Monday, March 02, 2009

The Bloggers and the Speech


It seems that Jon Stewart (at least) has noticed
the striking similarities in the plans of
Presidents Bush & Obama.

There is relatively little comment from Iraqi bloggers about Pres. Obama's "Iraq Speech" on Friday. And why should there be? Obama essentially conceded to the the Bush strategy:

Draw down the troops to 50,000 by August of next year.


In 2006, Obama called for the immediate draw-down of US troops in Iraq to zero within 16 months. Sen. McCain rightly pointed out that his plan would have meant that last US boot would have been out of Iraq at the very point that more boots that (in conjunction with the Sunni Arab provinces finally getting a clue) more boots had completely turned things around. During the campaign, Obama (like US journalists generally) refused to acknowledge that the surge had improved anything.

Very late in the campaign --as Candidate Obama perversely began to brag that his position on Iraq was closer to Pres. Bush's than Sen. McCain's-- he still called for a 16 month drawn-down of every single US service personnel in Iraq.


On Friday PRESIDENT Obama said:
"To understand where we need to go in Iraq, it is important for the American people to understand where we now stand. Thanks in great measure to [the work of the US military], the situation in Iraq has improved. Violence has been reduced substantially from the horrific sectarian killing of 2006 and 2007. Al Qaeda in Iraq has been dealt a serious blow by our troops and Iraq's Security Forces, and through our partnership with Sunni Arabs. The capacity of Iraq's Security Forces has improved, and Iraq's leaders have taken steps toward political accommodation. The relative peace and strong participation in January's provincial elections sent a powerful message to the world about how far Iraqis have come in pursuing their aspirations through a peaceful political process."
Instead of removing all troops from Iraq in 16 months, he is now calling for bring down the levels 50,000 in 18 months. Then he is calling for removing all the troops in 20011. He says that draw-down to 50,000 includes all US "combat troops", but as we all know now, there is no such thing as a non-combat troop in Iraq. They are all targets, and therefore they are all potential combatants.

In a column at WaPo, former Bush administration Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas Feith, cuts the President about a mile of slack for his turn-around:

His speech effectively repudiated the extreme antiwar rhetoric of recent years. [CMAR II says "that is, his own extreme anti-war rhetoric"] In setting aside the 16-month exit timetable that he had promised while running for the White House, and on other issues, Obama unapologetically demonstrates that, while campaigners can be simplistic and rigid, responsible officials grapple with complexities and require flexibility.[...] This Iraq speech...represents the defeat of the defeatists.

The Obamaniacs, meanwhile, are demonstrating the acumen I have come to expect of them. I saw the speech in a shop, Friday, and a woman actually danced around shouting "Yay! The war is over!" I suppose she hoped Life Magazine would get a picture of pamphleteer kissing her.

The Iraqi Bloggers

Raed: Thank You Obama!

Raed's post is nearly at the level of that Obama bimbo [Obimbo] in the shop. Willful suspension of disbelief. He soft-pedals the President's commitment to only draw-down troops to 50,000. Essentially, his position is that of the American Obama Movement cheerleaders [Obamonkhees], who were screaming "Bring them all home now" when Bush was the decider: "Yes, this is not what he promised, but this is such a wonderful change!"

This is not "change". This is the Bush policy. He's not going to move all US troops out of Iraq. The Iraqis won't want it either. Are the German's wanting all US troops out? No. It's too lucrative to have them posted there.

Iraqi Mojo: Obama Evolving

Mojo's position is more close aligned to Douglas Feith's. He at least acknowledges what a drastic change this is from the President's campaign rhetoric. But I have one quibble. Mojo says:
"His speech on Friday, announcing a faster timetable for withdrawal of combat troops, also reflects his own evolution as a leader."
This not "faster timetable". It is merely a publicly declared timetable. If Bush had announced this six months ago, the Obamaniacs and Raed would not have considered this a move forward.

IraqPundit: U.S. Out of Iraq

IP finds 2011 to be a reasonable date for a total US withdrawal [granting the presumption they will do that] but realistically notes that the decision is perilous:
Iraq certainly can manage its own affairs. But it would be naive to think that Iran is not quietly planning its move for January 2012. In the West, people tend to look at next week or next month. In the East, people look at the next decade or the one after.
Nibras Kazimi: The Enemy Has a Vote

Nibras says that it doesn't matter what Obama says. He says that all the troops (beyond, I suppose, a small number of unobtrusive advisors) will leave Iraq in the fall of 2010, because the Status Of Forces Agreement referendum will fail.
The SOFA referendum won’t pass. It will likely undergo the same mechanism by which the referendum on the constitution (2005) was conducted: it SOFA is rejected (over 50 percent) by three provinces, then it is rendered null. This is a very likely possibility, and it shall be very difficult to any political party, even ones in the ascendancy such as Maliki’s, to make the case to the public to vote for SOFA. Amendments to SOFA, or a whole new SOFA will likewise be very difficult to pull off, both politically and legislatively.Which means that in one year’s time after the date of the referendum (…likely to be around the end of the summer), all U.S. troops, combat or otherwise, would have to depart Iraqi soil.
Other Issues

Sam at Interpreter's Life tells how he came to become a US military interpreter.

Shaggy discusses his father's plans to find him a wife.

Eye Raki discusses the possibility of Maliki and the Sadrists forming a new coalition government that leaves Allawi and the SIIC in opposition.

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