Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Victory Requires an Immediate Pull-Out of US Troops

For the vast majority of Americans and Iraqis the only victory regarding the war in Iraq requires an immediate pullout of all foreign troops. While politicians and pundits have framed the debate over the war in terms of military victory versus cutting and running versus redeployment, we must make it clear to each other and the new Democratic leadership in Washington that Americans–soldier or civilian–and Iraqis are losing every second this disaster of a war continues, and the muddled debate over timetables is just delaying ending a policy that was a mistake from day one.

The war serves no purpose for most of us. There are no weapons of mass destruction and never were. There were no ties to Al Qaeda or plans to support a terrorist attack on Americans. The Iraqis want us to leave, most Americans want our soldiers out, even our “volunteer” soldiers are coming forward with their discontent in increasing numbers.

The Nation is reporting this week that hundreds of American soldiers have been signing onto an internet Appeal for Redress. As one of the signers–a U.S. Army Sergeant deployed with the 20th Infantry Regiment near Mosul–explained, “So far in three years we have succeeded in toppling a dictator and replacing him with puppets. Outlawing the old government and its standing army and replacing them with an unreliable and poorly trained crew of paycheck collectors. The well is so poisoned by what we have done here that nothing can fix it.”

Yet we continue to kill Iraqis, send our young people to die and spend billions on this war either because we’ve yet to reach some undefined “victory,” or as others argue, we can’t abandon Iraq to chaos and civil war. Both reasons to stay are hollow rationales for pure Western imperialism.

Last week Donald Rumsfeld left his position as Defense Secretary and during a farewell address said, “It may well be comforting to some to consider graceful exits from the agonies and, indeed, the ugliness of combat. But the enemy thinks differently.” As usual, “the enemy” was not easily defined. But Rumsfeld’s enemies are certainly different from the enemies of most Americans.

A victory for the Bush administration, most politicians in Washington, or the executives at Halliburton and Lockheed Martin is not the same as a victory for working-class American soldiers or the average American facing cuts to social services, difficulty affording health care and other problems that continue to mount as billions of our tax dollars go to war. For Washington and much of corporate America, the reasons are clear: Maintain dominance in the region, particularly because of the oil that exists there, and keep the war machine a strong, profitable and necessary part of what defines our foreign policy. This isn’t how they sell the war to Americans of course, because none of this benefits us, and most of us would never support such an endeavor.

Indeed most of us don’t support this war despite all the lies of the Bush administration and spin of the cable news cheerleaders. Demanding and getting an immediate pullout would be an incredible victory for democratic principles. Demanding and getting an immediate pullout from the new Democratic leadership, which is now content with calls from Bush and McCain for more troops in Iraq, would be a rare blow against U.S. imperialism.

Politicians from both political parties are trying their best to take the clear mandate of the November elections–widespread desire for an end to the Iraq war–and come up with a policy that will both silence opposition and bring about their narrow victory. They are committed to continuing war and occupation regardless of the sentiment of the American people. They must believe they know what is best for America; they believe the American people can’t be trusted with or don’t understand matters of foreign policy. And those who insist we must remain in Iraq to clean up the mess we caused apparently know better than the Iraqi people what they need, since large majorities of Iraqis want us out.

It is most Americans and the Iraqi people who pay while these politicians discuss “options,” “timetables,” and “redeployment.” Every day millions of Americans are spending part of their day working to fund this war on behalf of the handful of politicians, executives and shareholders who might actually benefit. Each day American soldiers and Iraqis are dying for the selfish interests of a few. Every day that it continues we all continue to lose. Victory for most; victory for all of us requires immediate withdrawal.

CARLOS VILLARREAL is the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild of the San Francisco Bay Area. He can be reached at: carlos@nlgsf.org

 

 

More articles by:
May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail