Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

March 4, 2009


Jeremy Scahill on Democracy Now - Let's be clear on three major problems with the Obama Iraq plan. First of all, this residual force that Obama is going to be implementing, right now the numbers they're discussing are 35,000 to 50,000 troops. . . The scope of the mission of these residual forces, while it sounds specific to some-phrases such as "counterterrorism" have become almost meaningless in the America we now live in when uttered by politicians. We see how they've been applied over the past eight years and, quite frankly, under the Clinton administration, as well. So I'm very concerned about the type of operations [of] this 35,000 to 50,000-if it actually gets down to that number under the timeline Obama has stated.

Secondly, Obama has refused to scrap this massive, monstrous US embassy that was built on basically slave labor, a $700 million embassy that's the size of Vatican City. . . The Obama administration is going to maintain a staff of over a thousand people there who are going to necessitate heavily armed security to go anywhere inside of the country. . . . Blackwater has been the company that primarily has been guarding US diplomats. Now it's probably going to be a different company, although many of the same operatives will probably jump over to that company. . . Even if Obama hires these people through the State Department officially and says there's some system of accountability, they're still going to be putting US lives at a premium over Iraqi lives.

The third problem that I have with the Obama Iraq plan is that it's full of loopholes. The Status of Forces Agreement, first of all, Article 27 allows the United States and the Iraqi government to agree that the United States can stay in the country, can engage in any kind of military operations and also can take action, including military action, to address any "threat," internal or external. Well, what's a threat? The wrong people win an election? We've seen that happen before. Look at the case of Hamas in Palestine.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I recall 35K was the same number of troops the Bushies said would be in Iraq by Christmas of 2003.

March 4, 2009 9:40 PM  
Anonymous wellbasically said...

The more dangerous thing to me is that the troops will be there depending on the Iraqis who are infiltrated. So they're more likely to experience a Beirut-size catastrophic attack. How will Obama recover from that, except by an escalated retaliation.

March 5, 2009 12:56 PM  

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