FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Obama’s Non-Withdrawal Withdrawal Plan

It would be superfluous in us to point out that a plan to “end” a war which includes the continued garrisoning of up to 50,000 troops in a hostile land is, in reality, a continuation of that war, not its cessation. To produce such a plan and claim that it “ends” a war is the precise equivalent of, say, relieving one’s bladder on the back of one’s neighbor and telling him that the liquid is actually life-giving rain.

But this is exactly what we are going to get from the Obama Administration in Iraq. Word has now come from on high – that is, from “senior administration officials” using “respectable newspapers” as a wholly uncritical conduit for  government spin – that President Obama has reached a grand compromise with his generals (or rather, the generals and Pentagon poobahs he has inherited — and eagerly retained — from George W. Bush) on a plan to withdraw some American troops from the country that the United States destroyed in an unprovoked war of aggression. Obama had wanted a 16-month timetable for the partial withdrawal; his potential campaign rival in 2012, General David Petraeus, wanted 23 months; so, with Solomonic wisdom, they have now split the difference, and will withdraw a portion of the American troops in 19 months instead.

But the plan clearly envisions a substantial and essentially permanent American military presence in Iraq, dominating the politics and policy of this key oil nation – which was of course one of the chief war aims of the military aggressors in the Bush Administration all along. By implementing his war continuation plan, Obama will complete the work of Bush and his militarist clique. From the New York Times:

“Even with the withdrawal order, Mr. Obama plans to leave behind a “residual force” of tens of thousands of troops to continue training Iraqi security forces, hunt down foreign terrorist cells and guard American institutions…”

And a “senior military officer” dispatched to pipe the spin to the Los Angeles Times added another potential role for the remaining American troops: fighting Iraq’s war for it. He was also refreshingly frank on the plan’s ultimate intentions:

“The senior officer said the troops also could help protect Iraq from outside attack, something the Iraqis cannot yet do.

“‘When President Obama said we were going to get out within 16 months, some people heard, ‘get out,’ and everyone’s gone. But that is not going to happen,’ the officer said.”

No indeed, that is “not going to happen.” One of the most remarkable aspects of Obama’s “war lite” plan is its brazen and absolute disregard for the agreement signed between the United States and the supposedly sovereign Iraqi government guaranteeing the complete withdrawal of all American troops by the end of 2011. Of course, this “agreement” was always considered a farce by everyone – except for the American corporate media, which kept reporting on the “tough negotiations” as if the pact would have any actual meaning in the real world. The agreement contained escape clauses allowing the Iraqi government to “request” a continued American military presence after the 2011 deadline – and considering that any Iraqi government in place in 2011 will be helplessly dependent on American guns and money to maintain its power, such a “request” has always been a dead certainty.  So I suppose we must admire the Obama Administration’s candor in dropping all pretense that U.S. forces are going to leave Iraq at any time in the foreseeable future.

But the hypocrisy – the literally murderous hypocrisy – of claiming that this plan “leaves Iraq to its people and responsibly ends this war,” as Obama asserted in his State of the Union speech, is sickening. It does no such thing, and he knows it.

Instead, it entrenches the United States more and more deeply in a “counter-insurgency” war on behalf of whichever clique or faction of sectarian parties in Iraq is most effective in adhering to America’s dominationist agenda in the region. It sends an apparently endless stream of American troops to die — and, in even greater numbers, to kill — in a criminal action that has helped bankrupt our own country while sending waves of violent instability and extremism around the world. It will further enfilth a cesspool of corruption and war profiteering that has already reached staggering, world-historical proportions.

All of this is what the Obama-Petraeus plan will do. But what it won’t do is “end this war” — “responsibly” or otherwise. When Obama says it will — as he said last night to a rapt national audience — he is, quite simply, and very deliberately, lying.

CHRIS FLOYD is an American writer and frequent contributor to Counterpunch. His blog, Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the American Imperium, can be found at www.chris-floyd.com.

 

More articles by:

Chris Floyd is a columnist for CounterPunch Magazine. His blog, Empire Burlesque, can be found at www.chris-floyd.com.

August 21, 2018
Anthony DiMaggio
Fascist Nation: The “Alt-Right” Menace Persists, Despite Setbacks
Chris Floyd
Dial “N” for Mayhem: Wording Our Way to a New Level of Hell
Creston Davis
The Education Impasse in the USA
Jonathan Cook
In Detaining Peter Beinart, Israel Has Declared it No Longer Represents Millions of Jews Overseas
Kenneth Culton
Trump Supporters: the Joyous Cult Bound by Shared Story and Ritual
Andy Thayer
Why the Chicago ‘68 Convention Matters Today
Simone Chun
Sea of Tears: The Tragedy of Families Split by the Korean War
William Blum
The Russians Did It (cont.)
Manuel E. Yepe
How Capitalism Erodes Mental Health
Doug Noble
Thomas Mountain
Djibouti Faces Dark Days to Come; Eritrean Ports, Pipeline Threaten Ethiopian Trade Lifeline
Binoy Kampmark
Finding Fault and Faulty Infrastructure: Genoa’s Morandi Bridge Disaster
Kary Love
“Suffer Not the Little Children….”
Thomas Knapp
Omarosa Manigault Newman, Public Servant
August 20, 2018
Carl Boggs
The Road to Disaster?
James Munson
“Not With a Bomb, But a Whimper” … Then More Bombs.
Jonathan Cook
Corbyn’s Labour Party is Being Made to Fail –By Design
Robert Fisk
A US Trade War With Turkey Over a Pastor? Don’t Believe It
Howard Lisnoff
The Mass Media’s Outrage at Trump: Why the Surprise?
Faisal Khan
A British Muslim’s Perspective on the Burkha Debate
Andrew Kahn
Inhumanity Above the Clouds
Dan Glazebrook
Trump’s New Financial War on the Global South
George Wuerthner
Why the Gallatin Range Deserves Protection
Ted Rall
Is Trump a Brand-New Weird Existential Threat? No.
Sheldon Richman
For the Love of Reason
Susie Day
Why Pundits Scare Me
Dean Baker
Does France’s Economy Need to Be Renewed?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Mighty Voice for Peace Has Gone Silent: Uri Avnery, 1923-2018
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail