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While the news in and of itself is exciting that troops are leaving Iraq, there is other news that's not so exciting.

Soon there will be as many troops in Afghanistan as there are in Iraq, not to mention rapidly dying contractors, base expansions and more funding for secret special forces actions.

Tom Englehardt argues for a look at Obama Administration's  actions which portend that we are staying, vs. a few positive but misleading headlines of progress.

HT to for carrying  Englehardt's post

Yes, We Could... Get Out!
Why We Won’t Leave Afghanistan or Iraq


We could get out of Iraq and Afghanistan (and Pakistan and Yemen and ) if we were a reality based community and faced up to what current reality is there. Because our actions are not matching our announced plans, are they Mr. President?

Yes, we could. No kidding. We really could withdraw our massive armies, now close to 200,000 troops combined, from Afghanistan and Iraq (and that’s not even counting our similarly large stealth army of private contractors, which helps keep the true size of our double occupations in the shadows). We could undoubtedly withdraw them all reasonably quickly and reasonably painlessly.

Not that you would know it from listening to the debates in Washington or catching the mainstream news. There, withdrawal, when discussed at all, seems like an undertaking beyond the waking imagination. In Iraq alone, all those bases to dismantle and millions of pieces of equipment to send home in a draw-down operation worthy of years of intensive effort, the sort of thing that makes the desperate British evacuation from Dunkirk in World War II look like a Sunday stroll in the park. And that’s only the technical side of the matter. Snip

Tom has lots of specifics and history for your consideration.

Meteor Blade's excellent FP story today,

Pentagon Report: Afghan Taliban More Sophisticatedpointed to admitted problems with the Taliban doing end runs around our most expensive of militaries. In their own words (pdf linked in MB story.)

Following the December 2009 announcements of the troop uplift, insurgent leaders directed their commanders to avoid large-scale confrontation with ISAF forces and to increase the use of IEDs. This reporting period has seen insurgent combatants adhere closely to their leaders’ intent with a 236% increase in IEDs noted across the country and a marked increase in stand-off tactics compared to the same period last year. ISAF forces have enjoyed some success in clearing
insurgents from their strongholds, particularly in central Helmand, but progress in introducing governance and development to these areas to move toward hold and build operations has been slow. The insurgents’ tactic of re-infiltrating the cleared areas to perform executions has played a role in dissuading locals from siding with the Afghan Government, which has complicated efforts to introduce effective governance. ...

What a mindboggling quagmire we have gotten ourselves into.

When are we really getting out ? More Englehardt:

Similarly, we have a giant U.S. embassy in Kabul (being expanded) and another mega-embassy being built in the Pakistani capital Islamabad. These are not, rest assured, signs of departure. Nor is the fact that in Afghanistan and Pakistan, everything war-connected seems to be surging, even if in ways often not noticed here. President Obama’s surge decision has been described largely in terms of those 30,000-odd extra troops he’s sending in, not in terms of the shadow army of 30,000 or more extra private contractors taking on various military roles (and dying off the books in striking numbers); nor the extra contingent of CIA types and the escalating drone war they are overseeing in the Pakistani tribal borderlands; nor the quiet doubling of Special Operations units assigned to hunt down the Taliban leadership; nor the extra State department officials for the "civilian surge"; nor, for instance, the special $10 million "pool" of funds that up to 120 U.S. Special Operations forces, already in those borderlands training the paramilitary Pakistani Frontier Corps, may soon have available to spend "winning hearts and minds."snip

Another mega embassy being built. Where's that money come from? My social security fund? When we are so in need jobs here...

Grayson nailed it on Ed Show a while back:

"We could have gone home a long time ago."

"Nothing in Constitution that allows a foreign occupation...."

"That's right, permanent brain damage."

What can we who want to see this fail really end ?
Common Dreams carries PDA press release:
Rep. Jim McGovern Urges Colleagues to Vote No on War Escalation Funds

WASHINGTON - April 27 - Congressman Jim McGovern (D., Mass.), the second ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee, urged his colleagues to vote No on the upcoming supplemental to fund an escalation of war in Afghanistan with $33 billion.

Speaking on a podcast produced by Progressive Democrats of America, McGovern said, "In order to be able to fund the surge that the president requested a few months ago, there's going to need to be an emergency supplemental appropriations bill, and we expect that in the next couple of months. A couple of things that we're trying to get is first a separate vote on the Afghan war funding, versus all the other stuff in the supplemental, so there's an up or down vote on the war funding." Snip

Comments, tips, recs, flames, suggestions for action?

Originally posted to divineorder on Thu Apr 29, 2010 at 01:24 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How many contractors are going in? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Situational Lefty, thethinveil

    Are there deaths being recognized and reported?

    We need more transparency.

    by divineorder on Thu Apr 29, 2010 at 01:27:30 PM PDT

  •  I'm beginning to doubt (5+ / 0-)

    I'm beginning to doubt whether U.S. forces will ever be fully out of Iraq or Afghanistan; even if the occupation in Iraq ends and combat in Afghanistan ends, I suspect the U.S. plans a very long term presence in both countries

    Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

    by Linnaeus on Thu Apr 29, 2010 at 01:35:32 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for commenting, TE agrees with (3+ / 0-)

      you. What evidence do you see that this is the case?

      by divineorder on Thu Apr 29, 2010 at 01:41:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A couple of things lead me to that conclusion (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        First, the U.S. has had a long-standing military presence in the Middle East for 50+ years - it was primarily naval in nature, but now that the U.S. is working on bolstering a friendly government in Iraq, it would follow an already well-established pattern for the U.S. military to maintain a presence there.

        Secondly, I just don't see the U.S. dismantling its infrastructure and logistical footprint in Iraq and in Central Asia generally.  Why establish these huge bases if they're not intended to be permanent?

        Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

        by Linnaeus on Thu Apr 29, 2010 at 04:04:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bill Kristol and his crowd knew it years ago (3+ / 0-)

    that once Afghanistan became Obama's war, he would be stuck if he embraced the idea of escalating the conflict.

    The Democrats are not going to vote against funding the troops, and that is how the supplemental funding will be framed. Again.

    I want us out of Afghanistan, but I look at DC and I don't see it happening any time soon. Mainly because I don't see anybody willing to risk the Village and the GOP framing the bloody civil war that follows our withdrawal as 'Obama/Democrats "gave" Afghanistan back to the Taliban and now we are just waiting for another 911 because of it'.

    Being right, or having the facts on your side, doesn't matter in DC. The Conventional Wisdom does.

    It's insane, but that's how DC works.

    I think we are going to be in the Middle East until we reach a Viet-Nam style tipping point where the pain vastly exceeds people's fear of being tarred as 'the people who lost x'.

    At this point, I think its more likely that we go to war with Iran than withdraw from Afghanistan.

  •  Obama's Blackwater? (6+ / 0-)

    Obama's Blackwater? Triple Canopy, the New Lead US Mercenary Force in Iraq and Israel.  The Obama administration has confirmed the hiring of mercenary firm Triple Canopy to take over Blackwaters contract to protect US diplomats in Iraq.  Part of the firm's job will be to protect the monstrous US embassy in Baghdad.

    Obama's Blackwater? Chicago Mercenary Firm Gets Millions for Private "Security" in Israel and Iraq

    by Jeremy Scahill, April 2, 2009

    Federal records reveal a multi-million dollar contract for a private U.S. paramilitary force operating out of Jerusalem.

    On the campaign trail, Barack Obama's advisers said he "can't rule out [and] won't rule out" using mercenary forces, like Blackwater. Now, it appears that the Obama administration has decided on its hired guns of choice: Triple Canopy, a Chicago company now based in Virginia. It may not have Blackwater's thuggish reputation, but Triple Canopy has its own bloody history in Iraq and a record of hiring mercenaries from countries with atrocious human rights records. What's more, Obama is not just using the company in Iraq, but also as a U.S.-government funded private security force in Israel/Palestine, operating out of Jerusalem.

    Beginning May 7th, Triple Canopy will officially take over Xe/Blackwater's mega-contract with the U.S. State Department for guarding occupation officials in Iraq. It's sure to be a lucrative deal: Obama's Iraq plan will inevitably rely on an increased use of private contractors, including an army of mercenaries to protect his surge of diplomats operating out of the monstrous U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

    The Iraq contract may come as no surprise. But according to federal contract records obtained by AlterNet, the Obama administration has also paid Triple Canopy millions of dollars to provide "security services" in Israel. In February and March, the Obama administration awarded a "delivery order" to Triple Canopy worth $5.5 million under State Department contract SAQMPD05F5528, which is labeled "PROTECTIVE SERVICES--ISRAEL." According to one government document, the contract is scheduled to run until September 2012. (Another document says September 2009.) The contract is classified as "SECURITY GUARDS AND PATROL SERVICES" in Israel. The total value of the contract was listed at $41,556,969.72. According to a January 2009 State Department document obtained by AlterNet labeled "Sensitive But Unclassified," the Triple Canopy contract is based out of Jerusalem.

    According to federal records, the original arrangement with Triple Canopy in Israel appears to date back to at least September 2005 and has been renewed every year since. The company is operating under the State Department's Worldwide Personal Protection Program (WPPS), which provides for private security/military companies to operate on the U.S. government payroll in countries such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, and Israel. Triple Canopy, according to an internal State Department report, also worked under the program in Haiti, though that task order is now listed as "closed." In State Department documents the WPPS program is described as a government initiative to protect U.S. officials as well as "certain foreign government high level officials whenever the need arises." The State Department spent some $2 billion on the WPPS program from 2005-2008.

    Triple Canopy's Growing Footprint in Iraq

    Triple Canopy is hardly new to the Iraq occupation. Founded in Chicago in 2003 by "U.S. Army Special Forces veterans," the company won its first Iraq contract in 2004. In 2005, with its business expanding, Triple Canopy relocated its corporate headquarters from Obama's home state to Herndon, Virginia, placing it much closer to the center of U.S. war contracting. (On several U.S. government contracts, however, including the Israel security contracts, its Lincolnshire, Illinois address is still used.)

    Along with Blackwater and DynCorp, Triple Canopy has had armed operatives deployed in Iraq on a major U.S. government contract since the early stages of the occupation. At one point during this arrangement, Blackwater was responsible for Baghdad (the largest share of the work), DynCorp covered northern Iraq and Triple Canopy southern Iraq. Triple Canopy also worked for KBR and other corporations. As of 2007, Triple Canopy had about 2,000 operatives in Iraq, but only 257 on the State Department contract. However, its new contract, which takes effect May 7, will greatly expand Triple Canopy's government presence in Iraq. (Meanwhile, Blackwater is scheduled to continue to work in Iraq under Obama through its aviation division and in Afghanistan, where it has security and counter-narcotics contracts. It also holds millions of dollars in other U.S. government contracts around the world and in the U.S. In February alone, the Obama administration paid Blackwater nearly $70 million in security contracts.) The Obama administration may have traded Blackwater for Triple Canopy in Iraq, but it is likely that some of Blackwater's operatives, too, will simply jump over to Triple Canopy to keep working as armed security guards for occupation officials.

    I'll hope you'll go to the link and read the whole thing.

    "The first step towards madness is to think oneself wise." ~Fernando de Rojas

    by Annalize5 on Thu Apr 29, 2010 at 01:43:45 PM PDT

    •  Thanks, according to MeteorBlades Scahill (4+ / 0-)

      at Rayburn building teach in today.

      The   contractor policy continues on from the bad old Bush days it seems.

      Where does your Congressperson stand on the supplemental?

      by divineorder on Thu Apr 29, 2010 at 01:47:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  what really gets me is these mercenary groups (4+ / 0-)

      refer to themselves as "peacekeepers," when they have absolutely nothing to do with making or creating PEACE. The transparency issue mentioned above is important in regards to "whom" these groups answer to for their actions.

      Keep calling your reps to vote DOWN the war supplemental, and call for exit plans and accountability for both Iraq and Afghanistan

      •  Thanks for commenting. Mercenaries? (4+ / 0-)

        More Tom from the op cit in diary:


        Without the help of U.S. forces, for example, would the Maliki government ever have been able to announce the death of the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq?  Not likely, whereas the U.S. has knocked off its leadership twice, first in 2006, and again, evidently, last week.

        Of course, before our troops entered Baghdad in 2003 and the American occupation of that country began, there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq.  But that’s a distant past not worth bringing up.  And forget as well the fact that our invasions and wars have proven thunderously destructive, bringing chaos, misery, and death in their wake, and turning, for instance, the health care system of Iraq, once considered an advanced country in the Arab world, into a disaster zone(that -- it goes without saying -- only we Americans are now equipped to properly fix). snip

        Accountability. Transparency. Yes.

        by divineorder on Thu Apr 29, 2010 at 02:19:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good job divineorder. I read that article (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Linnaeus, divineorder, enhydra lutris

    as Englehardt is always worth my time.  It would appear now we aren't getting out of either country for quite some time no matter what happens.  I'm not sure why people can't get that thru their heads.  It's just not possible and still maintain the power position the U.S. elites want to continue in the Middle East, Central Asia, and regarding China and Russia.  

    "Peace cannot be achieved by force. It can only be achieved by understanding" Albert Einstein

    by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Apr 29, 2010 at 03:33:25 PM PDT

  •  War is injustice, money and homicide, (0+ / 0-)

    there is nothing there that we need soldiers for. This is not defense. this is totally brainless. If this is about politics, then whoever supports this is blinded by whatever ambition that they nurture.      

            There is too much willingness to abandon issues in favor of a pragmatism that is just cynicism by any other description. This crosses party lines and if you are a Democrat, and I am a Democrat, you have to speak out against it.

    Stop coddling Obama and making excuses for him. Are we not strong enough to stop this or was the election a happy accident? He has decided to be POTUS of the country, not leader of the country.

    Liberty Valence Keep your eyes on the prize.

    by libertyvalence on Thu Apr 29, 2010 at 07:23:03 PM PDT

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