Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Obama's wussy Iraq stand

Since I opposed the Iraq war from before the U.S. act of naked aggression that started it and am far from convinced that the U.S. military is even yet a stabilizing influence in Iraq, I suppose I should be angry at the fact that President Obama has set such a long tentative timetable for removing U.S. troops from Iraq. It's to be 19 months before all "combat" troops are out and after that 35,000-50,000 will be left, presumably as a sort of colonial permanent occupation force to keep the wogs under control? Although the issue faded in importance as the endless campaign dragged on, it is highly likely that Barack Obama had not separated himself from the pack as one who also opposed the war from the outset and was determined to end it as quickly as feasible, he would not be president now. He's going soft on arguably his most important implicit promise to voters.

I think that the longer U.S. troops stay in Iraq even only a peripheral combat or training role, the longer Iraqis will have a crutch to keep them from taking responsibility for their own future. It's incredibly patronizing and arrogant for U.S. officials and military leaders to have the attitude that the guys that came in and wrecked the joint -- the U.S. -- and enhanced the regional power and potential dangerousness of the most militantly anti-American regime in the neighborhood, Iran, are the only thing that prevents a descent into chaos. Our imperial leaders remain incredibly ignorant about the countries they want to run, and don't feel any obligation to learn anything, expecting occupied countries to feel grateful to us for treating ancient cultures like adolescents who need out "adult" supervisions.

Having gotten all that out of my system, however, it's hard to work up real anger. I'm disappointed -- the logistics of withdrawal will take a few months, but the process really should begin today -- but not surprised. This is pretty much what Obama was promising -- a few months longer, perhaps -- from about the middle of last year. Americans and Iraqis will be killed for nothing but the foolish pride of our political leaders for another year and a half, but that's been happening for the last 6 years already, and if we're lucky the body count won't be too high.

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