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 CounterCurrents.org for carrying Englehardt's post
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?