As U.S. combat operations officially end this week and Washington’s reconstruction effort winds up, Iraqis complain that America is leaving little behind to show for an investment that President Bush promised in 2003 would parallel the post- World War II Marshall Plan in its scope and accomplishments. “I am very sorry because America spent a lot of money without any tangible results,” said Ali Baban, Iraq’s minister of planning, who is responsible for overseeing the projects now being handed over to the Iraqi government. “The Iraqi people heard a lot about American assistance, but really they didn’t touch it or feel it.” – A U.S. ‘legacy of waste’ in Iraq
If the “ending of combat operations in Iraq” tells us one thing it’s that a commander in chief can set an arbitrary date for withdrawal of military forces in a country, regardless of the situation on the ground, and pull the troops out for the good of the United States. Because no one should be under the illusion that Iraq has resolved, because it doesn’t have a cohesive government, with the wider landscape and the Iraqi populace in peril of violence, which will not abate anytime soon.
Vice President Joe Biden is in Iraq to commemorate the moment. It’s being reported that Pres. Obama may call former Pres. George W. Bush before his speech tonight. Republicans are calling for Obama to credit Mr. Bush for the surge in Iraq. But there is a whiff of accomplishment in Obama’s scheduling a primetime address. Oh, how quickly the Presidents Club indoctrinated the anti Iraq war candidate into banging his own drum on a war he claimed to have been heartily against.
The U.S. military was asked to do an impossible task in a country we never should have invaded, with all of those serving and sacrificing, including their families, deserving of our grateful appreciation for being forced to serve Pres. George W. Bush’s neocon fantasy, someone who deserves to go down in history as the most inept and ill equipped commander in chiefs in modern times. Unfortunately, since Pres. Obama doesn’t have the fortitude of candidate Obama’s rhetoric, something that was proved long ago, stay in Iraq we will.
For his presidential malpractice Mr. Bush’s entire administration should have been dragged on to the national carpet by the Democratic Congress and Pres. Obama, which could have been done even without invoking impeachment, then held accountable through investigations, at the very least, for the war crimes, torture, lies told to Congress and the American people, not to mention the meddling of intelligence data, with the lesson drilled home about what happens when American hubris meets foreign interventionism with an unlimited credit line.
That the U.S. military, as well as civilian diplomats and aide workers, had to prop up Pres. Bush and V.P. Dick Cheney’s neoconservative nightmare is something too many people have already forgotten. After all, with PPP’s poll showing Bush’s Katrina response held more favorably than Obama’s BP blowout response, it proves yet again that if politicians and political parties don’t drill facts home to people propaganda will always win the day. Both review outcomes, to name just two, were allowed to manifest because Bush’s successor doesn’t have a clue about modern political warfare and the importance of laying blame where it belongs. The war in Iraq should have been put on trial, otherwise history might not record it as the gigantic disaster it was, all of which began in the Oval Office of Pres. George W. Bush, but which his successor will continue to fund, capitulating to the Bush-Cheney footprint plan to leave American hands inside a country where we do not belong.
The LA Times piece from Sunday lists how American taxpayer dollars have been flushed, all because George W. Bush had the attention span of a gnat, but also didn’t appoint anyone who actually knew what they were doing, leaving Iraq an unfinished mess at the end of his presidency. Also see Afghanistan (where 22 soldiers have died in the last 4 days), a country Obama is investing his presidency in even as the American economy continues to crater, making it even more ludicrous that he is choosing to leave the largest U.S. embassy on earth operating, something no one is mentioning, while keeping 50,000 troops in Iraq, a country that will continue to explode.
So you’ll pardon me if I demure from the inevitable hoopla that will accompany the combat operations have ceased in Iraq spin that will come from Bush’s successor tonight. For a man who won the Democratic nomination on being against the Iraq war it doesn’t fill me with relief that we’ve either accomplished Bush-Cheney’s grandiose neocon mission or that Pres. Obama understands or really believes what getting out of Iraq means and how badly we now need to cut our losses now.
“We had military successes, but the Iraqis will decide whether it is a long-term success or not,” said Maj. Joseph Da Silva – Iraq conflict leaves officers weary and humbled
“Six summers and $4.9 billion in U.S. taxpayer money later” our investment not only hasn’t been worth it, but considering the lives lost, those maimed and wounded as well, not to mention the growing power Iran has in Iraq, keeping the large footprint Bush began in Iraq, and Pres. Obama will continue, is proof that both national parties have forfeited their leadership role in American foreign policy.
Sorry to rain on everyone’s “I’ve Kept My Promise Parade,” but if Barack Obama was really anti Iraq war he’d pull all of our troops out, close down the embassy, and just scratch this one off as Bush’s debacle. However, candidate Obama was never committed to pulling out of Iraq completely. He still isn’t. Hillary Clinton never was.
The fairy tale that Obama would be lives on.