Here’s how I felt about the election that just went down:
Fuck the vote. Riot.
Here’s one reason why – Obama’s Veterans Day speech where he played up the fact that the United States is no longer occupying Iraq:
“This is the first Veterans Day in a decade in which there are no American troops fighting and dying in Iraq. (Applause.) Thirty-three thousand of our troops have now returned from Afghanistan, and the transition there is underway. After a decade of war, our heroes are coming home. And over the next few years, more than a million service members will transition back to civilian life. They’ll take off their uniforms and take on a new and lasting role. They will be veterans.”
Which means they’ll probably be handicapped, or worse – have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and trouble adjusting to civilian life – like those who have committed suicide in large numbers.
Obama has been portrayed as an anti-war candidate and politician in the past, and in the case of the Iraq occupation, there’s some truth in that assertion. The then-Illinois Senator joined with other members of Congress on Sept. 26, 2002 urging Bush not to invade. On Oct. 3, he addressed an anti-war rally the day after Congress authorized the invasion. And, on March 17, 2003, he addressed another anti-war rally two days before the actual invasion.
So when he declared that no more American troops were fighting and dying in Iraq, it appears he’s been consistent all along, right?
Wrong. If Obama had his way, we would still have American troops in Iraq.
The reason for the military withdrawal at the end of 2011 was due to a deal negotiated and agreed by the Bush administration called the Status Of Forces Agreement, or SOFA. The Obama administration was so sure Iraqi leaders would agree to the U.S. staying longer that Leon Panetta assumed they did, only to be contradicted by the Iraqi Foreign Minister:
“Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Iraq’s government has agreed to extend the U.S. military presence in the country beyond 2011 — but Iraq quickly rejected the claim.
The word from Panetta, during an interview with Stars & Stripes, was the first official indication that any of the 46,000 American troops will remain in Iraq beyond the country’s Dec. 31 deadline for U.S. forces to leave. The U.S. and Iraq reached a security agreement in 2008 that the entire American military would be out of the country by the end of 2011.
‘My view is that they finally did say, ‘Yes,’’ Panetta told the military’s official newspaper. He told the paper he urged the Iraqis six weeks ago to ‘damn it, make a decision’ about allowing U.S. troops to remain in the country into 2012.
But shortly after Panetta’s interview hit the Internet, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told Agence-France Presse that no deal is in place.
‘We have not yet agreed on the issue of keeping training forces,’ spokesman Ali Mussawi said. ‘The negotiations are ongoing, and these negotiations have not been finalized.’
Panetta said the Pentagon has already begun planning for the continued presence in Iraq.”
The main sticking point was legal immunity for the few thousand American troops the Obama administration wanted left behind. The Iraqis refused:
“The Status of Forces Agreement between the United States and Iraq expires at the end of the year. Officials had been discussing the possibility of maintaining several thousand U.S. troops to train Iraqi security forces, and the Iraqis wanted troops to stay but would not give them immunity, a key demand of the administration.
‘This deal was cut by the Bush administration, the agreement was always that at end of the year we would leave, but the Iraqis wanted additional troops to stay,’ an administration official said. ‘We said here are the conditions, including immunities. But the Iraqis because of a variety of reasons wanted the troops and didn’t want to give immunity.'”
Hmmm, I wonder why they didn’t want to grant American forces immunity? What could it possibly be?
Whatever the reason was, Obama didn’t get his way but he did put his best spin on it and portrayed it as fulfilling a campaign promise as the allegedly anti-war candidate progressives fawned over in 2008. Yet as the National Journal put it:
“President Obama’s speech formally declaring that the last 43,000 U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year was designed to mask an unpleasant truth: The troops aren’t being withdrawn because the U.S. wants them out. They’re leaving because the Iraqi government refused to let them stay.”
That’s why there are no American troops fighting and dying in Iraq today. If there was an anti-occupation movement outside of the system and in the streets instead of a bunch of “progressives” worrying over whether the people they elect will actually live up to their promises this time – then there wouldn’t be any Americans fighting and dying anywhere in the first place.