Yo, head-buried-in-sand Americans!!! The Iraq War is over!!!! Let yourselves enjoy a long-awaited exhalation.
Well, half of one. There is still that other war.
However, this sure sounds like a big deal. Obama is telling us in that deliberate, endearingly self-effacing (i.e., slickly cautious and calculating) way of his that he has fulfilled a great promise.
What a relief! The news media can pump up the national esteem a bit on this one to help compete with the insanely irrational tea party and racist right drumbeats. As we round the corner to midterms, Dem government officials, military operatives and pundits can posture "Iraq victory" before the BP- and war-battered vast, struggling, myopic majority of citizens.
Are you beginning to feel the election term climate change? I know I am. The ever increasing and novel sunlight of attention from Obama and the Dem politicians as we enter another teasing and ultimately cruel "Lucy and the football" season? Why, the House Reps are willing to come galloping back from their summer vacations to vote funding for cop and teacher jobs! Fancy that? How absolutely swell of them!
This is the time when our Dem leadership will pretend it seriously cares about us. Will point out to us what rabid rat bastards the Republicans have been (no argument from me), and try to convince us that their being non-rabid rat bastards is so much better than the alternative.
As if obscene amounts of corporate-lobbied bribe money poking out of their briefcases, pockets of phenomenally expensive suits or up from bra cleavages did not long ago cause our real needs to be planted somewhere on Pluto. (You know, like single payer, Medicare-for-All health care. Like a non-bonus baby, big enough stimulus for real Main Street people.) Pluto I say, … which is appropriate. Not even taken seriously as a planet any more.
They will pretend that we are not a kleptocracy. That Obama is not a razzle-dazzling catalyst for the fast hardening of soft fascism in America. That Obama is actually a serious leader, and not, as Glen Ford once wrote in BAR "the inside man" for the oligarchs. That he is not the "confidence" man of the century. But he really, really, really is. A confidence man! For example, just watch and listen to him as he spins (a/k/a reframes) this latest Iraq story. Audacity thy name is Obama.
Also consider that Obama’s announcement about the drawdown in Iraq will enable the already reluctant media to completely stop talking about the Afghanistan civilian atrocities. 92,000 documents? Hmmmm. How much attention were they really given by the corporate media? This lapse, of course, helped by the indignantly righteous "offensive defense" of our collective governmental and military leadership against the 22-year old whistleblower, Bradley Manning (now apparently on suicide watch – yeah, score another potential suicide for yourselves, US war matrix), and Wikileaks. This Orwellian drumbeat of indignation from the Goliaths of violence has successfully re-channeled any grim and troubling whispers of gross amorality (a/k/a war crimes) away from our US government and military and put the heat onto the faux-"traitorous” messengers.
BTW, the formerly diabolical Rovian/Cheney playbook is FULLY bipartisan now, that is, "attack your critics irrationally but with conviction of the very crimes you yourselves have committed." Even Rachel Maddow revealed the end of her liberally long corporate media leash to give Wikileaks a scolding the other night. To take Wikileaks to task (and the degree of the Wikileaks’ Afghan-endangering leaks will need to be explored, granted) as a threat to the insanely threatening and destructive U.S. military security complex is insane. Et tu, Maddow?
As one hears President Obama’s assurances of profound, final benchmark progress in Iraq, as one hears the Republicans bragging about how the "surge" worked, and as one hears Mid-term Dem candidates celebrating the at-long-last closure of the Iraq war and the new democracy there, heed the fresh words of Guardian writer Seamus Milne:
"It’s not only the hundreds of thousands of dead and 4 million refugees. After seven years of US (and British) occupation, tens of thousands are still tortured and imprisoned without trial, health and education has dramatically deteriorated, the position of women has gone horrifically backwards, trade unions are effectively banned, Baghdad is divided by 1,500 checkpoints and blast walls, electricity supplies have all but broken down and people pay with their lives for speaking out."
"Even without the farce of the March elections, the banning and killing of candidates and activists and subsequent political breakdown, to claim – as the Times did today – that "Iraq is a democracy" is grotesque. The Green Zone administration would collapse in short order without the protection of US troops and security contractors. No wonder the speculation among Iraqis and some US officials is of an eventual military takeover."
So, the President with an “I kept my promise” audacity IMPLIES change. POSITIVE change.
According to Milne, Major General Stephen Lanza, US military spokesman in Iraq, told the New York Times:
"In practical terms, nothing will change". After this month’s withdrawal, there will still be 50,000 US troops in 94 military bases, "advising" and training the Iraqi army, "providing security" and carrying out "counter-terrorism" missions. In US military speak, that covers pretty well everything they might want to do.
Granted, a 50,000 troop pull-out is major! But Milne emphasizes how violence in Iraq has been increasing. 535 civilians alone were killed in July, the worst figure for two years according to the Iraqi government. Fewer US troops may be patrolling the dangerous streets but even US troops are dying at a rate of six a month as their bases are shelled. Iraqi troops and U.S.-backed militias are under severe fire.
So what is the real change that Obama et al. are puffing up about so grandly? According to Milne the U.S. government is rebranding the occupation and privatizing it. How very Obama of it. The appearance of change, without real change. Déjà vu, anyone?
There are 100,000 private mercenaries in Iraq and 11,000 are armed mercenaries, mostly “third country nationals”, Milne explains. They are typically from the developing world. "One Peruvian and two Ugandan security contractors were killed in a rocket attack on the Green Zone only a fortnight ago," he reports. You get the idea?
Now will come the SURGE (an even greater one) of contractors to Iraq, off the radar at least of U.S. public consciousness. Milne also reports that Hillary Clinton intends to increase US military contractors who work for the state department from 2,700 to 7,000, to be based in five “enduring presence posts” across Iraq.
"Enduring presence posts"? Has a rather imperialist ring to it, does it not? Of course, when the US embassy over there is the size of Vatican City, did anyone seriously think the rapacious and carpetbagging U.S. would EVER withdraw?
So, ACTUALLY, the war in Iraq does not have closure in terms of REALITY, nor in terms of HUMANITY, just political FANTASY (a/k/a propaganda). But now others (third worlders who don’t matter to most Americans) can die fighting for that necessary-to-the-United-States control of Iraq. We, Mr. Obama et al., are OUTSOURCING THE OCCUPATION claims Milne!!! TA DAH!!!! And, at the same time, the magical Obama can follow up TECHNICALLY (a/k/a gamesmanship sans statesmanship) on Bush’s commitment to pull out all troops by the end of 2011.
What a guy.
Obama will seduce the "confidence" of far too many, that some positive transition has happened — is happening — regarding Iraq. Such important midterm election sound bites.
Well, fewer American troops will be dying there. So now even more can get to die in Afghanistan. Evil and tragic shell game, anyone?
And there are more reasons to celebrate, at least for the oligarchs and their operatives, like the members of the three branches of our U.S. government.
"IT WAS SO ABOUT THE OIL!!!"
So the oligarchs and their pals like Obama are quite sincere in their self-congratulations, their sense of victory. Let us NEVER forget it was about the oil!
Milne discloses that there are 20-year contracts to run Iraq’s biggest oil fields that were handed out to foreign companies last year. "Anglo-American oil majors" Milne calls them. The same ones that "exploited Iraqi oil under British control before 1958." Well, Bush et al. really did right ultimately by their oily cronies, didn’t they?
Milne points out that according to Greg Muttitt: "60% of Iraq’s reserves will be put under long-term foreign corporate control. If output can be boosted as sharply as planned, the global oil price could be slashed and the grip of recalcitrant Opec states broken."
What’s a few million war crimes among oily friends?
It’s called the AUDACITY OF MENDACITY, Mr. Obama. More and more of us are recognizing it.
And all of us Americans have blood on our hands.
[Cross-posted at http://www.correntewire.com/obama_turns_midterm_smile_and_lies_about_iraq ]