Sunday, July 13, 2008

Obama and McCain on Iraq

Obama and McCain on Iraq
By Jerome Grossman

Whether Barack Obama or John McCain is elected president, it is difficult to imagine a full withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

McCain insists on complete victory, refuses to ask Iraq's leaders to take responsibility for their own future, and has completely changed his own stated position that he would leave Iraq when the Iraqis ask us.

Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki has indeed asked for a set timetable for US withdrawal but the silence from Bush, McCain and Obama has been deafening. McCain has forsworn deadlines for troop withdrawal without support for al-Maliki's position.

Obama's reaction is loaded with hedges:” If current trends continue and we are at a position where we continue to see reductions in violence and continue to see some improvements on the part of the Iraqi army and Iraqi police, then my hope would be that we could draw down in a deliberate fashion in consultation with the Iraqi government at a pace that is determined in consultation with General Petraeus and the other commanders on the ground."

Obama approaches his consultations with the military in a defensive position. “Precisely because I have not served in uniform, I am somebody who strongly believes I have to earn the trust of men and women in uniform." Does this sentiment weaken the historic civilian control of the US military?

MSNBC's crack reporter David Gregory interprets Obama: "When Obama says we have to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in, that's the line, that's a signal that says he's not yanking (troops) out right away." Careless is a gross understatement, leaving unsaid the misrepresentations and lies on intelligence, on weapons of mass destruction, as well as the US ignoring the refusal of the Security Council of the United Nations to give legal sanctions to the US invasion.

In any case, both McCain and Obama plan for a residual US military force to fight Al Qaeda and insurgents, to train the Iraqi military, and to protect the US Embassy and US military bases in Iraq. That is the likely key to US policy in Iraq under either administration. The US is the dominant military, economic and political power on the planet and surely wants to remain in that position. It is inconceivable that the US would give up its control of the Middle East, an area that contains more than 40% of the oil reserves on earth. We now know that the supply of oil is finite, that modern society cannot function without oil, that the price of oil can be stretched to extraordinary heights. We cannot and will not walk away from the trillions of dollars involved and the power over all other nations we can exercise by control of oil.

After the investments the US has made in life, treasure and reputation, after the incompetence of the Bush administration in destroying the system it had in place for dominating the area without US troops, the American empire is surely not going to divest itself of this incalculable asset. No other empire in human history has done that. We won't either.


Stephen said...

I can only hope you are wrong. "No other empire...has done that." But are we an empire?

If you are right, and if resistance to the occupation and internal strife continues, in contrast to, say, Korea, do you believe we will continue to pour money down a black hole forever?

an average patriot said...

You are right Jerome
Whoever is elected will be forced to fight a lot of war Bush set the foundation for as well as be hamstrung with the mess he made out of us. Like it or not the entire middle east will explode and not be stopped but spread from there.
Obama's heart is in the right place though! Obama is right! It is time to withdraw, listen to Al-Maliki and the American people and withdraw to focus on worsening Afghanistan while we can! Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday will outline his strategy for dealing with the biggest threats facing the United States, which he says requires bringing the war in Iraq to an end, his campaign said. The speech on national security and the war in Iraq comes one day after he detailed his plan for the war-torn country in a New York Times op-ed. Sources familiar with Obama's plans said the candidate will travel to Iraq later this month with two Senate colleagues, Republican Chuck Hagel and Democrat Jack Reed.
"This war distracts us from every threat that we face and so many opportunities we could seize. This war diminishes our security, our standing in the world, our military, our economy, and the resources that we need to confront the challenges of the 21st century," Obama will say, according to excerpts of his prepared remarks. "By any measure, our single-minded and open-ended focus on Iraq is not a sound strategy for keeping America safe," Obama will say, according to excerpts of his prepared remarks.

In addition to ending the war, his plan for securing the country includes finishing the fight against Qaeda and the Taliban, securing nuclear weapons from rogue nations, reaching energy security and rebuilding our alliances "to meet the challenges of the 21st century," his campaign said. See where the candidates stand on Iraq. "In fact -- as should have been apparent to President Bush and Sen. McCain -- the central front in the war on terror is not Iraq, and it never was. That's why the second goal of my new strategy will be taking the fight to al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan," Obama is expected to say. "Sen. McCain said -- just months ago -- that 'Afghanistan is not in trouble because of our diversion to Iraq.' I could not disagree more," Obama will say. Obama rightly says Iraq is a dangerous distraction

Of course McCain criticized Obama for delivering a speech on Iraq before traveling there. Obama's visit to Iraq, where he has only been once, in 2006, and Afghanistan follows repeated criticism from McCain that he should visit the area and talk to commanders. "Sen. Obama is departing soon on a trip abroad that will include a fact-finding mission to Iraq and Afghanistan," McCain said in written excerpts of comments he will deliver later on Tuesday in New Mexico."And I note that he is speaking today about his plans for Iraq and Afghanistan before he has even left," McCain said. "In my experience, fact-finding missions usually work best the other way around: first you assess the facts on the ground, then you present a new strategy," he added. McCain as usual incorrectly criticizes Obama

I happen to believe Obama is right on! We should withdraw and refocus on Afghanistan while we can and it is right for him to say what he wants to do there before he goes to Iraq to in his own words find out if what he says is doable or needs fine tuning because of events on the ground! It is time the routine childish politics of Republicans is ignored and comes to an end. It serves their selfish interests but is harmful to America, the middle east, and the world, before it is too late. We need to get Obama elected in the fall and take back the entire Government if we are to have a future at all.

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