Why the desire to pull the troops out of Iraq in the first place?


*posted first on Friday Feb. 10, here*

In the Australian today:

NO sooner did President Barack Obama welcome home American troops from Iraq and laud that country’s stability and democracy than an unprecedented wave of violence across Baghdad and elsewhere revealed the severity of Iraq’s political crisis.

Unfortunate, yet hardly surprising, even to the most casual of observers.

And whilst I can understand (yet not agree with) the Left’s position not to send troops into Iraq in the first place – an argument, largely moot, for another day – what I don’t understand is their fervish desire to pull the troops out.

It always smacked of idealism, ideology, rather than hard-nosed practicality.

After all, what was so bad with having a US troop presence there to help maintain Iraq’s fragile democratic stability?

One could argue that I am biased because a) I am centre-right politically and b) because I live in South Korea, a nation that has had a US troop presence – some 37,000  28,000 or so currently – since the armistice between North and South Korea and have seen what a permanent US troop presence looks like.

I am happy to accept those labels and can gladly tell you that such a presence ain’t that bad.

By and large,  US bases in Korea – and Japan for that matter – haven’t been a problem.

Sure, issues pop up from time to time, but if one looks at the big picture, then a strong US presence here can only be seen as a good thing, a safe option, a pretty darn good insurance policy against North Korea trying anything major on.

Almost 60 years we’ve had US troops over here without any major problems. In fact, many major problems (a full-scale Nork attack comes to mind) have arguably been averted thanks to this presence.

So, why the rush to leave Iraq essentially free of any US military  before even a decade is up and before, as is clear now, the job is done?

OK, so perhaps it’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges. US troops in Korea, aside from those stationed at the DMZ, aren’t on active duty as they were in Iraq.

However, it’s not a completely dissimilar situation. Perhaps a good analogy would be to compare mandarins and oranges.

US troops not only provided safety and stability in the fledgling democracy that is Iraq – a country still steeped with sectarian and tribal rivalries – but surely they also provided a deterrence to anybody or any groups who want to destabilise the nation.

What takes years to build can take mere seconds to destroy, and I fear a lot of hard work is being undone on the whim of a flawed, feel-good, ideology.

So why?

The only practical reason that I can see for Obama pulling his troops out of Iraq is that with an Iranian confrontation looming which includes action needed in Syria, Iraq frankly isn’t important enough any more or at best, an impractical option for a potentially over-stretched military.

Of course, Obama – a man of the progressive Left – can’t actually come out and say that but it is reasonably well-known to those who don’t just get their news from the MSM that Obama is actually more of a war-time president than Bush was, having committed more troops to both Iraq and Afghanistan, and for a longer period of time.

So whilst the MSM might play along with the “bringing the troops home” narrative, the evidence indicates this simply isn’t the case.

Some 20,000 marines, seamen and air crews from half a dozen countries, a US nuclear aircraft carrier strike group and three US Marine gunship carriers are practicing an attack on a fictitious mechanized enemy division which has invaded its neighbor. It is the largest amphibian exercise seen in the West for a decade, staged to simulate a potential Iranian invasion of an allied Persian Gulf country and a marine landing on the Iranian coast. Based largely on US personnel and hardware, French, British, Italian, Dutch, Australian* and New Zealand military elements are integrated in the drill.
Bold Alligator went into its operational phase Monday, Feb. 6, the same day as a large-scale exercise began in southern Iran opposite the Strait of Hormuz. This simultaneity attests to the preparations for a US-Iranian showdown involving Israel behind the words on Feb. 5 of US President Barack Obama (“I don’t think Israel has decided whether to attack Iran”) and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Feb. 3 (“The war itself will be ten times as detrimental to the US.”).

(*BTW, I don’t recall Aussie PM Gillard highlighting that one.)

And this:

As the US and Israel carried on bickering over the right time to strike Iran’s nuclear sites, their war preparations continued apace. debkafile’s military sources report that flight after flight of US warplanes and transports were to be seen this week cutting eastward through the skies of Sinai on their way to Gulf destinations, presumably Saudi Arabia, at a frequency not seen in the Middle East for many years.

Add into this mix reports that China will reportedly help Saudi Arabia build a nuclear bomb, and that both China and India have started paying Iran for its oil in gold thus helping thwart current US/UN sanctions (more of which were recently thwarted by Russia and China), then we see a stage set for a showdown and we see the reality that rhetoric aside, Obama won’t be bringing many troops home at all.

To someone who doesn’t know any better, it’s as if Russia, India, and China – all wannabe first chickens to the trough – are ganging up on America.**

PS Who wouldn’t love to be a fly on the wall listening in to what the US is really saying about China? Their ever-expanding use of soft power is in many ways, stuffing it all up for America. China must surely be becoming an ever-increasing pain in the neck.

This leaves Australia in an interesting position. Our main export partner is China. Our main ally is the US. We send China our goodies to help them get rich and rival America. We practice shooting our guns with America to help keep America on top.

And yet China and America are also so deep in each other’s pockets. America buys China’s goods. China buys America’s debt.

Fun times.

** I highly recommend reading The Lucifer Principle by Howard Bloom. Part of the book talks about the pecking order of nations.

The REAL reason the Islamic extremists hate us…


THIS.

And the George Bush, and the Dick Cheney, and the Sarah Palin Climate of Hate™.

But mostly, THIS.

via @TheH2

Finally, Obama addresses the nation about America’s Kinetic Military Action in Libya


And via the magic of Twitter, his entire 7-page single-spaced speech can be distilled down into fewer than 140 characters:

“I authorized this war that is not a war, which is narrowly focused but broad in scope, so we could lead. As helpers.”

And this critique:

“Eerily like a Bush speech, but without the conviction.”

Hey, here’s a word cloud!

If you’d like a little more detail, see PJTV‘s account of the speech.  If you’d like the time-limited, vermouth-limited overserved kinetic martini-action version, see VodkaPundit’s drunkblog account.

And if you’d like to see how this speech SHOULD have been done, see Reagan.

UPDATE: More on Obama’s War from James Board, and a great post at RedState which includes some of the top Twitter reactions.

 

via twitterers @MelissaTweets, @EWErickson, @KamaainaInOC, @GayPatriot, @instapundit, @CalebHowe & @VodkaPundit.

As Obama’s War Begins in Libya, Peace Activists Hold Rally at White House…


…Against the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

.

“You know it makes sense!”

h/t @WeaselZippers

UPDATE:

BUT BUT BUT!!!!! HE’S NOT BUSH!!!!!! heh. #ChimpyMcObamaHitlerHalliburton

Downer calls for Taliban negotiations


At first glance, this is a particularly unpalatable notion, but perhaps the Realpolitik of the situation warrants such a change of strategy.

THE initial objective of the invasion of Afghanistan has been achieved and it’s time for a diplomatic settlement involving the Taliban and their Pakistani creators, says former foreign minister Alexander Downer.

In an article entitled “Our messy war” published in The Spectator ahead of the parliamentary debate on Afghanistan, Mr Downer said the initial military goal was to destroy al-Qaeda’s capacity to use Afghanistan as a base for attacks on the US and other western targets.

“That goal was achieved. Al-Qaeda was destroyed in Afghanistan. As time has passed there has been mission creep,” he said.

Mr Downer said the task now was apparently to improve the quality of democracy and security, but that was proving perilously difficult as Afghanistan had never been competently governed by an administration based in Kabul.

However, on the one hand we see reports of a decimated Taliban having endured a near decade-long “arse-kicking”. Their best commanders are either dead or captured and what’s left is literally a rag tag army.

Thus, why negotiate now? Rather, seizing the jugular (g’day, reader Carpe Jugulum ;-)!) would appear to be the more effective option in the long-run.

But then there are the reports of a wishy-washy US president who even after an Iraqi-style troop surge- which has arguably been a success, just like in Iraq - still appears to not really know what to do.

American Spectator’s Alfred S. Regnery:

Afghanistan is often called the “graveyard of empires.” It is also Barack Obama’s Achilles’ heel. He has nobody to blame but himself.

Afghanistan has little strategic value and the war is one of choice rather than necessity. Now, at the end of a wasteful and frustrating decade, our objective is to end the fighting and leave a measure of stability behind. But clarifying even this simple goal seems more than the Obama administration can handle.

That’s probably why Downer is calling for a deal. Regnery’s piece goes on to remind us that Afghanistan, hardly a nation, is but really a collection of tribes, rooted in the middle ages, and certainly not a prime candidate for nation-building.

Still, something doesn’t sit right. Even with Al-Qaeda taken care of over there, what’s to say they wouldn’t re-emerge – and quickly? A deal and/or pull-out would likely inspire Islamic terrorist forces around the globe. And just how much could you expect a “legitimised” Taliban to keep up their end of any bargain?

The Australian parliament is set to debate the Afghanistan War this Tuesday. Yet with the major government power-broker, Greens’ leader Bob Brown, not even having been there, it seems folly to have this debate just now even if both, generally speaking, the ALP and Liberals are committed to the war.

You’d think the best course of action would be to head the advice of the generals on the ground. Bob Brown flies in the face of this, however.

“We have to take what our army commanders are saying into account here but then I have letters from relatives of troops who are in Afghanistan or going to Afghanistan who do not want their loved ones sent to what they see as a hopeless war,” he told ABC Television.

A US debate over what step to take next is scheduled for December.

Faced with a White House war review due in December and decreasing public support for the war back home, the U.S. military is not in a position to hold back. The current phase of operations is geared to make a statement: drive the fight as aggressively as possible and rout the Taliban in their own backyard. Looking forward, commanders posit that improved civilian freedom of movement and a stronger government presence will be reliable gauges of progress. But it remains to be seen just what metrics will be enough to convince the Obama Administration that serious money and manpower should be poured into a conflict now entering its 10th year.

Whatever the powers-that-be decide, now is a good time for Western forces to strike hard while the iron is hot. One reason is purely military in nature: the Taliban is at its knees. The other reason is purely political in nature: Obama and other Western politicians appear to be at their knees.

A deal with the Taliban?

Picture source: Taliban feud over murder of Polish hostage


cross-posted

The latest terror round-up


Let’s start off with Tony Blair noting that the war on terror has left too many Muslims thinking we’re out to get them. Of course, that’s not the case, but is it really such a surprise the West is taking a closer look at Islam in an effort to understand why so many terrorists are Muslim?

We note that two Israeli soldiers have been convicted of using a Palestinian boy as a human shield. Does the same kind of scrutiny occur in the Palestinian territories when their folk do the same (and on a much larger scale)?

And speaking of pricks who use civilians as human shields, it’s good to hear the Taliban, thanks largely to the surge and all our fine soldiers, is “getting an absolute arse-kicking”. Indeed, they’ve been decimated.

Cheney. I knew it!


Don’t ask me how I know. Probably the same way you do. You can sense it, right? Feel it?

I knew that slimey Cheney SOB was involved in 9/11. How involved is anyone’s guess, but that’s not the point. He was involved.

The troof is out there… well at least if you’re mum turned activist Cindy Sheehan.

Seriously, would it be better to despise or pity her? Flogging her dead son’s memory around like that still, in order to keep pounding out the redundant, irrelevant dribble of far Left groups who so callously took advantage of a once pround but then grieving parent is, either way you look at it, not a good look.

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