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It's not.  Stop telling me this is a grand campaign promise that was kept by President Obama. It wasn't. This withdrawal was all a result of the SOFA signed in 2008 and put together by the Bush administration and the Malaki government in Iraq. This administration had little to do with it except for the fact that this administration preferred to have more troops stay in Iraq for longer than this year.

On top of all of this, to add insult to injury, recently we found out by surprise that one of the disgusting lies about the war is alive within this Democratic administration and its Secretary of Defense.  Way to pick ‘em, Mr. President.

“As difficult as [the Iraq war] was,” and the cost in both American and Iraqi lives, “I think the price has been worth it, to establish a stable government in a very important region of the world,”

It's almost as if we're living with the same McCain administration I was afraid of when I illustrated this in support of Obama during the 2008 general election. Sadly the same kind of neoconservative propaganda McCain was spouting on his "not listening" tour in Iraq is now being spouted within what is somehow called a "Democratic administration."

Original art by ©priceman

Defense Secretary Leon Peneta’s neoconservative nonsense is a slap in the face to the over 4,500 soldiers who died and the over 30,000 wounded over an immoral illegal war and it was NOT WORTH IT!  I guess I should expect this from someone who scoffs at reducing military spending while gunning for Medicare cuts, but I didn’t expect the president to agree when he said that.

And yet we hear that the war was worth the price. Huh? There are some estimates that count the death toll of Iraqis of over a million or at the very least in the hundreds of thousands. I wonder how they feel about this statement? Will we be seeing a real rebuke of some kind from the President? Or does the President not care enough as he didn't care about the SS hating Alan Simpson insulting Social Security recipients when the first Catfood commission was created by him to fit this harmful narrative?

It matters not whether the President wants a big song and dance about the war being over because it is not really over. The damage will live on. I can't imagine why only 10 people showed up to Obama's Chicago "I ended the war" celebration, except for the fact that people are not as dumb as this White House apparently thinks they are at times.

And as I mentioned in my last diary which bears repeating from Marcy Wheeler, Presidents that keep invoking the horrendous abusive authority granted to George W. Bush in 2001 are NOT Presidents that get to celebrate ending a war they claimed they were against as emptywheel said:

And while it is true that the Administration had a campaign event dog and pony show yesterday declaring the war over, it is not.

After all, Rand Paul tried to formally, legally end the Iraq war last month. And 67 Senators refused to do so.

snip

And, as I keep noting, the Iraq AUMF serves another purpose. That AUMF’s general language on “terrorism” has been used to authorize the use of “war powers” against people the Executive Branch claims are terrorists who have nothing to do with al Qaeda. The Iraq AUMF has been interpreted by the Executive Branch to authorize a war against all so-called terrorists, not just the terrorists who hit us on 9/11. And based on that argument, it was used to authorize the wiretapping of American citizens in the US.

This is a war that could have and should have ended in 2007-2009 when former WI progressive Senator Russ Feingold tried to end it(h/t geomoo) but Democrats kept funding it using the innocent bystander fable to fool the public into thinking they had no other choice.

Even as most troops are leaving Iraq now, we can be sure that Iraq will not be leaving them when they get home. With the busting of the housing bubble and the great crash of 2008 partially caused by a Goldman Sachs Treasury in two administrations now and Tim Geithner, what will they come home to? The prospects are not good.

NO, the war is NOT over. Not for veterans or anyone else. And now, on top of everything else, veterans have to deal with the class war waged on them by the 1% as Scott Olsen found out after he heroically served in Iraq and found the enemy when he came home. He suffered brain swelling from being hit in the head with a projectile by the police sworn to protect and serve him as he served them only for marching for economic justice and his rights as a US citizen and veteran.

It may bore some, but now I have to include macroeconomic policy, particularly fiscal policy because the shockingly poor fiscal policy that is part of the debate embraced by Republicans and Democrats will affect soldiers coming home from Iraq. Many soldiers will also be "sharing;" I’m sorry, bearing most of what Republicans, Democrats, and our President call "shared sacrifice" which is a concept brought on by the same bipartisan deficit error-ists who have created this economic nightmare for soldiers to come home to.

Of course veterans will bear it all and NOT Wall St CEOs who didn't serve this country. The neoliberals, neoconservatives, and their enablers all work in tandem with our bought Congress using their war, their Bush tax cuts, and their great recession they helped cause in order to gut our social safety net for what I call scared sacrifice.

It's very similar to the way they sold the Iraq war except they are using those deficits as a political weapon instead of 9/11 to hurt the public and the soldiers who serve the public. This the only true danger of deficits since everyone in Washington and the media is stuck on stupid and spreads that deficit stupidity everywhere financed by big money. Deficits are not dangerous or financially constraining for our country in and of themselves but they are political Weapons of Mass Destruction and Weapons of Mass Distraction. This will affect the well being of every veteran coming home from Iraq.

It won’t help them that their commander in chief buys into the deficit hysteria Republicans hypocritically perpetuate via “getting the deficit in order” instead of spending which equals jobs for veterans when they get home. When sellout politicians and their enablers of failed economic policy in Congress(in the short term or the long term) praise cuts, austerity, and balancing the budget in any way right now, it does have a harmful effect on everyone and hurts veterans' families too. That's why I have to talk about it and urge you to read my links. It matters to veterans and everyone else.

Given the broken families, high suicide rates, and casualties this war has created among veterans and their families, the human damage will last many lifetimes for many lives connected to it which is a real tragedy. That's what the politicians and the White House don't get. Wasted human potential from all the deaths in these wars are the most damaging waste of all. Human misery from the lack of investment in these human beings when they get home from serving their country is not spoken of in a serious vein like it deserves.

The fact that the labor value of human beings and their limited time on this earth being wasted in misery is never discussed in dire terms like the deficit, is insulting, immoral, and bad economics in general. This is also true whether we are talking about Iraqis, the Pashtun people, Greeks, or US citizens.  Income inequality and economic suffering is a tragedy. It kills.

In a time of low demand, to talk about the deficit and to acknowledge that POV from sociopaths in the GOP and Democrats like them is having a detrimental effect on those that this president and his enablers of the "dangerous deficits" propaganda claim to care about the most. This is a cruel way to imply that we as a country can’t afford to care for the general welfare of our citizens and veterans because of “scary deficits in the long term” even though we can afford 3 trillion dollar wars. Granted raising revenue and long term deficit reduction is better than the short term cuts to balance the budget that the GOP wants, it still took the Occupy movement to change the narrative entirely from deficits back to jobs.

This is especially important for our veterans so they have some form of dignity when they get back from Iraq instead of finding the country in shambles including their family and friends. The GOP obviously doesn't care which is a given so I don't write diaries about it. Democrats are supposed to care more but they absolutely failed on defunding the war before too many died. Democratic efforts were half ass and uninspiring on the 1.4 trillion of deficit spending we needed at the time ripe to try to push for it to alleviate veterans’ economic suffering among everyone else's.

To acknowledge even long term deficits at this time is just cruel idiotic framing and economics. I wish even progressive Democrats understood how harmful their "yeah they're right, but not right now" narrative is on deficits. It’s bad enough as it is, but it’s even worse when the damage from this deficit idiocy takes the form of a human face, an unemployed person’s face, or any soldier’s face; a face that sacrificed more than most just trying to readjust after leaving the hell of a warzone.

If Democrats and Republicans want to talk about debt, they need to talk about the private debt Americans and particularly veterans are facing as they are being foreclosed on once they get home. Democrats should also realize the effect of deflation on veterans' homes so they can't cash out on their equity anymore or readjust. Private debt deflation is where the debt problem lies, not the government's books which are not like a veteran's family's books no matter how many times the president says it.

We have to combat the private debt overhang for veterans and their families like all Americans employed and unemployed. We also needs to spend like it's a demand economy because it is and we must make domestic spending as priority for every veteran coming home and everyone else. Although it’s true that war spending creates some jobs, they really pale in comparison to other domestic sectors in our economy.

That money could have been spent in our economy and could have built up our crumbling infrastructure having a much larger multiplier effect than the paltry payroll tax credit being fought over by the bought Congress that won’t spur hiring and threatens Social Security. There was always massive waste from the start to the supposed finish of this war even though our President said he would work to rid us of the abuses of war contractors and war profiteers who still do business with his DHS.

Probably the best summation of all of this comes from my favorite New Keynesian Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz who co-wrote the book: The Three Trillion Dollar War
The True Cost Of The Iraq Conflict

The growing use of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan doing everything from cooking and cleaning to servicing weapons systems and protecting U.S. diplomats has increased operational expenses far more than if we had relied solely on the Army. A 2006 survey by the Department of Defense's Central Command showed that the United States is employing more than 100,000 private contractors; this number represents a tenfold increase over the use of contractors during the Gulf War in 1991. Given our failure to increase the size of the military, the United States cannot operate without them. For the most part, these people work side by side with U.S. troops and share the risks and hardship. An estimated 1,000 contractors have been killed since 2003.

The invasion of Iraq opened up new opportunities for private military security firms. The State Department alone spent more than $4 billion on security guards in 2007—up from $1 billion three years ago. Blackwater Security got an initial toehold in 2003 with a $27 million no-bid contract to guard L. Paul Bremer III, the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority (the U.S. occupational authority in Baghdad). That contract was expanded to $100 million a year later. By 2007, it held a $1.2 billion contract for Iraq and employed 845 private security contractors.

In 2007, private security guards working for companies such as Blackwater and Dyncorp were earning up to $1,222 a day; this amounts to $445,000 a year. By contrast, an Army sergeant was earning $140 to $190 a day in pay and benefits, a total of $51,100 to $69,350 a year.

Worse, the military has been competing against itself: the high pay for the contractors is one of the factors forcing the Army to offer ever higher bonuses for reenlisting. Soldiers, as their tour of duty comes to an end, can go to work for contractors at much higher wages. Despite huge increases in reenlistment pay, the military is losing some of its most experienced personnel to the private contracting firms.

Many have questioned the wisdom of such reliance on private contractors instead of strengthening the core military force, but not just because of the higher costs. Not only were these contractors more expensive than troops; they were not subject to military discipline or supervision. Of course, most contractors are hardworking, honest people, performing under difficult conditions. But the brutality of a few has become legendary and has inflamed the conflict.

The use of contractors is, in essence, a partial privatization of the armed forces. Yet there are good reasons why countries do not privatize their military. It makes sense for governments to privatize steel mills; or even to privatize natural monopolies like electricity or gas, provided adequate regulatory frameworks are implemented to make sure that these monopolies do not use their market power to overcharge consumers. It does not make sense to privatize the military. Proponents of privatization often argue that it encourages customer responsiveness. Steel companies can enhance their profits by offering products that are more to the liking of their customers, of higher quality and greater reliability. For the most part, those who interact with military contractors do not do so voluntarily; there is no market where they can choose to be interrogated by a contractor from the United States, or by some other provider. Indeed, the incentives are perverse. The incentives of the contractor are to minimize his costs, and those incentives do not take into account the nation's broad range of public objectives.

After all I’ve said, you might still ask yourself why I don’t feel like joining in the celebration that most of our troops are finally leaving Iraq, well this is a very good reason, among many. Especially when you take into account that we will be leaving 52,637 military contractors in Iraq and 101,789 military contractors in our undefined seemingly endless military adventure in Afghanistan.

Jeremy Scahill is on this.

A couple of years ago, Blackwater executive Joseph Schmitz seemed to see a silver lining for mercenary companies with the prospect of US forces being withdrawn or reduced in Iraq. “There is a scenario where we could as a government, the United States, could pull back the military footprint,” Schmitz said. “And there would then be more of a need for private contractors to go in.”
When it comes to armed contractors, it seems that Schmitz was right.

According to new statistics released by the Pentagon, with Barack Obama as commander in chief, there has been a 23% increase in the number of “Private Security Contractors” working for the Department of Defense in Iraq in the second quarter of 2009 and a 29% increase in Afghanistan, which “correlates to the build up of forces” in the country. In Iraq, the Pentagon attributes the increase to better accounting. But, these numbers relate explicitly to DoD security contractors. Companies like Blackwater and its successor Triple Canopy work on State Department contracts and it is unclear if these contractors are included in the over-all statistics. This means, the number of individual “security” contractors could be quite higher, as could the scope of their expansion

Need I remind you all of the murder and rape by Blackwater and Halliburton/KBR contractors? I would hope not. So no, this is not an end to war, hostilities, the theft of public resources, war crimes, or overall waste in Iraq or Afghanistan whether anyone likes it or not or how I said it.

I’m happy for the families that get to see their loved ones again, but that certainly isn’t a given considering the Obama administration is ramping up our presence in the Persian gulf while boasting about ending the war in Iraq with little to nothing to do with it including ground troops in Kuwait.

U.S. Planning Troop Buildup in Gulf After Exit From Iraq (h/t Agathena)

MacDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The Obama administration plans to bolster the American military presence in the Persian Gulf after it withdraws the remaining troops from Iraq this year, according to officials and diplomats. That repositioning could include new combat forces in Kuwait able to respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran.

snip

In addition to negotiations over maintaining a ground combat presence in Kuwait, the United States is considering sending more naval warships through international waters in the region.

With an eye on the threat of a belligerent Iran, the administration is also seeking to expand military ties with the six nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. While the United States has close bilateral military relationships with each, the administration and the military are trying to foster a new “security architecture” for the Persian Gulf that would integrate air and naval patrols and missile defense.

snip

Mr. Obama and his senior national security advisers have sought to reassure allies and answer critics, including many Republicans, that the United States will not abandon its commitments in the Persian Gulf even as it winds down the war in Iraq and looks ahead to doing the same in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

“We will have a robust continuing presence throughout the region, which is proof of our ongoing commitment to Iraq and to the future of that region, which holds such promise and should be freed from outside interference to continue on a pathway to democracy,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in Tajikistan after the president’s announcement.

During town-hall-style meetings with military personnel in Asia last week, the secretary of defense, Leon E. Panetta, noted that the United States had 40,000 troops in the region, including 23,000 in Kuwait, though the bulk of those serve as logistical support for the forces in Iraq.

The President must think we have our head under Iraq or something. Isn't it nice that we can afford to keep feeding the war machine in Iraq and Afghanistan among the whole Middle East? Isn't it nice while the American people who voted him in must be condescended to about how we "must understand that we deserve to be equated with Republicans in this debate and that we need to share sacrifice with the bankers who brought the economy down" that the leisure class's last dollar is nowhere near being drawn nor are their assets?

Our assets are deflating and our last dollar is a matter of life or death which will surely be drawn like our last breathe.

Glenn Greenwald's reference to military historian and former Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich's apt statement about the Iraq war, the Bush administration, and the Obama administration is a painfully accurate take on all of this so I will end with it.

The disastrous legacy of the Iraq War extends beyond treasure squandered and lives lost or shattered. Central to that legacy has been Washington’s decisive and seemingly irrevocable abandonment of any semblance of self-restraint regarding the use of violence as an instrument of statecraft. With all remaining prudential, normative, and constitutional barriers to the use of force having now been set aside, war has become a normal condition, something that the great majority of Americans accept without complaint. War is U.S.

One senses that this was what the likes of [Vice President Dick] Cheney, [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld, and [Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul] Wolfowitz (urged on by militarists cheering from the sidelines and with George W. Bush serving as their enabler) intended all along. By leaving intact and even enlarging the policies that his predecessor had inaugurated, President Barack Obama has handed these militarists an unearned victory. As they drag themselves from one “overseas contingency operation” to the next, American soldiers must reckon with the consequences. So too will the somnolent American people be obliged to do, perhaps sooner than they think.

So don't you dare tell me the Iraq war is over!

Don't you dare tell me that this is a victory for President Obama or the American people!

Don't you dare tell me that this bloody quagmire was worth the price!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow, this is really Obama Derangement Syndrome (9+ / 0-)

    taken to a whole new level:

    It's almost as if we're living with the same McCain administration I was afraid of when I illustrated this in support of Obama during the 2008 general election. Sadly the same kind of neoconservative propaganda McCain was spouting on his "not listening" tour in Iraq is now being spouted within what is somehow called a "Democratic administration."

    What is Panetta supposed to say, considering he is the Defense Secretary? I doubt even the biggest liberal would tell a coworker who had a child who died in Iraq, that their life was given in vain.

    •  "almost" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tytalus, Deep Texan

      covers a lot of territory.

      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Loge on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 08:43:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bacevich lost a child in Afghanistan (15+ / 0-)

      The grief doesn't prevent him from reaching a realistic assessment of these military adventures.

      The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress. - Bacevich

      by geomoo on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 09:02:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psilocynic, lostinamerica, Deep Texan

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 09:14:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He could have said (17+ / 0-)

      that he is proud of our brothers and sisters in the military who served in harms way, or one of the hundreds of cliches that officials regularly use.  He didn't have to flat out lie.

      How many Americans would answer yes to a poll asking if the war in Iraq was worth it?  Not a lot.   So who decides if it was worth it or not?  The military-industrial complex?  I know it was worth it to them and all the people who profit from war. But it was not worth it for the people of this country in any way, shape or form.  I can't believe you are arguing that the Iraq war was worth it.  That is very telling.

      •  so agree, joanneleon. (7+ / 0-)
        How many Americans would answer yes to a poll asking if the war in Iraq was worth it?  Not a lot.   So who decides if it was worth it or not?  The military-industrial complex?  I know it was worth it to them and all the people who profit from war. But it was not worth it for the people of this country in any way, shape or form.  I can't believe you are arguing that the Iraq war was worth it.  That is very telling.

        Rhetoric has to be matched with actions. "Only actions don't lie."

        by allenjo on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 09:49:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Something like Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich (8+ / 0-)

      Something close to the truth.

      Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin - I Illustrate #OWS protest T-shirts you can buy at priceman political prints

      by priceman on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 09:17:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How do Pat Tillman's family feel? (14+ / 0-)

      Not only did their son die in a cause he had begun not to believe in, his death was attended by lies and propaganda.  What do you tell his parents?  I can tell you what the government told his parents--lies.

      The invasion was illegal and based on lies.  This is a fact.  Iraq was never an existential threat to the U.S.  This is a fact.  There is no honor in pretending otherwise.  There is honor in serving one's country, in making the ultimate sacrifice for one's ideals.  There in no honor is ignoring the lies of the politicians who sent a son or daughter to a senseless and unjust death.

      The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress. - Bacevich

      by geomoo on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 09:20:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I dont disagree with most of what you (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        triv33, Supavash, second gen, Deep Texan

        But it was Obama or Panetta that launched the war.

        And I think when you are commander in chief or defense secretary, you have to be careful with your words in situations like this. If you are critical, fair enough, but to compare Obama and McCain is ridiculous, imo. My guess is McCain wouldnt have withdrawn any troops.

        •  I think you might be right about McCain... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ocular sinister, joanneleon

          but I'm still having trouble with the thousands of mercenaries we're leaving there and the troops we're withdrawing from Iraq? How many will be rotated right back into Afghanistan?
           Yeah, when you're CIC you should be careful with your words. You should be even more careful with your actions.

          I shave my legs with Occam's razor.

          by triv33 on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 09:51:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I dont know how many are (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Deep Texan, triv33

            actually "mercenaries". There will be a lot of diplomats, contractors there, and they need security. Whether there are too many people there, I dont know, there might be. I figure you would have more people there than at a typical embassy, given how fragile the country is. But maybe it is too much.

            Obama's withdrawing 33k troops by Sept from Afghanistan. Yes, it should be faster, but we are withdrawing a significant number. You are right, a president should be careful with their actions, and that includes an abrupt withdrawal too, imo. We had 142k troop in Iraq when Obama became president, and I think he withdrew them in a responsible way, even if it wasnt as quick as I like.

            As far as troops going to Afghanistan, some probably will. Even during a withdrawal, different troops are rotated in, even as the overall number declines.

            •  well, I've always been anti-war, so... (8+ / 0-)

              I guess I'm going to have a problem with any of it until and unless they land on our shores.
               But, yeah, the mercenaries---that really bothers me. You can call them contractors if that makes you feel better, but they're mercenaries. Diplomats need security? Do you honestly believe the men and women of our armed forces are incapable of supplying that? Our elite forces? Or did somebody somewhere along the way decide that was a job that ought to be privatized?
               All of the things those mercenaries do are things that had always been done by military personnel, why did that need to change? Is it more cost effective? I think not.
               There's something very wrong with that whole deal and calling them contractors is something I will never do.  

              I shave my legs with Occam's razor.

              by triv33 on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:11:49 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It is demonstrably less cost effective, in fact. (6+ / 0-)

                From December Harpers Index:

                Percentage by which the average contracted project costs the government more than the equivalent government-run project:  83

                The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress. - Bacevich

                by geomoo on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:28:11 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Well, some are contractors (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                triv33

                I mean, some are people who provide food and supplies to the embassy. Not sure they are mercenaries in any sense of the word.

                As far as this:

                Do you honestly believe the men and women of our armed forces are incapable of supplying that? Our elite forces? Or did somebody somewhere along the way decide that was a job that ought to be privatized?

                So you want us to have more US military in the country? I believe there are like 150-200 Marines at the embassy(which we have at every embassy) and that's it, in terms of our armed forces. That's not enough to provide protection to diplomats traveling around the country. I certainly have concerns about the conduct of some of these groups like Blackwater, but I'd rather have private security, and have the troops come home.

                •  Yes. Every single one is a mercenary. (7+ / 0-)

                  Ever heard of KP? Food, vehicle maintenance, security... everything, all of it used to be done by our own people and they were subject to our rules of conduct.
                   How do you think the soldier that used to have that job feels about his government paying a private mercenary 100,000 for a job he got 18,000 for?
                   They are mercenaries in every sense of the word.

                  http://iluvluvluvlucy.hubpages.com/...

                  I shave my legs with Occam's razor.

                  by triv33 on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:56:58 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I get the point about costs and rules of conduct (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    triv33

                    But are you saying we should put US forces back into Iraq to provide that security and those services?

                    Because I dont think anyone is suggesting we have no embassy at all there. So if you have an embassy, you have diplomats. Again, maybe there are too many, but I think it makes sense you will have more in Iraq, than you would in, say, Belgium. So there needs to be security, food, supplies provided to the diplomats and embassy staff. I dont love the idea of privatization, but, in general, I'd rather private companies do it, rather than keeping US forces there.

                    •  Do you get the point that the cost (5+ / 0-)

                      of these mercenaries isn't just a number on a budget? Maybe some of the money going to pay for them could be going to pay for treatment of those that come home with PTSD or need other help.
                      Sure, bring our people home. The jobless rate among our young veterans is double that of their peers.
                       So, had we not privatized things like food service, laundry, vehicle maintenance, etc, they might not have had to stay in Iraq, but might have still had a job in the service. Maybe at one of our many, many other bases around the world.
                       I knew somebody that saw a good portion of the world doing just that.

                      I shave my legs with Occam's razor.

                      by triv33 on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 11:30:27 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  If we don't have any troops there (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      priceman, geomoo, triv33, ocular sinister

                      why do we need all of these mercenaries?

                      And why do we need that huge embassy?  I think there are going to be around 25K people in that embassy.  A few hundred marines?  Who are the other couple dozen thousand people there?  Why do we need to be there at all?

                    •  Deaths of private contractors are more palatable? (5+ / 0-)

                      Is that what you are saying?  I'm just trying to understand why you prefer to have private forces doing exactly the same jobs at three times the salary and more and with less accountability.  What is the advantage?

                      And triv is right, there is much anger among the regular troops seeing mercernaries doing the same job for more money and with special privileges.  This is real also, but those who love to "support the troops" are usually keen to ignore this aspect of caring about their situation.

                      Privatization started with Reagan. Neo-cons like it because it enables them to siphon public money into their own pockets while leaving them unaccountable to the public.  Replacing local school boards with private schools is an easily understandable example of this.  Traditionally, the Dem Party stands for the opposite of these selfish, parasitic values.

                      Early in the war, I read an account of a training of people who were going over as truck drivers and such.  A few of them reported an occasion at which they engaged in a call and response with the trainers.  "Why are we doing it?" came the question.  "For the money," was the taught reply, yelled with gusto.  Raw capitalism is not democracy and the profit motive is not the same as wanting what is best for the Iraqis, yet it seems Americans have no problem ignoring the cognitive dissonance.

                      The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress. - Bacevich

                      by geomoo on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 12:30:31 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  "Why are we doing it?" (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        geomoo, triv33, ocular sinister, priceman
                        "For the money," was the taught reply, yelled with gusto.

                        Photobucket

                        The Los Angeles Times reports after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the George W. Bush administration flooded the conquered country with so much cash to pay for reconstruction and other projects in the first year that a new unit of measurement was born.

                        Pentagon officials determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills. They sent an initial full planeload of cash, followed by 20 other flights to Iraq by May 2004 in a $12-billion haul that U.S. officials believe to be the biggest international cash airlift of all time.

                        Photobucket

                        Photobucket

                •  Then maybe we shouldn't be traveling (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  priceman

                  around a country we are profoundly unwelcome in.

                  You present a false dichotomy.  Our choices are not "Dirty fucking guns for hire bereft of a moral compass or any shred of human decency" or "Our Marines in harms way".

                  There's another choice.  We don't send State Department personnel all over Iraq trying to help US firms get new oil deals.

                  She's the sort of person who would not only happily stay in Omelas, but would ask "Couldn't life be more wonderful if we threw a few more kids in there?"

                  by JesseCW on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 06:25:21 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I hope you are happy with the waste (7+ / 0-)

              when the deficits run up are used to cut your SS.

              Maybe Blackwater executive Joseph Schmitz's statement doesn't bother you, but it shows there will be plenty of mercenaries.

              Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin - I Illustrate #OWS protest T-shirts you can buy at priceman political prints

              by priceman on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:12:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  If they have guns (5+ / 0-)

              they are mercenaries.

              And these mercenaries cost us a bloody fortune and the defense contractors they work for are making a fortune too.  There are numerous examples of fraud and corruption and substandard work.

              It also gives our government a way of waging a privatized war.

              It's disgusting.  We spend more money on military than all the countries in this world combined.  

        •  I was comparing Paneta to McCain (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pot, ocular sinister, triv33

          and Obama did pick Panetta(not a direct comparison), but nothing he does he is ever responsible for. McCain would pick someone like Panetta who thinks this BS war was worth it.

          Obama and McCain agree on using the AUMF as well. You have to truly analyze what I said.

          Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin - I Illustrate #OWS protest T-shirts you can buy at priceman political prints

          by priceman on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 09:58:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  SOFA agreement (4+ / 0-)

          McCain would have been bound by the SOFA agreement too.  It was done during the Bush administration.  It's ridiculous to say that McCain would not have withdrawn any troops.  In order to do that he would have had to renegotiate the SOFA agreement.  Obama tried his best to keep troops in Iraq but was not able to reach agreement with the Iraqis.  McCain would have run into the same situation.

          The Iraqis ended this war.

          And anyway, back during the primary campaign days, Obama and Clinton were talking about withdrawing the troops within 16 months and you can see that that never happened with Obama.  Instead he tried to get them to stay past the SOFA deadline.  And instead of sending a few more brigades to Afghanistan he blew that war up in size beyond belief.  And has plans to stay there for God knows how long.  Just like McCain.

          •  That doesn't mean anything (0+ / 0-)

            Like I said before, if the U.S. really wanted to stay, they could stay. If McCain knows this as you say, why was he complaining about it? He knows about the agreement, so he should be have no problem with them withdrawing right?

            •  Have you been (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ocular sinister, priceman, JesseCW

              under a rock or something?

              Of course he's complaining. He'll criticize anything Obama does, even if it was something he himself promoted at some point in the past, even last week.

              He's in campaign mode, Supavash. He thinks that is his job.

              He lost the election, Supavash.  He criticizes everything Democrats do and has done this since the day after the election.  

              Have you not noticed the Republican strategy? Or the Democratic strategy for that matter?  They both criticize everything the other side does.

              Please.  

            •  Iraq would have erupted in massive violence (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              priceman, JesseCW

              if Obama left the 10 to 15 thousand troops he wanted to remain there. Another reason for the complete pullout was that American troops would be subject to Iraqi law. The US does not fight in any war theater where American troops are subject to international law.

    •  Damn near ready to HR that crap for that (5+ / 0-)

      Obama Derangement Syndrome" horse shit. It is a baseless insult, invariably, and serves no purpose, other than insulting people, than to shout "I dislike what you said about dear leader, but have nothing substantive or factual to say about it."

      What is Panetta supposed to say

      1. The truth
      2. Nothing at all
      3. Anything but lies and propaganda

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 09:58:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Criticize Obama or Panetta all you want (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Supavash, Deep Texan

        It's the part where he is compared to McCain that I didnt like.

        There is a knee jerk reaction to turn anything positive about Obama into a negative.

        •  Afactual bullshit. (5+ / 0-)
          There is a knee jerk reaction to turn anything positive about Obama into a negative.

          Maybe in your mind, but not demonstrably true in empirical reality.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:07:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I actually think this is a very true (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Deep Texan, SouthernBelleNC49

            I can go through every positive diary on Obama and you will find the same people attempting to turn it into a negative.

            •  And the same happens in critical diaries (4+ / 0-)

              where for example the boosters show up to spin killing a 17 year old kid with a drone love bomb as a huge win.

              "Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave." -- Chris Hedges

              by pot on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:38:54 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  your thoughts on the matter, even were you a (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ocular sinister, pot

              credentialed shrinkologist, would still be nothing more than afactual bullshit. That's ok, nothing mandates that this really be a reality based site, but slinging shit based on said afactual baseless opinions is disreputable at best.

              You cannot truthfully and factually speak to another's motives except by two means:

              1> projection, speaks of your thought processes, not theirs, or

              2> open, on point, declaration of motive by the victim of your assertions.

              I haven't seen any cases of #2, so you might think before throwing accusations of brainless knee-jerk behavior, since such statements, given the lack of admissions, indicate that either you would act in such fashion and are projecting that onto your victims or that you simply don't give a shit whether or not your accusations are true.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 11:06:16 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  YOu have Obama Infatuation Syndrome (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chipmo, ocular sinister

      "Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave." -- Chris Hedges

      by pot on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:33:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Under this rubric, NO American war (6+ / 0-)

      can ever be acknowledged to have been "in vain"
      ...and all conceivable wars are a priori "justifiable."

      I'll never accept that.

      When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

      by PhilJD on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:39:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizenx, psilocynic, Deep Texan, doroma

    The Iraq war is over.

    "Math is a theory, so it's not taught in the Bible."

    by lcj98 on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 08:31:26 AM PST

  •  Iraq War (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizenx, Loge, psilocynic, Deep Texan, doroma

    The Iraq War is over.

    There I said it.

    We're all just monkeys burning in hell. SmokeyMonkey.org

    by smokeymonkey on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 08:31:35 AM PST

  •  Stable government in Iraq? (18+ / 0-)

    Baghdad bombings leave at least 60 dead, nearly 200 injured, and that is just today. Wonder how long it will be before we send troops back in?  Hope that is just my cynical side speaking and not a real possibility.  I hate that we use mercenaries.

    Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day. Harry Truman

    by temptxan on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 08:31:52 AM PST

  •  War Is Over (10+ / 0-)

    I shave my legs with Occam's razor.

    by triv33 on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 08:33:53 AM PST

  •  Question (4+ / 0-)

    Are you also upset about the Air Force bases in Turkey and Saudi Arabia?  Because they've been there for at least 30 years...

    "Math is a theory, so it's not taught in the Bible."

    by lcj98 on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 08:38:32 AM PST

  •  Easy for him to say (17+ / 0-)
    “As difficult as [the Iraq war] was,” and the cost in both American and Iraqi lives, “I think the price has been worth it, to establish a stable government in a very important region of the world,”

    I was disgusted when Panetta said that.

    And the government isn't stable.  Maliki just issued an arrest warrant for the Vice President and it looks like he is going to form a Majority Shia government, which undoes all the work of the past several years to stabilize and equalize the power sharing of the three regions.

  •  "They liberated us with bombs on our houses" (14+ / 0-)

    This is the shorter version of Bacevich used by Iraqis, who are by and large not grateful for what has been "given" them by the illegal U.S. invasion of their sovereign country on the basis of lies.

    Here is the mere beginnings of a realistic assessment of what the Iraq invasion has done to the Iraqi people and to us here in the "homeland."

    In October of 2004, a Johns Hopkins study found that civilian deaths in Iraq were far higher than the official figures.  The study was done using statistical principles, which sounds dry.  The execution was anything but.  Areas were chosen at random on a map, and the investigators traveled in person to those areas, no matter how dangerous, and interviewed the randomly selected family.  Typical of the obfuscation and lies that have surrounded this fake war from the beginning, the study was discounted and largely ignored.  An October 2004 study confirmed the initial findings, which are that death rates in Iraq following the invasion remained at three times the rate to have been expected under pre-war conditions.

    As many as 654,965 more Iraqis may have died since hostilities began in Iraq in March 2003 than would have been expected under pre-war conditions...
    snip

    About half of the households surveyed were uncertain who was responsible for the death of a household member.

    What may look like success to us may not feel so terrific to those Iraqis who did not flee as refugees.

    The citizens of Fallujah are still suffering from the use of illegal white phosphorous and depleted uranium in the barbaric destruction of their city.  Here is an excerpt from a letter to the U.N., signed by Iraqi leaders not chosen by the U.S.:

    Young women in Fallujah in Iraq are terrified of having children because of the increasing number of babies born grotesquely deformed, with no heads, two heads, a single eye in their foreheads, scaly bodies or missing limbs. In addition, young children in Fallujah are now experiencing hideous cancers and leukaemias....

    In September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital had 170 new born babies, 24% of whom were dead within the first seven days, a staggering 75% of the dead babies were classified as deformed.

    This can be compared with data from the month of August in 2002 where there were 530 new born babies of whom six were dead within the first seven days and only one birth defect was reported.

    Crowing over success in Iraq bears a chilling resemblance to dancing on the graves of the dead and suffering.  Fortunately for history, there are still some institutions with integrity in the U.S., interested in more than propaganda and PR.

    What we do know, without debate, is that the wars begun ten years ago have been tremendously painful for millions of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, and the United States, and economically costly as well.  Each additional month and year of war will add to that toll.  To date, however, there has been no comprehensive accounting of the costs of the United States’ wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. The goal of the Costs of War project has been to outline a broad understanding of the domestic and international costs and consequences of those wars. The Eisenhower Research Project based at Brown University assembled a team that includes economists, anthropologists, political scientists, legal experts, and a physician to do this analysis.

    Here are a few of their findings:

    Indirect deaths from the wars, including those related to malnutrition, damaged health infrastructure, and environmental degradation, may far outnumber deaths from combat. While these deaths are difficult to count due to factors such as lack of comparable baseline mortality figures, a 2008 survey by The Geneva Declaration Secretariat estimates that assuming a ratio of four indirect deaths to one direct death in contemporary conflicts would not be unreasonable.

    Millions of people have been displaced indefinitely and are living in grossly inadequate conditions.  The current number of war refugees and displaced persons -- 7,800,000 -- is equivalent to all of the people of Connecticut and Kentucky fleeing their homes.

    The wars have been accompanied by erosions in civil liberties at home and human rights violations abroad.

    The human and economic costs of these wars will continue for decades, some costs not peaking until mid-century. Many of the wars’ costs are invisible to Americans, buried in a variety of budgets, and so have not been counted or assessed.  For example, while most people think the Pentagon war appropriations are equivalent to the wars’ budgetary costs, the true numbers are twice that, and the full economic cost of the wars much larger yet. Conservatively estimated, the war bills already paid and obligated to be paid are $3.2 trillion in constant dollars. A more reasonable estimate puts the number at nearly $4 trillion.

    As with former US wars, the costs of paying for veterans’ care into the future will be a sizable portion of the full costs of the war.

    The ripple effects on the U.S. economy have also been significant, including job loss and interest rate increases, and those effects have been underappreciated.

    While it was promised that the US invasions would bring democracy to both countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, both continue to rank low in global rankings of political freedom, with warlords continuing to hold power in Afghanistan with US support, and Iraqi communities more segregated today than before by gender and ethnicity as a result of the war.

    Serious and compelling alternatives to war were scarcely considered in the aftermath of 9/11 or in the discussion about war against Iraq.  Some of those alternatives are still available to the U.S.

    The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress. - Bacevich

    by geomoo on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 08:57:27 AM PST

    •  Excellent comment and stats, geomoo (8+ / 0-)

      That's why I h/t you.

      Thank you. The refugee problem is serious and the casualties are underreported. there were a number of different estimates, but this provides some good info.

      Probably my favorite documentary on this which really brought it home, was called heavy metal Baghdad about a bunch of Iraqis in a metal band who were kids just like I was, but they couldn't go outside and their parents made them leave the country for their safety. It was really disturbing and eye opening.

      Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin - I Illustrate #OWS protest T-shirts you can buy at priceman political prints

      by priceman on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 09:26:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  are there any studies about the carbon footprint (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      priceman, ocular sinister, geomoo

      of our wars, all together, or individually ? I wonder how much of the resources we fight for are used in it's acquisition.

      At any rate ,I think it's safe to guess it greatly exacerbates global warming's  threat to everyone on the planet.

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 12:16:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Great point and one of my pet issues - environment (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias, geomoo

        nt

        "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies." - Moshe Dayan (on my tea bag). I'm not your enemy, but you may still talk to me. everyone shold know ALEC

        by ocular sinister on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 12:29:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That last link is to a GREAT website, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ocular sinister, aliasalias, priceman

        that I discovered while preparing the comment.  It is a terrific source of data tallying the many costs of these illegal, unnecessary military actions.  I'm just looking through it now.  Here is the website page on the environmental costs.  To your specific question, this gives a hint.  The specific answer is something in the area of "Ginormous"

        Even setting aside the accelerated operational tempo of wartime, the Department of Defense has been the country’s single largest consumer of fuel, using about 4.6 billion gallons of fuel each year.[1] Military vehicles consume petroleum-based fuels at an extremely high rate: an M-1 Abrams tank can get just over a half mile on a gallon of fuel per mile or use about 300 gallons during eight hours of operation.[2]  Bradley Fighting Vehicles consume about 1 gallon per mile driven.

        War accelerates fuel use.  By one estimate, the U.S. military used 1.2 million barrels of oil in Iraq in just one month of 2008.[3]  This high rate of fuel use over non-wartime conditions has to do in part with the fact that fuel must be delivered to vehicles in the field by other vehicles, using fuel.  One military estimate in 2003 was that two-thirds of the Army’s fuel consumption occured in vehicles that were delivering fuel to the battlefield.[4]  The military vehicles used in both Iraq and Afghanistan produced many hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and sulfur dioxide in addition to CO2. In addition, the allied bombing campaign of a variety of toxics-releasing sites such as ammunition depots, and the intentional setting of oil fires by Saddam Hussein during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 led to air, soil, and water pollution.[5]

        I assume that footnote would lead you to a more detailed analysis.

        The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress. - Bacevich

        by geomoo on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 01:29:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks priceman - great commentary / rant (7+ / 0-)

    and with facts even!

    There's yet another facet to this new military policy: the increasing use of drones and robotic equipment to replace people in high risk activities. Recently, for the first time a helicopter drone delivered supplies to troops in Afghanistan, and the Army is starting to use a Lockheed made robotic supply jeep.

    Sounds great, and seems even beneficent: safely send supplies to the troops, and give a boost to the defense contractors - Yay!

    However, what all this does in the long run, along with the privatization of our military, is make war less costly in terms of troops lives (albeit more costly in taxpayer expense). That in turn makes it easier for politicians to justify engaging in war.

    Oh, and guess where all this military tech is headed next? How about right here at home?

    •  oops: right here at home... (7+ / 0-)

      linky didn't stick:

      More Predator drones fly U.S.-Mexico border

      — In the dead of night, from a trailer humming with surveillance monitors, a pilot for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency was remotely flying a Predator drone more than 1,000 miles away.

      From an altitude of 15,000 feet, over the desert ranchlands of Arizona, the drone’s all-seeing eyeball swiveled and powerful night-vision infrared cameras zeroed in on a pickup truck rattling along a washboard road.

      “Hey, where’s that guy going?” the mission controller asked the drone’s camera operator, who toggled his joystick, glued to the monitors like a teenager with a Christmas morning Xbox.

      This is the semi-covert cutting edge of homeland security, where federal law enforcement authorities are rapidly expanding a military-style unmanned aerial reconnaissance operation along the U.S.-Mexico border — a region that privacy watchdogs say includes a lot of American back yards.

      •  and just like helicopters are used by the police (0+ / 0-)

        in cities Drones will undoubtedly be in service soon, too soon, and that is just one step away from arming them to be able to kill from the air legally.
        After all maybe the Pres. has deemed someone a terrorist, or someone that gave aid to a terrorist organization, and that's all that is needed to order that death. The media will applaud.
        The reasons are secret tho', they can't be reviewed,...State Secrets ya' know.

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 12:25:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks, quill! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostinamerica

      Absolutely right and then we will be told we can't have SS and medicare because of the deficits caused by the massive waste of taxpayer money for the new privatized MIC.

      Oh yeah, I imagine I will hear about a drone strike on a US protester before I die.

      Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin - I Illustrate #OWS protest T-shirts you can buy at priceman political prints

      by priceman on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:28:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Of course that brings to mind democratic SOS (8+ / 0-)

    Madeleine Albright's famous quote on 60 minutes about the half million Iraqi children that died during the western sanctions on Iraq in the 90's - "we think it was worth it".
    Simply psychopathic.
    The Iraq debacle is not over any way you slice it and those that think so are only fooling themselves.  
    And now Iraq is in serious condition and will probably break down requiring further intervention, not to mention what happens with neighbor Iran.
    Both parties are absolutely complicit in the entire thing including the battlefield earth global war on terror.   If we don't stop these bastards, they're going to blow the entire world up.  
    Very good post.

  •  I'll like to remind the diarist (8+ / 0-)

    Obama never said it was worth it. He has not said that in any of his speeches or even acknowledged it. He honored the soldiers he fought but he has never said it was worth it.

    Also, I'd like to remind the diarist Obama was the first one to say this was a dumb war back in 2003. Don't try to tell me he did that just to sound populist or something. He was a lowly state senator back then for christ's sake. He never campaigned on ending the war in Afghanistan and did say he wanted to refocus there.

    •  Do you really think (6+ / 0-)

      that he would allow his Sec. of Defense to make such a strong statement without running it by him first?  That is the kind of statement that will be quoted and remembered for ages.

      •  That's not true (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gary Norton, Deep Texan, missLotus

        he doesn't police everything that he says. Remember Panetta was the one who was saying that he did not agree with the defense cuts and they should find a way out of it. Meanwhile, Obama said they are not going to get out of the automatic defense cuts. Also, Obama has never justified the war or said it was worth fighting.

        •  The buck stops with the President. He is no more (5+ / 0-)

          worthy of the "all the credit and none of the blame" game that the republicans play.  Since he has as of yet, to speak out against the statement made by his hand picked SoD, the logical assumption is that he supports the statement.

          Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day. Harry Truman

          by temptxan on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:05:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What I'm saying is though (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Deep Texan

            they have totally different rhetoric. In Obama's closing speeches on the Iraq war, his was totally different than Panetta's and he has NEVER said it was worth fighting. He didn't say it was a dumb war but his choice of words is totally different than Panetta.

            •  But he has not walked back Panetta's words, and (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              priceman, joanneleon, JesseCW

              thus one can concluded he agrees.

              Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day. Harry Truman

              by temptxan on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 11:59:17 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's not true (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Adam AZ, Belidonk, missLotus

                Just because he's in the administration their sentiments about the war have to be the same. Colin Powell was in the Bush administration and acknowledges the Iraq War was a mistake. Does Bush share the same sentiment? Remember the EPA standards that Obama reneged on a while back and people went crazy? Lisa Jackson got pissed and said they were essential, Obama delayed them anyway. Are the on the same page? No. Are the in the same administration? Yes.

                •  Bush fired Powell. That's what Presidents do (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  priceman

                  when cabinet members profoundly disagree with them in public.

                  She's the sort of person who would not only happily stay in Omelas, but would ask "Couldn't life be more wonderful if we threw a few more kids in there?"

                  by JesseCW on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 06:38:23 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  And, BTW - you just made temptexans point. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  priceman
                  Remember the EPA standards that Obama reneged on a while back and people went crazy? Lisa Jackson got pissed and said they were essential, Obama delayed them anyway.

                  Right. He publicly disagreed.

                  That's the other thing that Presidents due when their Cabinet puts out messages they don't agree with.

                  Notice how he's not doing that RE" Panetta's glorification of the pointless slaughter of Iraqi children?

                  She's the sort of person who would not only happily stay in Omelas, but would ask "Couldn't life be more wonderful if we threw a few more kids in there?"

                  by JesseCW on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 06:41:48 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Once in the senate he voted to fund the war (8+ / 0-)

      year after year, and supported the Patriot Act, the nebulous War on Terror, and as President, expanded the war in Afganistan, not to mention the drone wars that are ongoing in several countries.

      And Panetta's remarks represent the administration, and reflect Obama's choices as President.

      Obama has always been a man of two faces, one he presents as a campaigner, one he presents as an elected official.

      •  He did not get to senate (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        citizenx, jj32, Deep Texan, missLotus

        until 3 years later. So you saying he was just campaigning 3 years in advance? Give me a fucking break. You honestly sound ridiculous. Like I said, he never campaigned against Afghanistan and he did say he wanted to focus on there.

        Panetta's remarks are his remarks alone. Just like Obama's remarks about it being a dumb are his alone.

        Finally, if you knew he did all those things while in the Senate, why did you vote for him? (assuming you did vote for him)

        •  Just saying that he governs differently (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lostinamerica, PhilJD, aliasalias, JesseCW

          than reflected in his words when he isn't governing. And no, that's not ridiculous, it's a fact.

          And yes, I did my homework and checked his abysmal record while in the senate, and thus I did, in fact, know this about him when he was campaigning for President, but he was the nominee and I hoped that I was wrong; I hoped that his rhetoric reflected his ideology more than his actions, which I admit was wishful thinking on my part.

          I canvassed for him, sent him money, all based on the hope he would prove his own record to be an inaccurate indicator of his real stances.

          But never mind Panetta's words, lets just focus on Obama's votes, actions, and record, which tells the entire story.

          Rendition, anyone?

        •  Okay, look at this: (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          priceman, aliasalias, allenjo

          Obama own words and actions:

          "When I was asked, 'Would I have voted for the $87 billion,' I said 'no,' " Obama said in a speech before a Democratic community group in suburban Chicago in November 2003. "I said 'no' unequivocally because, at a certain point, we have to say no to George Bush. If we keep on getting steamrolled, we're not going to stand a chance."

          Yet Obama has voted for all of the president's war funding requests since coming to the Senate, and is poised to vote in favor of the latest request when it comes to the Senate floor this spring. Liberal groups have demanded that lawmakers cut off funds for the war as a way to force its end, but Obama has joined most Democrats in the House and Senate in saying he would not take such a move.

        •  You haven't adressed the point of the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          priceman

          comment you clicked "reply" on.

          He voted to continue the war in Iraq every time he was asked to do so.

          That's not opposition.  That's what his real position was when the chips were down.

          What he said or didn't say is pretty irrelevant when we can look at what he did.

          She's the sort of person who would not only happily stay in Omelas, but would ask "Couldn't life be more wonderful if we threw a few more kids in there?"

          by JesseCW on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 06:44:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Who didnt vote to fund the war? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan

        Feingold, I believe, voted for all or most of the war funding bills. Is he going under the netroots bus as well? I'm betting Sanders voted for at least one too.

        He also pledged to expand the Afghan war during the campaign.

        •  It's about defunding the war (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZhenRen, JesseCW

          not about who ever voted for a funding bill. Feingold tried to defund the war and introduced a bill in for just that but that effort but was rebuked by most Democrats.

          For fake antiwar candidates, it's very telling when one votes to fund the war over and over again.

          Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin - I Illustrate #OWS protest T-shirts you can buy at priceman political prints

          by priceman on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:22:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Hey, many of our elected officials are corrupted (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lostinamerica, priceman, PhilJD, JesseCW

          by Wall Street and the Industrial Military Complex. Its a tragic state of affairs that so many keep perpetuating these ill-wrought acts.

          Who said it was just Obama? But as President, he wields much more power.

          Clinton wasn't much better when he was in office.

          Stop making this personal about Obama, as if he is the only one in office who is deserving of criticism.

          •  In other words (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            priceman, aliasalias, JesseCW

            I'm critical of far more than just Obama, although he ranks high on my list of officials deserving of criticism.

            Washington belt-way think is pernicious and infectious, and few escape the disease.

            But Fiengold's and Sander's records regarding the war are better, overall, than Obama's, by far.

            •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

              but you can't absolve those two of blame if they have both voted to fund the war.

              •  Lots a blame to go around (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                priceman

                But are all senators and representatives equivalent in terms of guilt? Not by a long shot. Obama has taken these actions far beyond what can be justified, to the point that many supporters are horrified. In action after action, he betrays the platform he ran on.

                He wields far more power as President, and is expected to lead, not just go along with the same old corrupt ways of Washington.

                Should I vote for him because, after all, "everybody does it"? That's one hell of a campaign slogan.

                He's done some things that lead many civil rights experts to rethink giving him another vote. He isn't the run-of-the-mill milk-toast, everyday do-nothing official. He has a responsibility to lead us out of the abyss, and he's heading so often in the wrong direction.

        •  Rep. Barbara Lee didn't vote to fund (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          priceman, JesseCW

          The voice of sanity in congress.

          Rhetoric has to be matched with actions. "Only actions don't lie."

          by allenjo on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 01:48:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I would like to remind you about the executive... (0+ / 0-)

      branch. You should study how that branch works and the power structure.

      And Obama so would have voted for AUMF it's not even funny. he had no real Senate opponent. Jack Ryan and Alan Keynes? he was risking so much! that fable was why he was able to beat Hillary.

      Oh how fast that antiwar speech dissapeared.

      Hilarious.

      Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin - I Illustrate #OWS protest T-shirts you can buy at priceman political prints

      by priceman on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:18:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can't say (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam AZ

        what he would or would not have done. Also, I know how the executive branch works but like I said somewhere, they are going to disagree with each other. Just like how Panetta said he is against the sequestration defense cuts and Obama said there is no way to get out of them.

  •  ''Its almost (6+ / 0-)

    as if we are living under the McCain presidency''

    Really?

    Did you hear the quotes from McCain this week on the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq?

    He said it was a huge mistake,and that we should continue to have troops in Iraq as he suggested,for 100 years.

    That is the same as the President making sure that the troops are now out?

    I do not agree.
    McCain= permanant US troops deployment in Iraq
    Obama= all US troops out by 12/31/11...

    not the same.

    •  Obama did try to keep troops there but was (9+ / 0-)

      rebuffed.  

    •  How soon we forget (12+ / 0-)

      that this administration jumped through hoops to convince the Iraqi government to renegotiate the SOFA agreement and to leave troops in Iraq after the deadline. The Vice President was sent over there to try to convince them.  The Iraqis would not budge.  They insisted that if our troops stayed they would not have immunity from prosecution.  The US knew they could not live with that agreement.  The Sadr militia threatened to cause chaos all through the country if our troops stayed.  But still, this administration tried everything it could to keep our troops there.

      So where is the difference again?

      •  Oh please, Joan (5+ / 0-)

        I usually respect your comments but this is bs. He did not jump through hoops. They asked to have a small presence but Iraqis did not want it and that's it. They did not try to beg them to stay there. If you did not have firsthand knowledge of what actually went on in the negotiations, don't come out with these ridiculous assertions.

        Also, you know if McCain was president he would've stayed there regardless. Look at how he's going around the country and talking about how leaving Iraq was the worst decision in the world.

        •  Ignoring the The Sadr militia threats (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pot, joanneleon, JesseCW

          and the deaths caused by the said chaos just makes your point callous and obtuse about the size of the troops which sends the wrong imperialist message given everything Iraqis have been through any way you slice it.

          Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin - I Illustrate #OWS protest T-shirts you can buy at priceman political prints

          by priceman on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:25:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I was following that story (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          allenjo, priceman, Annalize5, JesseCW

          for months last summer and early fall.  Were you?

          They did everything they could to avoid complying with the SOFA agreement.

          Someone here is in deep denial.

          Right up to the last minute, less than a month ago, they were trying to keep troops there despite all the dishonest rhetoric about ending the war and withdrawing all the troops.

          Biden plans to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani, along with other political leaders, during his two-day visit. The vice president also plans to give remarks at a joint event commemorating American and Iraqi troops.

          Biden is hoping to negotiate with Iraqi officials over a continued American presence in the country after the 14,000 remaining troops are withdrawn at the end of the year.
          http://thehill.com/...

          There are hundreds of stories about the immunity negotiations and attempts to keep thousands of troops in Iraq, other end of the world stories about how we can't leave, etc.  It went on for months.

    •  McCain and Panetta was the comparison (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pot, allenjo, Agathena

      And Obama is responsible for what he said which was almost like McCain. Almost.

      Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin - I Illustrate #OWS protest T-shirts you can buy at priceman political prints

      by priceman on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:23:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellet Diary, priceman (10+ / 0-)

    Perhaps when we return most of the 100+ acres that the largest US embassy in the world stands on, real peace might return to Iraq.

    Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.~~~ Susan Sontag

    by frandor55 on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 09:34:02 AM PST

  •  Either way, the Iraq war as constituted in 2011 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    priceman, PhilJD, aliasalias, allenjo

    is a small part of the entire global military apparatus the U.S. has covered the earth with.  The situation in Iraq has evolved which it should have after over 8 years.  But we're still in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, still have special forces in over 100 countries, still have over 1000 military bases, still have a defense, intelligence and national security budget that tops $1 trillion per year, still are threatening to attack Iraq's neighbor Iran, and the MIC is more powerful and widespread than ever.  Why would someone even want to celebrate what is supposedly happening now in Iraq when considering the entire landscape that has evolved over the last 11 years, and with constant rumblings about attacking Iran and threats to Russia and China?  Makes no sense.

    •  So the troops are out of Iraq (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BigAlinWashSt, priceman
      But we're still in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, still have special forces in over 100 countries, still have over 1000 military bases, still have a defense, intelligence and national security budget that tops $1 trillion per year, still are threatening to attack Iraq's neighbor Iran, and the MIC is more powerful and widespread than ever.  

      Why would someone even want to celebrate what is supposedly happening now in Iraq when considering the entire landscape that has evolved over the last 11 years, and with constant rumblings about attacking Iran and threats to Russia and China?  Makes no sense.

      Does the USA make the world a better place, safer? I think not.

      It seems we excel at making and selling war machinery, and making sure that the world is unsafe enough, that there is a ready market for war profiteering corporations.

      And that is the bottom line of our Military Industrial Complex.

      Rhetoric has to be matched with actions. "Only actions don't lie."

      by allenjo on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 01:40:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So true. Instability also lessens the ability of (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        allenjo, priceman, Agathena

        other nations to challenge the superpower.  It's really laughable the idea that we're trying to spread democracy when in reality it's far different.
        And still, so many people accept the company line.  

        •  There are those here that are convinced that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          priceman, Agathena

          if Obama does it - it must be right.

          Or they are less upset when Democrats do what we become so angered about Republicans doing.

          As a country, how does it help us to be the global police force, with bases, ships, soliders around the world?

          Perhaps if we were a wealthy country who did not have to borrow money to pay our bills, we could indulge the world, carrying on and paying for military and giving out protection, so other countries did not have to pay for their own.

          Do I wake up and say Thank God, the USA is the global military power? How does that make my own life better?

          How does it make congress's? As long as the military consumes our funds, they are able to take their jaunts worldwide in the military's luxury jets, with their own private doctor aboard, and their boxes of booze, on the taxpayer dime. To award contracts that war profiteering corporations are able to parcel out state by state to get their votes, the lobbyists sucking up to congress, the swinging door with the military and war contractors, etc. etc.

          We will have a day of reckoning, and unfortunately perhaps not in my lifetime, as I am an early baby boomer.

          It is not sustainable, and as our country implodes, more and more people are going to become enraged, and will make their voices heard unless congress changes this war at any cost mentality - and come to terms, that there just isn't enough money to keep a thousand bases open, to continue to pay billions upon billions out to war contractors, and still have any quality of life here in the USA - for the growing poor, for the shrinking middle class.

          IT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE!

          Rhetoric has to be matched with actions. "Only actions don't lie."

          by allenjo on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 02:12:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I noticed... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    priceman, BigAlinWashSt, Agathena

    how not a single comment from the peanut gallery even touched the fact that SOFA was signed in 2008 and that Obama wanted the troops in there longer. They cannot touch those facts with a 10 foot pole.

    "Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave." -- Chris Hedges

    by pot on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 10:42:43 AM PST

    •  We have touched that (0+ / 0-)

      I have mentioned that plenty. My response is....are the troops still there now?

      •  No you haven't (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Agathena, JesseCW

        and they'r next door in Kuwait and nothing Obama did is responsible for this drawdown because he wanted troops in there longer despite the Sadr militia's threats.

        I was deeply dissapointed in all the obtuse comments in this diary.

        Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin - I Illustrate #OWS protest T-shirts you can buy at priceman political prints

        by priceman on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 11:05:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes I have (0+ / 0-)

          Well I haven't mentioned it plenty but I did mention it once in one of my comments. That's complete bs. If the U.S. really wanted to stay, they could find a way to stay. Someone mentioned it earlier, because of these new attacks, they may send troops back or something.

          I'm sorry you're disappointed. Okay here. Obama is the worst person in the world! He's a neocon! I am never going to vote for the guy again! Happy?

          •  Iraq didn't want the troops to stay (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            priceman, JesseCW

            even "if the US really wanted to stay."  Did you read the diary? The troops were kicked out.

            ❧To thine ownself be true

            by Agathena on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 09:14:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  "They"? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            priceman

            This is supposed to be a democracy.  We're supposed to be a "we".

            If we send troops back in, we're going to ignite a massive resistance.  Most of the militias have held their fire for the last three years because we essentially surrendered and agreed to get the hell out (on a time table) if they would stop shooting at us long enough to allow us to safely withdraw.

            We've now left.  The hudna is over.  If we re-invade, all hell will be unleashed against us.

            She's the sort of person who would not only happily stay in Omelas, but would ask "Couldn't life be more wonderful if we threw a few more kids in there?"

            by JesseCW on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 06:49:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Many facts haven't been touched, pot (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pot, Agathena

      In turn elementary school F grade references to WWII were offered at the altar instead and failed.

      But I got some of them to admit they agree with George W. Bush. That was surprising.

      Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin - I Illustrate #OWS protest T-shirts you can buy at priceman political prints

      by priceman on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 11:04:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  you're right (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    priceman, aliasalias, allenjo, Agathena, BradyB

    it's not over.  And as far as Panetta asinine assertion that we have established a stable gov't, which therefore made the invasion "worth it"? 60 people were just killed by co-ordinated bomb attacks injuring an additional 140.  Awesome stability, dumbass.

  •  Hehehehe.... privatizing war (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    priceman

    •  Great movie. Love the Cusacks. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Claudius Bombarnac

      Thanks, Claudius Bombarnac.

      Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin - I Illustrate #OWS protest T-shirts you can buy at priceman political prints

      by priceman on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 11:20:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Grosse Point Blanke is a "what if" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        priceman

        follow up to Say Anything.  (What if Lloyd had gone into the Army instead of going to England with Dianne?)

        War, Inc.  is another "What if" - What if he hadn't gone home for his 20 year reunion?

        It's unrelated to the topic at hand, but I just have to bring it up 'cause I'm kinda odd.

        She's the sort of person who would not only happily stay in Omelas, but would ask "Couldn't life be more wonderful if we threw a few more kids in there?"

        by JesseCW on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 06:52:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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