Iraq Withdrawal? Don’t Believe Obama’s Hype

Posted by Jean Desiree -

Tue, Aug 3, 2010

Afghanistan, Iraq

  • Sharebar

If you’re feeling skeptical after hearing President Obama’s latest speech on the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, you’re not alone.

It’s hard to know what to make of a President and an administration that brings over 90,000 troops home while ordering 50,000 soldiers along with 75,000 military contractors to remain.

Over 150,000 personnel are still stationed in Iraq and the US is supposed to be completely out of the country by 2011. That’s next year. Bringing home thousands by the end of this August is a good step, but we really need to step on it. Obama’s speech strikes me as an exercise in Orwellian double-think: the US is simultaneously withdrawing and expanding its military presence in Iraq. So which is it? And, importantly, how does the peace movement communicate with people who think the war is effectively over at the end of August?

Jeremy Scahill has written recently in The Nation that “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is presiding over what is shaping up to be a radical expansion of a private, US-funded paramilitary force that will operate in Iraq for the foreseeable future…”.

Unfortunately, the State Department is dragging its heels as much as the Pentagon and has requested funds from Congress to hire 6,000 – 7,000 more “security contractors” and train them like soldiers. While working under the auspices of the State Department, these new personnel would have the status of “diplomats.” But who ever heard of a diplomat trained like a soldier and armed with a gun?

Obama delivers his speech to the Disabled=

This one step forward, one-hundred steps backward approach to Iraq makes many a head spin, but one thing is clear: That so many troops are coming home so soon after Obama took office a year and a half ago is a victory not of the war, but of the peace movement.

As Obama emphasized in his speech, by the end of August over 90,000 troops will have come home since he took office and hundreds of bases will have been closed or turned over to Iraq.

The work of countless activists and organizers has changed the political landscape and now we’re seeing some results. We’ve marched, protested, signed petitions, and written letters to the editor. Without the peace movement’s dedicated organizing and mobilizing to elect a candidate who would commit to ending this war, we wouldn’t be seeing so many of our soldiers returning “as promised and on schedule” during this “season of homecomings,” as Obama put it. But we still have a long way to go. In his recent speech, Obama didn’t say a thing about military contractors, or those so-called diplomats who are doing the work of soldiers.

And, unfortunately, Obama plans to keep another, more disastrous, promise of his this year — to escalate the war in Afghanistan. Will our troops come home from Iraq only to be redeployed to Afghanistan?

Unlike under Bush, there will be no speak of “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq from the Obama administration. We have helped turn the tide of public opinion against the Iraq War enough that no one is buying it anymore. Partially thanks to WikiLeaks, few will be buying wholesale into the Afghanistan War either. The peace movement can make use of this new information to expose war crimes and bring this injustice to an end.

Before Obama took office, many of us began to feel hopeless about ending the Iraq War. Now we have to realize, with some healthy skepticism, that an end (of sorts) is in sight. What kind of end to the Iraq War do we envision and how are we helping to bring it about? How can we take the lessons learned from our organizing to end the Iraq War to our work to bring an end to the quagmire in Afghanistan?

Your voice is needed. Write a short Letter to the Editor or an online comment about the Iraq debacle.

With the troops coming home from Iraq, we should reflect on the results of this devastating invasion. We need to flood the media with our comments and our recommendations for lessons learned from this unjust war.

Click below to go to our Letter to the Editor page, where you can find newspapers near you to submit your letter to:


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  • Alexandrek

    gosh for fucking sake, Mr Obama time to earn your Nobel Peace prize.

    you took it, now deserved it!

    show us we wrong to doubt, NOW!

  • Jubal


    To all of you libertarian, republican, democratic and progressive idealists…

    You have to realize that even though he is the president and he wants to get us out of Iraq…the previous administration did such a great job in entangling us there that as GW and many of his GOP friends have said…”We will be there for decades to come.” Ask yourself why.

    Its because of the fact that American and British Oil company's holdings are considered National Interests of a top priority and they have more influence on foreign policy decisions that even the president. Those that have gone against their will in the past have met with death and assassination. If you don't believe me then you need to take a hard look at Huey Long, John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy for examples.

    Between the American and British Oil and Banking cartels…an honest president is caught between a rock and a very hard place. He made promises not realizing what really awaited him at the top once he got into the White House.

    Its the big dirty secret that a lot of political scientists know about but are too afraid to confront head on because of the fear of reprisals. Anybody who wants to protect their job and their family is going to tow the line and not rock the boat….too much…or else…they get axed. Obama and his family would be axed if he moves too radically, especially in his first term.

    If he gets the chance at a second term…then you will see a vastly different Obama moving hard to the Progressive side of things…I can assure you. But he still has to tow that fine line between going too far and upsetting the status quo in Washington.

    It would literally take a super billionaire philanthropist with a private army to break the chains that bind the White House and the Foreign Policy Machine.

  • Alexandrek

    gosh you killed my last hope!
    Just spot on how screwed we are!

    scam we can

  • Jubal

    Private military contractors allows the Orwellian double speak to occur. They don't technically have soldiers over there because they have mercenaries. And god knows that those mercenaries will more than likely put an even worse face on America in the eyes of the Iraqis. They already think we have overstayed our welcome and their country is on the verge of an explosion of sectarian violence. Once our people are mostly gone, it will become an even more glaring example of the what the Wild West was.

  • BillCorcoran

    Our military will NEVER be gone. This is what happened in July alone:

  • ScottyT

    Interesting article in yesterday's Guardian…

  • NuclearLullaby

    Obama might just be the most honest person America has EVER had as president!!! The fact that ANYONE in this chat would even say the word impeachment shows how stupid some people are these days!!! Bush wasn't impeached after all he did to destroy the world so way when Obama is not doing ANYTHING even remotely worthy of impeachment would ANYONE bring up that word??? If you really NEED a list of all the things George W Bush did wrong,I'll get you all 9148 pages of that,but if you have even half a brain you SHOULD be able to figure that out on your own,but then you probably back Palin & the Tea Party Movement & only watch Fox & CNN & don't think for yourself!!! GRRR!!!

  • BillCorcoran

    I totally agree with you. Anyone who gets their so-called “news” from Fox News obviously isn't smart enough to realize they are being had.

  • BillCorcoran

    I'm not pleased either with the escalation of the war in Afghanistan. I think Obama has made a terrible mistake on this one. As for Iraq, he is holding to what he said he would do, but I also think this is a mistake. i sure as hell wouldn't want to be one of the GIs left behind if all the combat troops are pulled. I speak from experience because I was a Combat Engineer in the Army and I know we are trained differently than your run-of-the-mill soldier.We were trained to kill people not coddle them.

  • Omnomynous

    When honesty can be determined by facts, and the facts are pointing to multiple inconsistencies between campaign rhetoric and current policy….

    And even if he his the most honest president, that's not saying much.

  • Kaveh_Kompani

    If we dont leave by next year im gonna lose hope on our troops coming back

  • Prospectplace


    Orwellian is right. Now military contractors that don't even pretend to heed the Geneva conventions are called “diplomats.”

    I heard that Blackwater founder Erik Prince was considering moving to the United Arab Emirates to avoid extradition to the U.S. for war crimes. Maybe he'll reconsider after this announcement from Obama.

  • Unimatrix0

    The only hype is this story.

    Obama has been very clear about his policy since before the election, and he has kept his word.

  • PirateSauce


    So how much does the CIA pay?
    Good benefits?

  • White Girl

    i hope they dont go to afghanistan because my freind is in irqa and im happy hes coming home :P

  • white girl

    me 2

  • http://www.jfkquotes.info Corinna Colao

    Engrossing piece. I know I’m a little late in posting my comment but the article was to the point and just the information I was looking for. I can’t say that I agree with all the points you made but it was emphatically enlightening! BTW…I found your site through a AOL search. I hope you’ll allow me to post a link to a site germane to the quote by John Kennedy discussed in your piece. I’m a returning visitor to your blog and will return again soon.

  • http://www.hkridklflsdfkfgjsdf.com Audra Bone

    I have been reading out a few of your posts and i must say pretty clever stuff. I will definitely bookmark your blog.

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