2/28/09 Ukiah, Northern California
From Jim Houle
The New York Times suggests that Obama has made a statesmanlike compromise between his campaign pledge to “get out of Iraq in 16 months” and the Pentagon Brass pushing for 23 months: he split the difference at 19 months (September 2010). Most Americans had thought on Election Day that this meant all troops would leave Iraq but we have been disabused of this naïve notion. America will continue to have “a residual force” stationed at the four large desert bases (often referred to as crusader castles) for an undefined number of years.
This “continuing presence” after August 2010 has been called Advisory Training Brigades. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell conceded on Feb. 24th that some would continue to “conduct combat operations,” and Iraq would still be considered a war zone. The rest would be what he described as “enablers.” The issue is why will we need them there? We can only conclude that Obama has not let go of what had been the over-riding justification for the invasion of Iraq back in 2003: to dominate the region militarily. The objective was then and continues to be: to control Iraq’s oil resources, to assure the continued security of the corrupt medieval monarchies in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and to utilize the Persian Gulf as our private lake. The four crusader fortifications we have built with their huge airfields and weapons stockpiles can serve as a launching pad for any bombing raids found necessary in future years to keep in line those ‘Seven Stans” of Central Asia: Kazakh, Uzbek, Tajik, Turkomen, Kirghiz, Afghani and Pakistani along with those unreliable Persians and any Palestinians that might acquire a modern weapon. It’s all part of the unworkable and unaffordable program called “full spectrum global dominance” back at the Pentagon and that has already run us near to full spectrum bankruptcy. The administration intends to call those remaining troops a “transition force” – apparently to guard us as we move to a Pax-Obama future. None of the Iraqi political parties support any continued US presence after the year 2011, as had been agreed during the Bush administration.
Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a bit confused: “I don’t know what the justification is for 50,000,” she said on MSNBC February 25th. “I would think a third of that, maybe 20,000, a little more than a third, 15,000 or 20,000.” As of February 26th, Obama’s people are putting the size of the residual force at 35 to 50,000. Obama just budgeted $130 billion to fund the wars costs for Iraq and Afghanistan for the fiscal year starting June 2009. Pentagon Spokesman Geoff Morrell has now further parsed his words: “while Iraq would remains a war zone, most of these remaining forces would not do anything that resembles fighting. But just because these troops would carry a sidearm, as all U.S. troops do in theater, that should not be confused with them having a combat mission”. What is this? Will two mile long runways be defended by residual forces with sidearms?