal.

    2. I’m not sure where they got the “arms sales” thing from. Earlier reports I’ve read says that 150 marines will stay to guard the embassy, which would be about right for the size of the embassy we have in Iraq.

    3. They’ll call it “Operation 2 Fast 2 Furious”

      1. +1 to Triple R.

  17. Gee, I wonder if John works for the Pentagon or a defense contractor, maybe?

    1. Neither one. But clearly attacking the source is valid argument. It is obvious you have never worked in any field remotely related to international law or the law of war. If you had, you might know something.

      1. You’ve never worked for the Pentagon or a military contractor?

        1. If we are comparing credentials lets do it. Have you ever had any training or understanding of the law of war or humanitarian law or the law of international armed conflict? If so, what?

          1. Are you now or have you ever worked for the US Department of Defense or Blackwater?

            1. Sure I worked for the Department of Defense. How do you think I know anything about international law? I will give you one better. I actually helped run detainee operations in Iraq. I have forgotten more about his shit and know more about what happened and what didn’t happen (not all of it good BTW) than you have ever known.

              1. I actually helped run detainee operations in Iraq.

                Then you’re nothing but fucking Kapo piece of shit. I wonder how you sleep at night.

                1. You are a sad ignorant person.

                  1. And I’m sure you’re one of the good Germans.

              2. Seriously we’re supposed to take you seriously when you’re probably part of the active cover up of torturers on behalf of the Empire?

                1. OK. Now you are just a trolling me. Good job of trolling whoever you are. You had me going there for a while.

  18. If I were running the RNC, I believe I’d be putting together an ad right about now, saying we should all put our partisan differences aside and congratulate Obama on sticking to the letter and spirit of the treaty that Bush negotiated and signed.

    1. Wasn’t the SOFA more of an eviction notice than a treaty?

      The news stories where it is implied that America had any choice in the matter of withdrawal are priceless.

      1. If we could have worked out a new SOFA it wouldn’t have served as such. But that is one way of looking at it.

  19. I see the Libyans-that-are-in-charge are displaying Gadhafi’s cadaver as a war trophy. Will they lend it to Barack Obama for use as a campaign prop?

    1. Instead of a stump speech, they’ll just dangle Gaddafi’s corpse from a rope while the crowd bays and roars.

      OBAMA 2012

  20. –Military expansionism, regime toppling and slaughter of civilians is very expensive. How can I conquer all of Mother Afrika unless I get the rich to pay their fair share?

  21. PEV series of European jaw crusher is a new product absorbing world advanced technology, bases on our present traditional jaw crusher, and adopts three-dimensional design theory.

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