Tuesday, July 08, 2008

We've Kicked al Qaeda's Butt!! Okay, Let's Go Home.

Reports coming out of Iraq say that not only is al Qaeda on its heels there, but that it can no longer even mount an attack. I wonder, then, why the Bush Administration is not planning on bringing the troops home anytime soon, especially because he is predicting a large-scale attack on America for sometime in 2009. Nouri al Maliki wants the US to begin preparations for departure, but the United States is sure that he didn't really mean it.

al Qaeda has been completely destroyed in Iraq. At least that's the news coming from foreign news sources there.
Marie Colvin of the Times of London had an answer Sunday: "American and Iraqi forces are driving al Qaida in Iraq out of its last redoubt in the north of the country in the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror."

It looks like the Democrats understand the situation better than the Republicans by a country mile. But let's go with this "we-kicked-al-Qaeda's-butt" theory, which begs the next question: when are our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines coming home?

Pssst!! It might be because they left for Pakistan and forgot to turn out the lights.
"Al Qaida is not waiting for our electoral cycle or inauguration. If they have an opportunity to strike, they will strike. And that is why I think we have to take steps today, and that is why I was very pleased when Senator Obama called for much more aggressive action in Pakistan," Senator Jack Reed [Democrat] of Rhode Island said.

There, Al Qaida is reconstituting itself. If they have the operational space and they have the time, they will develop plans, and it's not with respect to the new administration. It's when they think they can strike and be effective at catastrophic attacks, he said on ABC's "This Week" programme.
It looks like the Democrats understand the situation better than the Republicans by a country mile. But let's go with this "we-kicked-al-Qaeda's-butt" theory, which begs the next question: when are our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines coming home?

al Qaeda is still capable of attack. Apparently, the White House knows this. About a week ago, the White House warned that the next President of the United States faces imminent attack on American soil by al Qaeda. But I thought we kicked their butts?

Mr. McCormack, let me try to clarify. Mr. al Maliki said something about departure or withdrawal. I can see how giving us two choices would be confusing.

At any rate, wouldn't it make sense to make preparations for such an impending attack by pulling in our defenses to protect ourselves? Apparently not, according to the Establishment powers that be. The news cycle will be pretty boring after the November elections, anyway, so we need some new grist!

To compound Establishment problems (not to mention that the bigwigs at the G-8 summit are finally admitting that we've been for quite some time aboard an economic train wreck in progress), Nouri al Maliki has requested a timetable for Coalition pullout from Iraq. The Bush administration has always said that if the Iraqis want us to leave, we'll leave. But in this latest incident, US representatives are sure that something was lost in the translation from Arabic to English. Here's the unequivocal English translation:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday he is negotiating a deal with Washington that will for the first time set a timetable for a withdrawal of foreign forces as part of a framework for a U.S. troop presence into next year.

It was the first time that Baghdad's Shiite-led government has made a pullout deadline a condition for a promised new agreement with the United States for a troop presence into 2009.

'The direction we are taking is to have a memorandum of understanding either for the departure of the forces or to have a timetable for their withdrawal,' a statement from Maliki's office quoted him as telling Arab ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates.
Nonetheless, the Pentagon and the State Department are hedging on whether al Maliki could possibly be serious.
...the administration has rebuffed Maliki’s request for a timeline. Asked about the prime minister’s comments today, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman hedged on whether the administration would follow the Iraqi government’s request, criticizing timelines as “artificial“:

WHITMAN: [I]t is dependent on conditions on the ground. … But timelines tend to be artificial in nature. In a situation where things are as dynamic as they are in Iraq, I would just tell you, it’s usually best to look at these things based on conditions on the ground.

The State Department also hedged on whether the Bush administration would listen to Maliki. In a briefing today, spokesperson Sean McCormack said the remark may have been a transcription error:

McCORMACK: Well, that’s really the part — the point at which I would seek greater clarification in terms of remarks. I’ve seen the same press reports that you have, but I haven’t yet had an opportunity to get greater clarify as to exactly to what Mr. Maliki was referring or if, in fact, that’s an accurate reporting of what he said.
Mr. McCormack, let me try to clarify. Mr. al Maliki said something about departure or withdrawal. I can see how giving us two choices would be confusing.




12 comments:

  1. It gets really confusing when you consider that al Qaeda was never in Iraq. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi renamed his al-Tawhid wal-Jihad terrorist group "al Qaeda in Iraq" in 2004.

    This enabled President Bush to pretend that our forces in Iraq were fighting the same group that staged the 9/11 attacks. But it's hard to believe that even Bush really thinks al Qaeda was ever in Iraq.

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  2. The Bush administration has place so much emphasis on achieving a stable Iraq with a functioning government, but now refuses to withdrawal troops when that government (which Bush claims to be sovereign) doesn't want there anymore? It's a bit ridiculous.

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  3. It is possible that President Bush is hoping for another attack on American soil so he can cancel the election in the likely event Obama is the winner. Bush would just love to stay in office and have an excuse to use all of those executive orders he wrote during his time in office.

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  4. Richard and Joel,

    It is interesting how the "mission" has changed over time from stopping WMD to stopping al Qaeda/building democracy. Now that Iraq is officially saying their democracy is built, are we surprised that the mission is changing again?

    ;-)

    Unfortunately, I don't think Obama will put his money where his mouth is on pulling troops out of Iraq. That's why (now that Ron Paul has stepped down) I'm supporting Bob Barr for president.

    Scott,

    I alluded to the provocation of "another attack" in this article, but I hadn't thought about it from the perspective of martial law, canceling elections, etc. It would be interesting to let history play itself out before it happens, because if McCain seemed to be in the driver's seat, Bush would probably not provoke the provocation, knowing that his "secret" is safe with Johnny Boy.

    If the Democrat (notice I didn't say Obama--I really still think it will be Hillary) seemed to have the upper hand, then I wouldn't be surprised--based on what we've seen the Bush administration to be capable of-- if your scenario played out.

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  5. Iraq might well be facing the same problem with our government that we are.

    The Bush Administration doesn't trust the citizens of the United States to make the right choice, hence the need to hide or make up evidence and all that stuff.

    Apparently the Bush Administration doesn't trust Iraq to be able to take care of itself either.

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  6. And can it? Obviously security is needed, so the question becomes can Iraq provide its own security?

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  7. The real question is whether they think they can provide their own security. That's not a choice for us to make. And they think they can. Not only that, but they have asked us to tear down the green zone. I'm waiting to laugh at the hubristic response to that one from the Bush administration.

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  8. Not so fast:

    “Very difficult,” he said, shaking his head. “Any army would love to work without any help, but let me be honest: for now, we don’t have that ability.”

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  9. Sounds like the general better get on the horn with Nouri al Maliki, pronto!

    I can imagine that a general would be pretty nervous about taking over the entire responsibility for something like this, but what's very interesting is the paragraph before the one you quoted:

    “Everyone in Iraq likes [Obama],” said the general, Nassir al-Hiti. “I like him. He’s young. Very active. We would be very happy if he was elected president.”

    On page 2 of that article, the prevailing sentiment becomes more clear.

    Mr. Obama has advocated a withdrawal that would remove most combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office. Despite some fears about such a departure, that stance is not unpopular here. Many Iraqis hate American forces because soldiers have killed their relatives and friends, and they say they want the troops out.

    But then this quote at the end of the article is very interesting:

    Most Iraqis dislike the fact that their country is occupied, but a few well-educated Iraqis who have traveled abroad say they would not oppose a permanent American military presence, something that Mr. Obama opposes. Saad Sultan, the Iraqi government official, said his travels in Germany, where there have been American bases since the end of World War II, softened his attitude toward a long-term presence. “I have no problem to have a camp here,” he said. “I find it in Germany and that’s a strong country. Why not in Iraq?”

    But then I've probably mentioned to you before that I think there is no reason for us to have forces in Germany, either (or Japan, Korea, etc. etc.)

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  10. Yeah, the comments by Iraqis on Obama's readiness for the presidency sound an awful lot like comments from his supporters here. He seems like a nice guy. He's young. He's black. His policies? He seems like a nice guy.

    Here's another perspective on that NY Times piece. They also pull out a few quotes, like:

    "al-Qaida would rearrange itself and come back if the Americans withdraw,"

    “In no way do I favor the occupation of my country,” said Abu Ibrahim, a Western-educated businessman in Baghdad, “but there is a moral obligation on the Americans at this point.”

    "...support for troop withdrawal cuts both ways, reflecting a deep internal quandary in Iraq: for many middle-class Iraqis, affection for Mr. Obama is tempered by worry that his proposal could lead to chaos in a nation already devastated by war."

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  11. The statement by Abu Ibrahim is perhaps the most poignant. Where do we draw the line between occupation and "we broke it we fix it"?

    I'm not saying I would vote for Obama by any means. His campaign has been a perpetual Beatles concert. Although early on I thought a lot of him.

    I support Ron Paul, who thinks (and I agree) that it was a huge mistake to go to Iraq in the first place, and that we need to take measured steps to bring the troops home--from a lot of places.

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