Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

The real opposition to the U.S. empire is not at the ballot box but on the ground out in places occupied by imperial troops. And, in regard to Iraq, Mr. Obama has very recently clarified that he's on the empire team, while the Iraqis are now loudly and very clearly facing off against him and imperialism (emphasis added throughout):

Under Iraq Troop Pact, US Can't Leave Any Forces Behind
by Leila Fadel

BAGHDAD - The status of forces of agreement between the United States and Iraq is now called the withdrawal agreement, and that's exactly what it is: an ultimate end to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.

If Iraq's parliament endorses the agreement, in six weeks American forces would have to change the way they operate in Iraq, and all U.S. combat troops, police trainers and military advisers would have to leave the country by Dec. 31, 2011. President-elect Barack Obama's campaign plan to leave a residual force of some 30,000 American troops in Iraq ((DisinfoHUH?!? A key Obama advisor says 60-80,000 troopsand Obama himself says our 140,000 or so mercenariesare not being considered for withdrawal)) would be impossible under the pact. . . .

The agreement forbids attacks on other countries from inside Iraq, and if it were approved, beginning Jan. 1 all U.S. operations would have to be conducted in cooperation with the Iraqi government.

"It is not permitted to use Iraqi land, water and airspace as a route or launching pad for attacks against other countries," the pact says, according to an Arabic copy that McClatchy obtained.

The military also would have to get arrest warrants from the Iraqi government, judicial orders for raids on homes and to consult in advance on every operation, including the attacks on high-value targets that American forces now routinely conduct on their own. . . .

In provinces that have been turned over to Iraqi control, U.S. troops couldn't remain in cities, villages or towns after the agreement took effect, and as of June 30, all American combat troops would have to be in agreed-on locations outside populated areas. They'd have no right, beginning next year, to venture off their bases and outposts without Iraqi authorities' approval and cooperation.

Yes, the wait till the end of 2011 is too long, but that's an impressive and very real and very immediate set of restrictions on U.S. occupying troops! Good on yah, Iraq!

Anyway, here's what key Obama advisors think of the uppity Iraqi government (imagine them asserting a right not to have 200,000 foreign military and mercenaries in their country!):

When a group of advisers to the Obama campaign visited Iraq last month before the election, they gave a stern warning to local politicians regarding a long-term legal framework for the presence of U.S. troops.

Talks have been deadlocked for months as the Iraqis seek a firm date for U.S. troop withdrawal and the right to prosecute U.S. troops in some instances, raising the prospect that negotiations might not be concluded before Bush leaves office.

Obama's advisers "told us that if we didn't take what the Bush administration was offering on the security deal, then we would likely find ourselves getting much less under the Democratic administration," says Haydar al-Abadi, a Shiite lawmaker who was at the meeting.

Looks like we've got a real pro wrestling match in store: 'Obama & The Permanent Occupiers' vs. "Get the Hell Out of Our Country'

Whose side are you on? How ya gonna express that?

Tags: Barack Obama, Iraq (all tags)

Comments

51 Comments

Well, let's see, the 'anti-war' movement being

largely a figment of my imagination, instead actually being a subordinate part of the quadrennial 'elect a Dem' effort, it might be hard to express my/our opposition to U.S. occupation and support for the Iraqis' righteous efforts to kick all U.S. troops out.

by fairleft 2008-11-20 08:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Well, let's see, the 'anti-war'

we haven't had much of a movement, for sure. but the candidates did co-opt it by being for ending the war.  Hillary said we were getting all the way out, ending Bush's contracts and opening them to the international community, and outlawing private militias. She said no permanent bases.

I expect Barack to do exactly the same, but I don't expect him to say so while Bush is still president.  

by anna shane 2008-11-20 10:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Well, let's see, the 'anti-war'

Right.

I'm reminded of Nixon, who did the opposite in 1968: he told President Thieu to hold off on negotiating with the North, because he'd be a better partner to South Vietnam than Johnson would be.

The human cost was, of course enormous.

I'm impressed with Obama's people: it's remarkably principled for them to do that even though the incoming president is going to be much friendlier to Iraq.

by Jess81 2008-11-20 10:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Well, let's see, the 'anti-war'

but the diary is still fair, it's something we need to keep saying we care about.  

by anna shane 2008-11-20 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Well, let's see, the 'anti-war'

Agreed, although I don't think "Obama has now firmly placed his camp on the side of the imperialists" is particularly helpful, persuasive, or accurate.

Oh, and arms for hostages.  That's another example of an incoming administration having a foreign policy separate from the outgoing one.

by Jess81 2008-11-20 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Well, let's see, the 'anti-war'

yes, and even though it's Reagan, it's not a model to follow and it's surely not Barack-like.  

by anna shane 2008-11-20 11:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Well, let's see, the 'anti-war'

LMAO

Obama is going to f_ck you guys.

Hilarious.

by ellington 2008-11-20 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, let's see, the 'anti-war'

if so it won't be funny.  

by anna shane 2008-11-20 01:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, let's see, the 'anti-war'

That guy's a freeper.  Same person as lemon716 - he's been here under different names since about May.

by Jess81 2008-11-20 05:27PM | 0 recs
Whatever

When al-Maliki'government is firing corruption watchdogs as we speak, I'm not sure they should be trusted.

I'm all for getting the hell out of Iraq, but Obama was right in that we have to be as careful leaving as we were reckless getting in. If Iraq becomes the most corrupt regime in the Middle East and becomes an uncontested al-Qaida haven for real, then this entire cursed exercise will have been for naught.

Let's face it: the Iraqi government is a Bush baby, and it inherited the sins of the father.  To just ignore the entire situation is extreme foolishness.

by Dracomicron 2008-11-20 08:33AM | 0 recs
Prez Bush's justification for going in and staying

forever well stated. I'd prefer Iraq have sovereignty.

And who is the U.S. to lecture and watchdog other countries about corruption? Didn't we just foist $700 billion no strings attached to leading presidential campaign donors on Wall Street?

by fairleft 2008-11-20 09:20AM | 0 recs
dtaylor3, any justification

for labeling me with a 1?

by fairleft 2008-11-20 09:43AM | 0 recs
Re: dtaylor3, any justification

Because this is an inherently dishonest diary and you are probably an inherently dishonest person, as pointed out by others (and ignored by you) in this thread. You can keep your "empire" and "imperial" rhetoric to yourself and instead, work on your reading comprehension so that your diary actually represents your extremist claims. Your points aren't worth the time that it would take to rebuke. Thanks.

by dtaylor3 2008-11-20 09:53AM | 0 recs
dtaylor3, jr league troll creator

Special self-assignment, slay progressive diarists. Read your comment history and know where you're coming from.

I assume you won't want to substantiate 'inherently dishonest'.

by fairleft 2008-11-20 09:55AM | 0 recs
Re: dtaylor3, jr league troll creator

as long as we try to occupy Iraq there will be bloodshed.  That means taking out bases out and and our private armies protecting American business interests.  Our troops have done a great job and they'd continue on, they're amazing (how come we can have combat ready troops in 16 weeks and we can't get combat ready troops of locals) but this is an occupation and ask the Israelis, occupation doesn't work and the occupier get increasingly harsher the more the occupied refuses to roll over and want nothing.  

by anna shane 2008-11-20 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

First off I think this depends on more how you read it. Obama said yet again during his 60 Minutes interview he is committed to his timetable for withdrawal. He always said there probably would be some residual force left in for training. The Iraq's don't want that fine then everybody can leave.

In my reading of the USA Today article I read two conflicting views from supposed advisors on withdrawal one says stick to it, one says be careful. My understanding this is the type advice Obama likes to hear. The argument from both sides then he makes up is own mind.

And I am not sure what conclusion you can draw from this quote:

Obama's advisers "told us that if we didn't take what the Bush administration was offering on the security deal, then we would likely find ourselves getting much less under the Democratic administration,"

It could mean quite the opposite of what you are reading into it.
Take the Bush deal because Obama is going to force you into coming to better internal terms , oil revenue sharing being one. The above comment to me says nothing about withdrawal.

Now I am hearing that some anti-war activists are grumbling that Obama is not anti-war candidate they thought he was. Well fucking duh! He never said he was anti-war, just anti-Iraq war.

by jsfox 2008-11-20 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

This, "The Iraq's don't want that fine then everybody can leave," is denial of reality, directly contradicting what Obama's advisors have told the Iraqis. Read the bottom quote again. Obama is committed to keeping a 'residual force' in Iraq for much longer than the end of 2011, and is coercing Iraq to accept Prez Bush's long-term occupation deal with its very limited Iraqi sovereignty.

by fairleft 2008-11-20 09:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

Again we read differently

by jsfox 2008-11-20 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

but this must be discussed openly, if Barack isn't be clear we need to ask him to be clear.  

by anna shane 2008-11-20 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

I am not sure how he could be clearer, given that he just repeated the promise on 60 Minutes.

by jsfox 2008-11-20 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

well, he wasn't in the election cycle.  I just assume he agrees with Hillary, that we can't keep any residual forces there to fight in their civil disagreement, to protect their leaders or even the people.  We've discovered that our troops perform great under impossible conditions, heat, fear, exhaustion, et al, and that the Iraqi's don't have a nation but warring or arguing factions.  That means they need to work that one out for themselves, at whatever the cost to them. It's sad, we opened a hornet's nest but it's nor out nest.

Still, I imagine that Barack is simply refusing to undercut Bush, probably not wanting to set that precedent.  If the deal they want is us out with our contractors and our troops and with everything connected to us, they'll get that with Barack.    

by anna shane 2008-11-20 10:37AM | 0 recs
Not undercutting Bush

That's a possibility, and I hope that's so. We'll see.

by fairleft 2008-11-20 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

They both gave identical answers to ending the war.  I'm not sure what you're unclear on.

by Jess81 2008-11-20 10:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

well, he wasn't in the election cycle.

Huh? Were you not paying attention? It was brought up at the foreign policy debate. And was asked and answered numerous times during the election cycle.  NOw it died down quite a bit after the crash just because something bigger to most Americans entered the room.

by jsfox 2008-11-20 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

actually she was much more specific, he was more general, we'll get out as carefully as we went in carelessly. she came out for outlawing private armies, and he took a more cautious stance. he didn't ever say he's end Bush's no bid contracts and open them to the international community so other's would have a financial stake in iraq's success. He didn't say we'd take out all the Iraqis who've helped us and in doing so put their own lives in danger after we withdraw.  I was blogging for him to be more specific, but I also assume he'll do the same, because he never disagreed with her on any of the withdrawal questions.  He also saying things more equivocally, even in the interview that's reported her, there's often more than one way to 'take' what he says. And he said we all have to expect to have some disappointments, which may mean both sides, the group that wants us to stay until we 'win,' and the group that wants us all the way out.

it's not a criticism of Barack, he has a different style than Hillary, but he also said they agree on 99 percent of everything, and they have the same foreign policy objectives.  

so, I say, let's wait until he's president and let him know what we think (he wants to know).

Truth is, and Hillary spoke it, we won't know what will happen there when we leave, there could very well be an increase in violence, but we know if we stay the violence won't end. Iraqis do not wish to be occupied, and while we're there we risk uniting them only while there is a common enemy.  

by anna shane 2008-11-20 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

Nothing you said is true except for the private armies thing, where she took an impossible position.

by Jess81 2008-11-20 05:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

yes it is? Why do you say it's not true?  But the assumption was that he agreed with her specifics because he never said he didn't, and that's even clearer now that she's going to be SOS, he'd never pick an SOS left of him.  

by anna shane 2008-11-21 03:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

"The Iraq's don't want that fine then everybody can leave," is denial of reality, directly contradicting what Obama's advisors have told the Iraqis. Read the bottom quote again."

What exactly do you want them to say?  "Don't bother negotiating with the current President because we're going to overturn everything he does"?  Do you realize how fucked up that is?  You can't have foreign governments treating the political parties as separate entities - no matter how anti-war you are.  That's Kissinger stuff.

Do you want an October Surprise every four years?

by Jess81 2008-11-20 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

They needed to say something?

by fairleft 2008-11-20 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

I don't understand whether that's a question?

by Jess81 2008-11-20 05:23PM | 0 recs
About your 'ambiguous' quote

The immediately preceding paragraph indicates one of the major things the disagreement between the U.S. and the Iraqis is about, a firm date for withdrawal:

Talks have been deadlocked for months as the Iraqis seek a firm date for U.S. troop withdrawal and the right to prosecute U.S. troops in some instances, raising the prospect that negotiations might not be concluded before Bush leaves office.

Obama's advisers "told us that if we didn't take what the Bush administration was offering on the security deal, then we would likely find ourselves getting much less under the Democratic administration," . . .


by fairleft 2008-11-20 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: About your 'ambiguous' quote

This version of the story might give you a better idea of what he's talking about.

"They (Obama's advisers) told us that if we didn't take what the Bush administration was offering on the security deal, then we would likely find ourselves getting much less under the Democratic administration," says Haydar al-Abadi, a Shiite lawmaker who was at the meeting.

Al-Abadi said the meeting confirmed a widespread belief in Iraq that Obama "is not going to be as sympathetic" as Bush toward Iraqi politicians.

"Iraq is Bush's project," al-Abadi said. "It's not Obama's."

Making matters more difficult: Iraqi politicians must walk a fine line while catering to their own audience of voters at home. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has pressed for a firm deadline to get all U.S. troops out of Iraq by 2011. But he also has spoken of the need for the United States to continue training Iraqi soldiers and providing much-needed economic and diplomatic backing.

The Iraqi people seek a firm date for U.S. troop withdrawal and the right to prosecute U.S. troops in some instances.  The Iraqi government wants a free army and a couple shipping containers full of hundred dollar bills.  Get it?

by HEAP 2008-11-20 03:32PM | 0 recs
Wow....

This is an interesting twist, or selective interpretation of facts.

by IowaMike 2008-11-20 09:24AM | 0 recs
You really are looking for facts that aren't there

140,000 contractors, that's people building stuff. There are mercenaries they hired to protect themselves, and until they are done working they will need protection. But its not 140,000 mercenaries.

And he wants a strike force in the region, not in Iraq.

Make sure you get your facts right before claiming something completely opposite of the truth.

by IowaMike 2008-11-20 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: You really are looking for facts that aren't

Obama appears to disagree with you. He thinks withdrawing contractors would mean a roughly one-to-one replacement by US troops. That's what he told Amy Goodman in the link on contractors.

And anyway, can't the Iraqis be allowed to build stuff?

by fairleft 2008-11-20 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: You really are looking for facts that aren't

one to one replacements of the mercenaries hired to protect them.

The 140,000 contractors aren't the number of mercenaries. You aren't reading it right. You have to replace the the mercenaries, one for one, with troops, that are protecting the 140,000 contractors. Your 140,000 number is not the number of mercenaries.

by IowaMike 2008-11-20 09:52AM | 0 recs
Here's what Obama said to Amy Goodman:

(emphasis added)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Here's the problem: we have 140,000 private contractors right there, so unless we want to replace all of or a big chunk of those with US troops, we can't draw down the contractors faster than we can draw down our troops. So what I want to do is draw--I want them out in the same way that we make sure that we draw out our own combat troops. Alright? I mean, I--

AMY GOODMAN: Not a ban?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Well, I don't want to replace those contractors with more US troops, because we don't have them, alright?

There's not much wiggle room there, he repeated the point twice. Common sense paraphrase is that Obama believes there's a close correspondence between troops and 'contractors', and if you withdraw troops you have to replace (most of) them with contractors, and vice versa.

by fairleft 2008-11-20 10:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what Obama said to Amy Goodman:

You bolded the wrong sentence.

So what I want to do is draw--I want them out in the same way that we make sure that we draw out our own combat troops

He wants to make sure we draw them both out, evenly, so that American lives are preserved. The game plan is still the same: withdrawl.

by X Stryker 2008-11-20 10:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what Obama said to Amy Goodman:

could me contractors last, or contracts parallel or I don't know what it means, actually.  Anyway, we need all the way out.  

by anna shane 2008-11-20 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what Obama said to Amy Goodman:

You bolded the (ultimate wiggle room) 'I want' clause, which is much less important than how he is equating troops with contractors, and saying if we withdraw contractors they'd need to be replaced by troops.

by fairleft 2008-11-20 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what Obama said to Amy Goodman:

It takes a long time to withdraw from a country when you have hundreds of thousands of troops in place.  You can't just say "okay, everybody out" and they all hop on Jet Blue and the Iraqis come in and pick up their garbage.

I mean I assume you know this, yet you're acting like you don't.  Until there's a full withdrawal, we need armed people in there, even if their only mission is to help the other armed men leave.

by Jess81 2008-11-20 10:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what Obama said to Amy Goodman:

What the diary is about is encapsulated in the diary title. What you're talking about is off-topic.

In any case, the Iraqis want to give the U.S. till the end of 2011 to withdraw all troops, and that is one of the things Obama's advisors are telling them is unacceptable, they don't want a firm date for removal of all troops.

by fairleft 2008-11-20 11:18AM | 0 recs
Can I say it for you?

"Obama is a lying scumbag who is about to renege on every promise you fools believed, he's in the pocket of Big Business, he hates freedom and democracy and I Told You So."

Something like that?

I disagree with your basic premise that Obama is planning on Expanding the American Empire.  I further disagree that he is about to renege on his commitment to get us out of Iraq in as responsible a way as possible.  It's not just that I believe him, but any other choice would be political suicide, and he has yet to strike me as the rash an suicidal type.

Thanks for coming out, though.

by chrisblask 2008-11-20 12:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what Obama said to Amy Goodman:

No, that's not what they're saying - they're saying "don't expect us to be more amenable than the current government" which they have to say.  Unless you want foreign governments dealing with political parties separately.

by Jess81 2008-11-20 05:25PM | 0 recs
Here is the important part

So what I want to do is draw--I want them out in the same way that we make sure that we draw out our own combat troops. Alright? I mean, I--

He wants them out.....the same way.......and the strike force he wants in the region, not in Iraq. Your implication, that he wants us to stay there, is totally off base.

by IowaMike 2008-11-20 11:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Here is the important part

Here's how Obama understands the 'contractor problem': he equates them with troops, and says if you withdraw contractors they must be replaced with troops. Whatever he wants, and that is the ultimate wiggle verb, that understanding and that 'must' mean Obama is saying he plans for a large private mercenary/contractor force to stay in Iraq.

by fairleft 2008-11-20 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Here is the important part

he does, in that he wants them out....

you are delusional.....

by IowaMike 2008-11-20 07:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

Wow, that's an awfully novel reading of the article.

by Jess81 2008-11-20 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

We're not out yet? What kind of change is that?

by QTG 2008-11-20 10:46AM | 0 recs
I think you have it backwards

From the article, salient emphasis at the end.


The main decision facing Obama is when, and under what conditions, to withdraw troops.

Even during the campaign, Obama left himself some maneuvering room by saying that, even after U.S. combat troops leave Iraq, he would be open to keeping a sizable -- and undefined -- contingent of forces there to train and help Iraqi security units.

One of Obama's top foreign policy aides, former Navy secretary Richard Danzig, told NPR this summer that up to 55,000 U.S. troops could remain in that advisory capacity in Iraq -- down from 146,000 troops there now.

Gelb notes that late in the campaign Obama seemed to speak of his 16-month timetable less frequently than he did during the Democratic primaries, when his opposition to the war was a key policy difference between him and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"You saw a kind of moderation in his language and tone, which is exactly what he should be doing," Gelb says.

If Obama sticks to his plan for such a timetable, then the question becomes just how rigid it will be. A recent paper by the Center for a New American Security, whose three authors included Colin Kahl, the coordinator of the Obama campaign's day-to-day working group on Iraq, argued that U.S. support "should hinge on continued progress toward political accommodation." That means Obama's administration would continue military and economic aid as long as Iraq's government met targets for passing key measures such as the oil law.

"military aid as long as" implies that our presence is at their request, and in fact we are using our continued presence as a bargaining chip. This meshes cleanly with the line you bolded, that Obama will require MORE to stay than Bush would. The upshot of all this is that Obama wants to leave faster than the Iraquis want him to, the exact opposite of your conclusion.

by Neef 2008-11-20 12:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: 'Get the Hell Out', Obama: 'No!'

Good for him. We shouldn't support this deal.

by JimR 2008-11-20 02:38PM | 0 recs

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