January will bring the curtain down in Iraq.

Baghdad2 "Iraq also is entering a crucial year. National elections in January could determine whether Iraq moves away from the sectarian divisions that triggered a virtual civil war in 2006 and whether its fledgling democratic system survives or gives way to a new authoritarianism. In the seven months after the election, the United States is due to reduce its forces by more than 60 percent. If the country is not stable, al-Qaeda and Iraq's neighbors will be quick to exploit the vacuum.

The question is whether the Obama administration is paying more attention than the rest of the country. Some of its own supporters are worried: Kenneth Pollack, an expert at the Brookings Institution, says that the administration is not using its leverage with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on matters crucial to the success of the elections. One is whether Iraq will allow voting for its parliament by district; many of its parties favor a system of national slates that could reinforce sectarian divisions. Another is whether Mr. Maliki will promote the staging of a referendum on the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq. Such a vote could help the prime minister win reelection — and force a precipitous American withdrawal."  Washpost


Everything I have heard about the referendum isssue indicates that there will be such a referendum.  The outcome of that vote seems certain.  In the Kurdish north the referendum will not ask for our withdrawal.  Everywhere else it will do so and thus will end the continuing neocon fantasy about Iraq.

We should accelerate logistical planning for withdrawal and prepare to deal diplomatically with the Iraq that we have created.

The current neocon whining about Iraq repeats the forty year old whine about Vietnam.  In those days it was said that the power and influence of the United States would stand or fall on the issue of victory or defeat in Southeast Asia.  That was not true then and it is not true now.  This is mere rationalization by those who yearn for a unipolar world.

The United States must look to its economy, and not continue to pursue foreign adventure.  Leave the takfiri jihadis to the tender mercies of those who are good at dealing with people like them and look to the economy!!!    pl

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27 Responses to January will bring the curtain down in Iraq.

  1. J says:

    The Neocons won’t do that ‘willingly’, as it makes ‘common sense’.
    The definition of a Neocon brain == the lights are on, the shades are up, and nobody’s home.

  2. Jose says:

    Rather than admit their mistakes, the NeoNutties have begun the “blame-game” of excuses…

  3. Green Zone Cafe says:

    OK, I bet that there will be no referendum, or that the wording of the question will be so confusing or contain so many choices that there will be no clear result.

  4. Fred says:

    “President Obama delegated management of Iraq to Vice President Biden in June;” So much for ending Cheney’s ideas about the powers of the Vice President.

  5. IMO none but those in-country are paying much attention to Iraq! Could be wrong but little evidence that Presidential time devoted to effort in Iraq. Guessing ethnic and religious differences will result in de facto partition over next decade. Iranian influence grows daily just by sitting tight awaiting US withdrawal. Saudi, Israeli, and US policy has failed in Iraq.

  6. Bart says:

    Elsewhere in the Middle East, this Bloomberg headline: “Netanyahu Rejects Full Settlement Halt Ahead of Mitchell Talks”
    Remember how many times the Bush administration would insist on preconditions before any talks?

  7. JohnH says:

    I’ll believe the curtain has come down in Iraq when I see it. And even then I’ll want to check closely and often to see what is going on behind the curtain.
    In terms of perceptions, Iraq was akin to pyrrhic victory. None of whatever objectives there were got met, with the exception of getting rid of Saddam. Of course, perceptions mask the reality of what is going on behind the scenes.
    Nonetheless, the neo conmen thrive on perceptions, so they will be vigorous and vociferous in their attempts to assuage their sullied honor. Afghanistan will not prove satisfying. Of course, there’s Iran.
    If this continues, which it probably will, the neo conmen will have thoroughly discredited the use of military power as a transformative instrument. Then maybe the military will return to its proper role–defense. And then, as the Colonel says, “the United States must look to its economy, and not continue to pursue foreign adventure.”

  8. WP says:

    “And then, as the Colonel says, ‘the United States must look to its economy, and not continue to pursue foreign adventure.'”
    The problem is that with the hollowing out of US manufacturing, the wars ARE the US economy. Without the economic activity from the military and the industries that support it, the crash would be guaranteed. We are now substantially dependent of haveing wars.

  9. Bart says:

    “We are now substantially dependent of having wars.”
    Sounds like an empire in decline.

  10. mo says:

    “Leave the takfiri jihadis to the tender mercies of those who are good at dealing with people like them ”
    How many lives could have been spared on every side if that advice had been listened to so many years ago.
    If the US had, instead of expending the lives of its troops and the hundreds of thousands of civilians on a mission to fight an invisible enemy; to use the dead of September 11th to prosecute an invasion of a nation so that it would not come out from under sanctions and once again be a threat to Israel and so embolden and add thousands of recruits to the “enemy”; If, instead of all that, it had said to the Saudis, and the Pakistanis, and maybe even Iran, enough of turning the blind eye, here is what is on offer if you take these guys out and here is what is threatened if you do not.
    How many Iraqi and Afghan children would be playing on the streets instead of lying in scattered graves? How many American children would be sitting on their father or mothers lap rather than visiting their grave?
    Saddam was evil. Osama is evil but it is time that it is said that Bush, Blair and Cheney match both of those in the ability to prosecute evil. It is only through the machinations of their ministries and diplomatic arm-twisting that their actions are given a veneer of legitimacy that acts as a smokescreen to their evil. But whichever way they twist it, they are evil men but their retribution will most likely not be in this life.
    As for Iraq, it is now ruled by the same template that rules over the rest of the Arab world. Corrupt, power hungry men; Small men who do not see that they stand on the threshold of their country’s history. All they see is the wealth that awaits them and all they can do is play the game well enough so that they can stay in power. Making their peoples lot better be damned.

  11. N. M. Salamon says:

    After 1945, the USA managed to turn war industries to peaceful purposes.
    Presntly the USA needs investment in:
    1., Alternate energy sources [falling behind China in installed solar and soon wind]. this is medium hi tech, well suited for sophisticated industry.
    2., Electric power grid [DC long distnace, needs exquisite transformers and safety switches – presently courtesy of Siemens from Germany] some hi tech, lot of grunt work.
    3., Public transport, for oil is running out [at low prices]. well placed military transopoprt/tank etc companies,do not forget to electrify long distance and uphillo/down hill train routes] This also involves adjusting road/rail/canal for different uses – cheapest tranpoort is water, then rail, then public/truck, then cars — lots of different business opportunities.
    4., Water works, to relieve pressure on drying-out center USA, and California – new appliences for less use, redesign of farming practices and new equipment, desalination plants [do need electric power], etc
    Source of REVENUE : cut in DoD 300 billion in equipment/manpower [do not need Pentagon etc so big, though need some reasoanble size DEFENSIVE MILITARY. Cancell Forward bases [800+ at approx 200 billion], cancell Iraq, Afganistan, Somalia, Honduras, Columbia, et al another $150 billion or so.
    If Congress does not go along with the above necessities for USA citizens, then throw them out next november [all Reps and 1/3 of Senators].
    Voila! you do not need the K-Street military industrial complex issue, gets rid of lots of USA CORRUPTION! Gets rid of President Eisenhower’s WARNING re future enemy,the MILITARY INDUSTIRIAL COMPLEX. Note that there was similar warnings from the Federal Papers, by other Presidents in the last two centuries.

  12. Jackie says:

    WP and Bart,
    Well, your thoughts have scared me! I hope we have enough folks in charge who realize this isn’t good. I think that’s why I hated NAFTA and all the others.

  13. Fred says:

    WP, the wars are off budget, meaning no revenue to pay for them either in Bush’s 8 years or Obama’s 8 months. It is an unsustainable activity.

  14. Jon T. says:

    ” The United States must look to its economy, and not continue to pursue foreign adventure. Leave the takfiri jihadis to the tender mercies of those who are good at dealing with people like them and look to the economy!!! ”
    Well said, Col. Lang. Bravo.
    p.s. Let us instill evaluative thinking in the populace to ask: who is writing and driving the media? What is their agenda? Let us learn to make independent decisions based on informed consent.

  15. CK says:

    Enduring Iraq bases are being dismantled? 14 bases will remain, staffed and manned. The okinawafication of Iraq.

  16. N. M. Salamon says:

    Interesting analysis of alleged nuclear ambition of IRan on the contraversial computer — reference to Scandia Nat. Lab analysis thereof:
    ENJOY – as you get educated

  17. Patrick Lang says:

    Just an opinion? pl

  18. Cieran says:

    N.M. Salamon:
    Interesting analysis of alleged nuclear ambition of IRan on the contraversial computer — reference to Scandia Nat. Lab analysis thereof:
    A minor quibble: It’s SANDIA, not Scandia.
    Scandia makes comforters. Sandia is the national engineering laboratory for the U.S.

  19. curious says:

    After 1945, the USA managed to turn war industries to peaceful purposes.
    Posted by: N. M. Salamon | 14 September 2009 at 08:02 PM
    Actually World War II spending amount never really stops in term of real dollar. The military spending stays at about $500b, approximately same amount as WWII. But in term of percentage of GDP the number slowly shrink. During WWII, $600B represent 3/4 of GDP. Today it’s about 2/100.
    In term of %GDP, the number may makes sense. But in nominal dollar, it’s enough amount to be in world war II each year since the war ends.
    Pentagon budget is a nation onto itself.
    (see figure 7)
    As a result US military spending dwarf any other nation in the world. Basically, US military spending is still the amount of WWII.

  20. Brett J says:

    Foreign Adventures…I’d be interested to hear the Col.’s take on the precision strike in Somalia –
    “The helicopters, with commandos firing .50-caliber machine guns and other automatic weapons, quickly disabled the trucks…Shabab leaders said that six foreign fighters, including Mr. Nabhan, were quickly killed, along with three Somali Shabab. The helicopters landed, and the commandos inspected the wreckage and carried away the bodies of Mr. Nabhan and the other fighters for identification, a senior American military official said. ” (from NYT article on it).

  21. Patrick Lang says:

    I think that was a good example of the kind of thing that we should be doing instead of tryinh to build new countries. pl

  22. N. M. Salamon says:

    Foreign adventures:
    extra-judicial killings could lead to other problems [9/11] anywhere in the world where there is USA intererst. Israel is the greatest practioner thereof, and see where that got them: psychotic nation as described by the Goldstone Commission, at leawst as far as the armed forces and the political leadership is concerned.
    There is also the small matter of international law: what a heck do USA armed forces doing in a sovereign nation? Act of War?

  23. Brett says:

    Agreed. riskier for US lives (than launching missiles from offshore), but certainly a precise and pinpointed- lengths seemingly gone to to (a) prevent civilian deaths and (b) confirm the casualty of Nabhan.
    “We are very upset, very upset,” said a Shabab official from the town of Merka, near where the raid happened. “This is a big loss for us.”

  24. N. M. Salamon says:

    Thanks for the info re 1945 and DoD budget. IMO that all the major war nations had similar budgetery ratios during WWII. It seems however, that most of those other nations came to their senses and devoted a larger part of their budget to the common good [e.g health care, free univ ed, state sponsored childcare, etc] rather than waste money on non-wealth creating war material. It is also notable that with exception of failing imperial powers, non of the others had wars of colonalism, where the USA followed the ex-colonial powers, phony wars, Grenada, Panama, Nicaragua [proxy] etc in Americas; Palestinians/Lebanese [proxy by Israel], Korea, Vietnam [war of choice], Somalia [war of choice and proxy, Ethiopia], Iraq, war of choice, Afganistan, war of choice.
    Notwithstnading this tremendous spending on war related issues, the USA has not won in any major undertaking [Korea, no peace treaty], Vietnam [Helicopter from Saigon], Iraq, about to be kicked out, Afganistan, the second Vietnam. Conversely, 40 million without health insurance, college expenses enough to break family budgets [and some creditors] baby sitting ok if you have moeny for nannies, etc.
    So pray tell what good did it do that you have this tremendous military budget of approx 1 trillion [incl wars, interest on war debt, Dept Energy for A bombs, Homeland Security – as a large part of the world hates your government; 16 spy agancies, expenses on forward bases etc].
    Did you ask your neighbor which they prefer: free university or bloated DoD? Wars of choice or affordable health insurance? I could go on, the answer would be same, but for neocons and the undereducated [almost illiterate] masses.
    A final Question: how long will you expect the rest of the world to underwrtie your war/DoD expenses?

  25. Patrick Lang says:

    Joe Biden went to Baghdad this week to pressure the Iraqis over the referendum. It will be interestig to see what that will result in. pl

  26. J says:

    Biden will get no traction, the Iraqis have already previously spoken — they want our U.S. ‘out’ of Iraq.

  27. Mark Stuart says:

    Leave the takfiri jihadis to the tender mercies of those who are good at dealing with people like them…
    Who did you have in mind Sir? mo is thinking about the Saudis, Pakistanis and Iranians. Do you concur with those or do you have a different take?

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