US Soon Out Of Iraq? NO!

Did you really believe Obama would bring all the troops home? Sucker! David Dayen of FDL, basing his post on a NY Times story and a WaPo story, explains how VP Biden successfully negotiated a deal with Maliki in which some US troops return to Iraq “providing training of Iraqi forces.”

We spent a goodly portion of my young life not getting out of Vietnam, and now we’re going to spend most of my senior years not getting out of Iraq… at least Iraq. Why not just rename our country the United States of War and be done with it?

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  • upyernoz  On Thursday December 1, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    David Dayen of FDL, basing his post on a NY Times story and a WaPo story, explains how VP Biden successfully negotiated a deal with Maliki in which some US troops return to Iraq “providing training of Iraqi forces.”

    well, maybe. DDay’s post was a little more qualified than that. under iraqi law (i.e. the constitution that we wrote) foreign forces cannot operate in iraq without parliamentary authorization. if they are just holding training exercises, then it wouldn’t violate the iraqi constitution (nor would it be a big deal, iMHO. at any given time, u.s. forces are involved in the training of soldiers in various other NATO nations. but personally, i don’t think that means the u.s. occupies denmark). if, on the other hand, the “trainers” are just a renamed combat force, then it would be a real issue. but it would also pose a legal problem for maliki unless he got parliamentary authorization that he will not get.

    • Steve  On Thursday December 1, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      Here’s Dayen, from the same post:

      We’re probably talking in the hundreds here, and if their training mission is carefully circumscribed, maybe it’s not the biggest issue in the hierarchy of foreign policy and national security. But it is instructive on the casual lies that the government uses to describe its actions. Remember that the withdrawal from Iraq has been cast as a great victory by the Administration and its supporters. It’s supposed to be a triumph, to extricate us from an unwinnable military conflict where our troops were not ultimately the answer to Iraq’s problems. But read the fine print. There will be some residual force training Iraqis, ready in case future threats to national security or terrorist actions necessitate a return to the battlefield. This is not a clean break. In short, it’s not what the American public was promised, in boasts by the Administration.

      (Emphasis mine. – SB)

      That doesn’t seem very “qualified” to me; that seems IMHO to validate both possibilities… a genuine training mission or a toehold for a continued combat mission. It’s not at all like Denmark because we are not at present engaged in combat in Denmark. Perceive this however you wish; I’ll reserve judgment… and worry a bit. Actually, more than a bit. There is historical precedent for the US hanging onto a foreign war past the bitter end… and members of my age cohort died for it.

      • upyernoz  On Thursday December 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm

        but that’s not what the articles that DDay cited say. the NYT link, for example, states that maliki “was open to the eventual return of American troops as trainers”

        that’s not “continuous”. “open to the eventually return” means they are all leaving and then, at some point later one, a small group of trainers might come back to the country. but even that is not certain.

        the WaPo article gives even less support for the idea that there will be a continuous military presence. the only quote from an iraqi about what they agreed to says: “But Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Wednesday that future security arrangements did not feature in the talks. ‘Nothing military was discussed,’ he said.” which actually contradicts DDay’s thesis.

        There is historical precedent for the US hanging onto a foreign war past the bitter end

        i agree. but contrary to what dayan says, there are some precedents for the u.s. pulling out of a country in the past hundred years as well. e.g. saudi arabia in the 2000-zeros, or lebanon in the 1980s. i agree that the u.s. tends to hang around in many instances. but it’s wrong to say that a complete pullout just doesn’t happen anymore.

        with regard to iraq, there really is nothing in it for the administration to stay, especially not if “staying” means a few hundred individual soldiers who have no legal immunity because the iraqi parliament won’t do it. before people make these badly sourced claims that the u.s. is going to stay in iraq forever, i’d prefer if they explain what’s in it for the obama administration. rhetorically they have talked about leaving, so what it’s in it for them to do something else?

        • upyernoz  On Thursday December 1, 2011 at 8:33 pm

          wow, sorry for all those typos (e.g. in the very first sentence: “that’s not what the articles that DDay CITED say”)

          i hope that wasn’t too incoherent

          • Steve  On Thursday December 1, 2011 at 8:44 pm

            I fixed that one, and nothing else was incoherent to my eye. Remember, ‘noz, I’m not a judge; indeed, I’m not even an attorney! Errors in comments are normal consequences of the short amount of time we have to convey a great deal of info. Don’t worry about them!

        • Steve  On Thursday December 1, 2011 at 8:58 pm

          ‘noz, now I see what you mean: Dayen construes everything in both articles in the most negative way, or at least as having the most negative outcome. And I tend to do the same, even when the facts do not support… no, even when the facts do not require that interpretation.

          I can’t remember how old you are, ‘noz. I am 63, which means that my most draft-vulnerable years were my immediately post-college years: the years in which Nixon kept the Vietnam War going so he could end it after his re-election. I.e., soldiers kept dying for Nixon’s purely political purposes. I was near the top of the list to be drafted, and was saved from serving only by my pre-induction physical, in which they decided that my collapsing left knee really was bad enough to keep me out of the Army.

          So my view of America’s participation in such wars is through a very jaundiced eye. Iraq seems a lot like Vietnam to me: we should not have been in either place in the first place, and American participation in both wars lasted far too long. Hence any hint that Obama might compromise his promise to get us out at the end of this month raises the hairs on the back of my neck. He wouldn’t be the first president to do that.

          • upyernoz  On Thursday December 1, 2011 at 9:19 pm

            i’m 42 (as of monday of this week). so yeah, i have no first hand memory of the vietnam war (the u.s. pullout happened when i was 3), although in 1999 (when i was just about to turn 30 and was between jobs), i spent a few weeks backpacking across vietnam and learned a lot about the history of the place.

            in any case, i realize that we all see events through the lense of what we’ve already lived through. it doesn’t mean any perspective is more right or wrong. it’s just different ways of seeing the same thing. the cautionary tale of vietnam is well worth keeping in mind any time the u.s. gets into a conflict.

            (and thanks for the understanding about the typos. i hate reading the stuff i write sometimes)

  • karmanot  On Thursday December 1, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    The first time I heard “Just trainers” was followed by the Viet Nam war, which America lost.

    • Steve  On Thursday December 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm

      That’s the war I’m talking about, karmanot. I’m sure some of your friends died in it too. I’m sure it is not the first war the US perpetuated primarily for political and ideological reasons, but it’s the first one I was aware of… and it went on far, far too long. In that respect, the Iraq war is similar. It’s time we let them go, no strings attached, unless their parliament, explicitly and without prompting, requests our help.

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