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An End to Endless War in Sight?
October 21, 2011 10:23 AM   Subscribe

Obama Announces Full Troop Withdrawal from Iraq by Year's End. Confirming reports that emerged last week that the US does not plan to maintain a residual troop presence in Iraq, the US will pull out of Iraq completely by the end of 2011, bringing to a close a bloody chapter in international history that first began in March 20, 2003. With other recent reports that the administration is considering a faster withdrawal from Afghanistan in the aftermath of Osama Bin Laden's death at the hands of US special forces in May of this year, an end to America's longest running military conflict also seems likely to come soon.
posted by saulgoodman (232 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Finally. Iraq and Afghanistan cost $159 billion this year.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:24 AM on October 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Such random timing.
posted by resurrexit at 10:24 AM on October 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


Okay. I'll admit I didn't see this one coming.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:25 AM on October 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


I will believe it when I see it. I am skeptical of all products until on retail shelves and all political promises until they make it out of their deliberative bodies...
posted by Xoder at 10:25 AM on October 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Can we use the savings to pay for healthcare? Or education? Or something, you know...useful?
posted by DU at 10:26 AM on October 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


Obama begins to realize it's time to start accomplishing a few campaign promises before the 2012 election season starts heating up...
posted by kaibutsu at 10:26 AM on October 21, 2011 [30 favorites]


Can we use the savings to pay for healthcare? Or education? Or something, you know...useful?

Yachts are useful.
posted by Dasein at 10:26 AM on October 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Can we use the savings to pay for healthcare? Or education? Or something, you know...useful?

Would you be willing to settle for tax breaks for the wealthy?
posted by entropicamericana at 10:26 AM on October 21, 2011 [45 favorites]


That's by the end of next year, not by year's end.
posted by w0mbat at 10:27 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can we use the savings to pay for healthcare?

That's like asking if I can afford a Ferrari if I switch to generic shampoo.
posted by spaltavian at 10:27 AM on October 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Surely, by this point in history, world leaders should know never ever to promise to have the troops home for the holidays. That's not just tempting fate; that's serving fate a goddamned subpoena.
posted by bicyclefish at 10:28 AM on October 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


That's by the end of next year, not by year's end.


No, the end of this year:

"So, today, I can report that as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year."
posted by spaltavian at 10:29 AM on October 21, 2011


This is such nonsense. Everyone who's anyone already knows that we already pulled out all combat troops from Iraq like a year ago! Is this some kind of Rip Van Winkle act?
posted by indubitable at 10:29 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is sure to make all the people demanding this happy and not just prompt a bunch of new complaining about how it isn;t done exactly the way they wanted it.
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on October 21, 2011 [33 favorites]


Interesting if this is true, but unfortunately this doesn't really do much to improve my opinion of Mr. Obama. Stop killing U.S. citizens without even the pretense of a trial and I may give him a second chance. As it stands I'm going to have to vote independent or republican.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:31 AM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Everyone who's anyone already knows that we already pulled out all combat troops from Iraq like a year ago!

Mission Accomplished, May 1st, 2003.
posted by kiltedtaco at 10:31 AM on October 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, leaving a whole bunch of military 'advisers' which has historically been code for 'ground forces that we don't want to admit are actually running the whole military show for the side of the civil war we support.' cf, vietnam.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:31 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Honestly, Artw, I'm just waiting to read the fine print to discover that the administration is once again lying to us with an unusual definition of "troops".
posted by indubitable at 10:31 AM on October 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm wary too. See Gitmo.
posted by hypersloth at 10:32 AM on October 21, 2011


by the end of 2012

2011, right?
posted by desjardins at 10:33 AM on October 21, 2011


On a more serious note, Obama has:

(1) Wound down the Iraq war in a way that has not pissed off the Iraqis (this annoucement is a result of internal Iraqi disagreement; the U.S. would have liked to stay longer, and it probably would have been in Iraq's best interests (to get their troops better-trained for internal security), but the Iraqi government couldn't get the support it needed. So while this was sort of forced on the U.S., it's still been well-handled by the U.S. administration, I would say.

(2) Re-focussed the Conflict Fomerly Known As The War On Terror on the terrorists themselves, rather than on states, with the result that al Qaeda is teetering on the brink and is more compromised in its ability to plan an execute operations than at any time in its history. Most notably, hooray for killing bin Laden.

(3) Used American military power to depose Gadhafi (with assistance), bringing to an end another brutal dictatorship, without engendering any backlash in the Arab world.

(4) Not given any indication that they're going to do something stupid like bomb Iran.

Seriously, seriously impressive, especially when you compare it to the expensive, bloody, reputation-destroying clusterfuck that was the Bush administration.
posted by Dasein at 10:34 AM on October 21, 2011 [164 favorites]


I'm wary too. See Gitmo.

Congress stopped that, Obama didn't welch. The President is not an Emperor, despite Bush's efforts.
posted by spaltavian at 10:35 AM on October 21, 2011 [34 favorites]


Can we use the savings to pay for healthcare?

That's like asking if I can afford a Ferrari if I switch to generic shampoo.


More like saying, "Since we're totally happy with deficit spending right now, let's keep spending, but we'll just spend on something else. Butter instead of guns."

Which I wouldn't be too upset about. After all, healthcare is nice ... mmm, butter.

But still, it's deficit spending. You either need new revenues or you make cuts elsewhere.

Again, not something to be too upset about...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:35 AM on October 21, 2011


Critical note: the "total" part of "total withdrawal" was not part of the U.S.'s plan. Iraq refused to give American troops immunity from local laws.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:38 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]




The US has a colossal embassy in Baghdad whose staff is reportedly slated to double as troops are pulled out. Many of those troops are simply being replaced by contractors.

This is rebranding, not withdraw - we are never leaving Iraq.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:38 AM on October 21, 2011 [24 favorites]


Thanks, ryanshepard, I pasted in that link before I meant to... yeah, I'm happy that troops are coming home, but we're not withdrawing, not by a longshot.
posted by dbiedny at 10:41 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Congress stopped that, Obama didn't welch. The President is not an Emperor, despite Bush's efforts.

This much I knew; maybe I'm misunderstanding his powers to remove troops then. In which case, hooray.
posted by hypersloth at 10:42 AM on October 21, 2011


This is rebranding, not withdraw - we are never leaving Iraq.

And how many countries does the US have a presence in? You know what, I'm going to start protesting about how we need to pull out of Cuba. The US has had a presence in Cuba for far too long! End the 113 years of Cuban oppression by the United States!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:43 AM on October 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


This much I knew; maybe I'm misunderstanding his powers to remove troops then.

He's commander-in-chief, so yes, he can do it. Congress can make hay over it, but he's covered his ass pretty well this time, leaving it up to the Iraqi congress to decide (as it should be). And god knows the popular support's there.

posted by saulgoodman at 10:44 AM on October 21, 2011


We take A and subtract 50000 and add 1500 do we have more or less than we had before? What is the percent of the amount lost is the amount gained ?
posted by Rubbstone at 10:47 AM on October 21, 2011


Just to be clear, I fully support and applaud Mr. Obama in this decision if it indeed does come to pass.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:50 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


End the 113 years of Cuban oppression by the United States!

For many reasons, I'm sure the Cuban people would agree.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:50 AM on October 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well, I am as disappointed in Obama's domestic policies and disgusted with the Congressional Democrat's total lack of organizational discipline and tactical prowess as the next liberal, but I ain't looking a gift horse in the mouth. This is good. More of this.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:50 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


voting Republican next year because Obama ended the war in Iraq is just pathetic.

Please show me where anybody said this. Thanks in advance.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:51 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


And how many countries does the US have a presence in? You know what, I'm going to start protesting about how we need to pull out of Cuba

Yes well as a matter of fact, Cuba wants us to leave. We pay them a few thousand dollars a year to use the land under a treaty we twisted their arm into 70 years ago

And then, the Baghdad Embassy will actually have more personnel than Guantanamo Bay Naval Base:
The number of personnel under the authority of the U.S. ambassador to Iraq will swell from 8,000 to about 16,000 as the troop presence is drawn down, a State Department official told The Huffington Post. "About 10 percent would be core programmatic staff, 10 percent management and aviation, 30 percent life support contractors -- and 50 percent security," he said.
Please let's not pretend this is just something countries do. Do the British have a fortified embassy the size of the Vatican in downtown Kuala Lumpur? No, because they actually left
posted by crayz at 10:52 AM on October 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Mods, can you correct the completely wrong year in this FPP? It's spreading disinformation. 2011 not 2012.
posted by w0mbat at 10:54 AM on October 21, 2011


And how many countries does the US have a presence in?

All of them, if you count embassies.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:54 AM on October 21, 2011


I for one will miss all the wacky times we had in that place.
posted by spitbull at 10:54 AM on October 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Obama begins to realize it's time to start accomplishing a few campaign promises before the 2012 election season starts heating up..

Yeah, other than stimulus, health care reform, financial regulatory reform, the repeal of DADT and sending more troops to Afghanistan, all things he promised and delivered.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:54 AM on October 21, 2011 [25 favorites]


Please show me where anybody said this. Thanks in advance.

I'm guessing the comment is referring to:

As it stands I'm going to have to vote independent or republican.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:55 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


All of them, if you count embassies.

What about Iran and N. Korea?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:55 AM on October 21, 2011


WHAT ABOUT THE MOON, WHICH OBAMA HAS SECRET PLANS TO DESTROY?
posted by Artw at 10:56 AM on October 21, 2011 [23 favorites]


Someone is wrong on the internet.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 10:56 AM on October 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Seriously, seriously impressive, especially when you compare it to the expensive, bloody, reputation-destroying clusterfuck that was the Bush administration.

Dasein, as someone who frequently disagrees with you I just wanted to say that you are so on point with that it's ridiculous. I have no problem with people being dissatisfied and disappointed with Obama for any number of reasons, but sometimes it seems like everyone already forgot what Republican governments look like. Thanks, wish I could favorite that a hundred times.
posted by Hoopo at 10:57 AM on October 21, 2011 [13 favorites]


Over lunch, someone mentioned a driving force behind the accelerated draw down was the threat of troops/U.S. citizens being held responsible individually for crimes against Iraqi citizens. Anyone aware of anything to back that up? I can't find anything, even on Al-Jazeera, but my Google-fu may be weak.
posted by Mooski at 10:57 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please let's not pretend this is just something countries do. Do the British have a fortified embassy the size of the Vatican in downtown Kuala Lumpur? No, because they actually left

Did you really jst pick the Brits? The same ones that have the Falklands or Gibraltar. The same Brits who can crash on Australia's SOFA for the the weekend if they find themselves around Asia?
posted by FJT at 10:57 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Artw: "WHAT ABOUT THE MOON, WHICH OBAMA HAS SECRET PLANS TO DESTROY?"

That's because there's Moonslims on there.
posted by symbioid at 11:00 AM on October 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Over lunch, someone mentioned a driving force behind the accelerated draw down was the threat of troops/U.S. citizens being held responsible individually for crimes against Iraqi citizens.

Iraq U.S. troop deal drifts over immunity [Reuters]
posted by ryanshepard at 11:00 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Obama begins to realize it's time to start accomplishing a few campaign promises before the 2012 election season starts heating up...

150 promises kept, 44 compromised, 51 broken, and 192 in the works.

posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:01 AM on October 21, 2011 [19 favorites]


everyone already forgot what Republican governments look like

And everyone is ignoring that each Republican government since Nixon has stood on the shoulders of shittiness of the previous administrations, too. That's a towering mountain of shit by now.

To quote a wise man: "It would be bad."
posted by tapesonthefloor at 11:01 AM on October 21, 2011


kaibutsu: “Obama begins to realize it's time to start accomplishing a few campaign promises before the 2012 election season starts heating up...”

For what it's worth, I'm a bit of an Obama skeptic, but it seems to me that he's doing this right. This is how politicians act; they do things for the glory of it, and largely to get re-elected. That's okay. One comes to realize that what matters isn't why politicians do things; it's what they do.

And this was done right. The whole President-ending-the-war-to-get-reelected thing has been done several times, with varying results. Nixon, by contrast, dragged Vietnam out unconscionably long, through the election season, so that he could claim that he had a "secret plan" to end the war and thereby wheedle reelection out of a cowed electorate. And he won, even though we had an inkling of what had happened at the Watergate hotel by then. That was doing it wrong.

Withdrawing troops, wrapping it up, and doing so cleanly before the campaign really heats up? That's the right way to do this.
posted by koeselitz at 11:01 AM on October 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


[bunch of commentes removed - Very seriously back this up and start being decent to other commenters (no personal callouts, no bingo HURFDURFERY) or we'll turn this thread around and you can whine in metatalk about why you don't get nice things. xo - jessamyn]
posted by jessamyn at 11:02 AM on October 21, 2011 [29 favorites]


Re: Separation of powers -

Technically speaking, this isn't Obama deciding to bring the troops home - it's Iraq telling them to get lost. Given the current legal state of affairs, where the armed forces are invited guests of the Iraqi government, if said government does revoke that invitation, then the troops have to leave unless Congress decides to give the Iraqis the finger with an authorization of force (or the President pulls a Libya and uses his power to start a short-term action, but he has no apparent desire to do that). And if that decision comes as a result of negotiations with the executive branch, well, that's how the cookie crumbles.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:03 AM on October 21, 2011


Yeah, other than stimulus, health care reform, financial regulatory reform

It's really awesome that he got such awesome effective laws passed. I mean a few people here and there are still upset about the 10% unemployment and 50 million people without healthcare and the TBTF banks that have been profiting and handing out bonuses like never before while the rest of us suck eggs, but you're totally right that Obama accomplished all those important things he said he would
posted by crayz at 11:04 AM on October 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I am not going to threadjack. AElfwine: I fail to understand what Ron Paul has to do with any of us, save for in a universe where he has a non-laughingstock chance of winning the Republican nomination, i.e., not in ours.

Just sick of the constant dismissiveness here. I have my own beefs with the President and (some) of his policies, but some folks are just downright incapable of recognizing when we have the seeds of something good going.

If you want progressive legislation, re-elect Obama and send him a Democratic-controlled House and Senate. Shift that window on the legislative side and empower him to enact the policies you think he has failed to deliver on. Peace.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:04 AM on October 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


Thanks, ryanshepard. At lunch, it'd been spun as:

Iraq: "We have some people we'd like to prosecute"

U.S.: "Well, we'll just get the hell out of there, then."
posted by Mooski at 11:05 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


AElfwine Evenstar: “Interesting if this is true, but unfortunately this doesn't really do much to improve my opinion of Mr. Obama. Stop killing U.S. citizens without even the pretense of a trial and I may give him a second chance. As it stands I'm going to have to vote independent or republican.”

Is this decision a good one? I think it is. Maybe that doesn't change your opinion of the presidency as a whole, but do you really claim that withdrawing from Iraq is the wrong thing to do right now?
posted by koeselitz at 11:06 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


(4) Not given any indication that they're going to do something stupid like bomb Iran.

So what if we pull out our troops by the end of 2011, and then February of next year, Iran invades Iraq? What would you recommend he do in that situation?
posted by Pastabagel at 11:07 AM on October 21, 2011


Shift that window on the legislative side and empower him to enact the policies you think he has failed to deliver on.

He had that going into office, remember?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:08 AM on October 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Pastabagel: “So what if we pull out our troops by the end of 2011, and then February of next year, Iran invades Iraq? What would you recommend he do in that situation?”

That's a tough question. I don't know what I'd recommend in that situation. Maybe Dasein has a better answer, though.
posted by koeselitz at 11:09 AM on October 21, 2011


This is rebranding, not withdraw - we are never leaving Iraq.

There's a huge difference between embassy staff and troops. Same thing with private contractors. Iraq's a country where there's money to be made. So naturally business is following.

But that's a far cry from putting troops in harm's way. At least people who work for an embassy or a private company can choose to work for the company or diplomatic corps and not be threatened with a court martial.
posted by inturnaround at 11:09 AM on October 21, 2011


Please, not this again. Please understand the procedural rules (esp. on the Senate side) before making these noises all over again. I am not going to revisit that, save to say that he found a way to push through all kinds of important progressive policies despite a GOP minority holding the Senate hostage pre-2010. Post-2010 has been nothing but straight up obstructionism, of course.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:09 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry, that was directed at Blazecock
posted by joe lisboa at 11:10 AM on October 21, 2011


but do you really claim that withdrawing from Iraq is the wrong thing to do right now?

No.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:11 AM on October 21, 2011


Stop killing U.S. citizens without even the pretense of a trial

In a very real sense I actually think I prefer it without a pretense at a fair trial. This way, we we could at least pass or enforce a simple rule that says "the president may not do this". With a fake show trial it would masquerade as justice and you wouldn't be able to do anything about it at all.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:11 AM on October 21, 2011


I mean a few people here and there are still upset about the 10% unemployment and 50 million people without healthcare

Bush left office with 7.8% unemployment, the economy in ruins, and no indication of any health care plan that I am aware of. The bonuses being handed out by the banks are in fact much like before. It's disappointing that Obama hasn't made everything better, but it's a tall order to expect him to undo everything that's been done in 4 years, and there's no reason to think any other candidates among the field of Republicans would do a better job of it.
posted by Hoopo at 11:12 AM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


He had that going into office, remember?

No, we didn't. 59 Democrats plus Lieberman is not a filibuster-proof majority, even if you assume that all Democratic Senators vote in absolute adherence with the will of the Presidency, which they don't and shouldn't.
posted by kafziel at 11:13 AM on October 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Oops--yes please correct 2011! Dammit, sorry!
posted by saulgoodman at 11:13 AM on October 21, 2011


It's really awesome that he got such awesome effective laws passed. I mean a few people here and there are still upset about the 10% unemployment and 50 million people without healthcare and the TBTF banks that have been profiting and handing out bonuses like never before while the rest of us suck eggs, but you're totally right that Obama accomplished all those important things he said he would

C'mon, you have to give him credit for passing legislation that was more or less originally proposed by Richard Nixon and rejected by Ted Kennedy for not being progressive enough.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:13 AM on October 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


health care reform

Psh, there was no health care reform. Health insurance reform, yes, but health insurance is neither necessary nor sufficient for health care.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:13 AM on October 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


AElfwine Evenstar: “No.”

Thanks. Danger of a fast-moving thread – the answer to my question is likely already posted before I put it up.
posted by koeselitz at 11:14 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Congress passes legislation, entropic. This is what I mean. There is a bigger picture and a host of players involved in federal governance. There are also realities on the ground that we cannot just wish (or, heh, hope) away.

I am sticking with the art of the possible. I encourage you to do the same instead of opting out or whatever.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:15 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oops--yes please correct 2011! Dammit, sorry!

Done, carry on.
posted by cortex at 11:17 AM on October 21, 2011


You know, the sad thing is, my niece has a husband over there (military, but in a position where he's not seeing combat), and when he comes home, I'm seriously worried as to how he'll get a job. It's not like vets are having a good time now.

Maybe we can use some of those war trillions to get some help for all those kids coming home to a wrecked economy.
posted by emjaybee at 11:23 AM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


No, we didn't. 59 Democrats plus Lieberman is not a filibuster-proof majority

It is utterly inexcusable for the Democrats to simply cede without argument on the principle that the Senate should primarily be a majoritarian decision making body. Procedural rules exist to help the institution run more smoothly - not to be abused and twisted for undemocratic ends. The Senate can and should change its own rules the same as they should close loopholes that have crept their way into federal law

The Democrats failure to do so is simply that - another of their failures
posted by crayz at 11:27 AM on October 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


My perspective is skewed, I guess, because one of my first professional roles when I first entered the IT sector was working on a project as a Business Process Analyst for the Florida Senate.

As part of that role, I had to analyze and document the entire state legislative process--literally following bills and shadowing the personnel involved through the entire process, and even sitting in the secretary's box once during session. After seeing the process that close up, first hand, I realized a lot of things I hadn't before about how politics actually work in practice, and how the power is actually distributed through the legislative process (in Florida's particular case, it's ultimately all in the hands of the majority, really).

Anyway, as clearly as you might see it how you do when you look at these events in Washington from a great distance and try to parse them out and make sense of them just as I and everyone else does, I can't help seeing it how I see it, from the point of view of those processes as I know they operate at one level of government.

So, if each of our relatively different perspectives and life experiences just make it effectively impossible to agree in good faith about some of this stuff, can't we at least just agree to be civil with each other an acknowledge the limits of our knowledge with some humility?

That said, I'm really sorry about dinging you back, entropicamericana, with that insulting bit that rightly got deleted upthread. It's just hard not to feel really deeply insulted when you imply that only someone paid to do so could possibly see things the way I do.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:28 AM on October 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


So what if we pull out our troops by the end of 2011, and then February of next year, Iran invades Iraq?

Iran gets its ass handed to it on a platter by Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, with NATO airsup.

Also, if you to the east of Iran, you will notice it borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan, where we just so happen to have an army waging an annoying guerrilla war. It's annoying, because they're actually equipped for a conventional pound-the-ground, beer and football, History Channel kind of war. The kind Iran would give us if they invaded anyone.

In short, Iran will do no such thing, so yeah, time to bring the kids home.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:28 AM on October 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Shift that window on the legislative side and empower him to enact the policies you think he has failed to deliver on.
He had that going into office, remember?
No, actually, I don't remember.

At the time that he entered office, the United States Senate had 55 Democrats, 2 independents who generally caucus with the Democrats, 41 Republicans, and 2 vacancies. Assuming full agreement from those 55 Democrats and 2 independents, this means that Democrats controlled slightly over 58% of the Senate. This is less than the 60% needed to break a filibuster, and the Republicans have effectively turned "breaking the filibuster" into a normal step needed in getting a bill passed into law.

Counting the independents, and assuming that the Senate Democratic caucus votes in lockstep, they had 60% control starting on July 7, 2009, by which time Republicans and their bring-a-gun-to-the-town-hall supporters had Congressional Democrats running scared.

This 60% control ended on August 25. They did not regain it again until September 25, and lost it again on February 4. They have not regained it since.
posted by Flunkie at 11:29 AM on October 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


CNN:A current Status of Force Agreement called for U.S. forces to leave Iraq by the end of 2011 but lengthy negotiations had given rise to the expectation that an American presence would continue beyond that date.

But the talks broke down over the prickly issue of legal immunity for U.S. troops in Iraq, a senior U.S. military official with direct knowledge of the discussions told CNN this month.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and other top brass have repeatedly said that any deal to keep U.S. troops in Iraq beyond the withdrawal deadline would require a guarantee of legal protection for American soldiers.

But the Iraqis refused to agree to that, opening up the prospect of Americans being tried in Iraqi courts and subjected to Iraqi punishment.

The negotiations were strained following WikiLeaks' release of a diplomatic cable that alleged Iraqi civilians, including children, were killed in a 2006 raid by American troops rather than in an airstrike as initially reported by the U.S. military.


Thanks, Wikileaks!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:29 AM on October 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Who IS Iran popular with?
posted by josher71 at 11:29 AM on October 21, 2011


Congress passes legislation, entropic.

Yes, I know. I misspoke. He campaigned for it, he signed it, it bears his name informally. I know it's hard, but please try argue in good faith.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:31 AM on October 21, 2011


No, we didn't. 59 Democrats plus Lieberman is not a filibuster-proof majority

I don't know what to tell you because you won't listen anyway, but the Democrats ceded their majority power in the executive and legislative branches to the Republicans, despite having popular support for a number of policies that the Democrats caved in on time after time. Play all the word games you like, but in 2007 the public voted to give the Democrat Party control of the legislative and executive branches, and the Democrats failed to exercise the power they were given.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:32 AM on October 21, 2011 [12 favorites]


This is less than the 60% needed to break a filibuster, and the Republicans have effectively turned "breaking the filibuster" into a normal step needed in getting a bill passed into law.

Weapon of mass procedural destruction
posted by crayz at 11:32 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Moving away from Let's Talk About How Obama Fails derail, and onto the subject of Iraq, I have to say I'm alright with us having an embassy there. This is hardly on the level of a "troop presence", unless you count the security that's going to have to be in place around that building.

Personally, with everything we've put those people through, I'd like to see us go further than just bailing. Pay some reparations, rebuild some of the holy places that were looted, build some schools and hospitals gratis. We've been there a really, really long time and traumatised those people deeply. I think withdrawal isn't going far enough.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:34 AM on October 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


Seriously, seriously impressive, especially when you compare it to the expensive, bloody, reputation-destroying clusterfuck that was the Bush administration.
“For Barack Obama and his national security team, the simultaneous fall of Sirte and the death of Muammar al-Qaddafi provide an important punctuation mark in their successful initiative to support Libyan rebels and bring an end to an odious dictatorship.

The political benefits that accrue to the president at home will be modest. Domestic issues command the attention of American voters. What's more, the president's Republican opponents don't want to talk foreign-policy very much. And with good reason. The president's record is for the most part too good to take issue with.

The president came into office promising to get the United States out of a disliked war in Iraq and has kept the promise. He came in promising to shift the focus to Afghanistan and finishing the business of decapitating al Qaeda. He did both. Bin Laden is dead. And we are committed to coming home from Afghanistan, too. While the administration's response to the first stirrings of rebellion in the Middle East -- in Iran -- was muddled and late, the overall approach has been constructive and the Libya chapter will stand out as a gamble that worked. Restoring relations with our European allies, engineering the ‘pivot’ in priorities to Asia cited by Secretary of State Clinton, and the recognition of the growing importance of dealing with emerging powers are all additional positive developments that are a credit to the president and his team.

But more important than any political benefits that accrue to the president as a result of this successful outcome to the Libya effort is that it brings into focus an important shift in U.S. national security strategy, a doctrine that stands alongside Clinton's ‘pivot’ as one of the signature contributions of Obama and his security policymakers. Indeed, although I am reluctant to throw around the term ‘doctrine’ because it has become devalued through overuse, I believe it puts into focus what can and should be identified as the Obama Doctrine.

… The Obama Doctrine, while also grounded in the idea that we must exhaust every other means of advancing our national interest, is responding to the lessons of a different unpopular war, in this case, Iraq. It is a reaction against the use of ‘overwhelming force’ to achieve rather narrow (not to mention dubious) goals. It is an antidote to ‘shock and awe,’ ‘three trillion dollar wars’ and unilateral conventional invasions if they can possibly be avoided.

Whereas the Bush administration engaged in an open checkbook approach to a global ‘war on terror’ (a perversion of the Powell doctrine that was especially uncomfortable for Powell himself to watch unfold), Obama's approach -- in fighting terror, getting Bin Laden, assisting with the ouster of Qaddafi, and elsewhere -- has been not only to cast aside the term ‘war on terror’ but also the strategies and tactics of massive ground war.”*
posted by ericb at 11:37 AM on October 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


Those are all things congress had to do, though Blazecock and crayz. The president can't dictate to Harry Reid that he has to waive procedural rules or employ the so-called nuclear option. And Reid has little incentive to give up his prerogatives to the president because he might need a bargaining chip the next time he's on the opposite side of a negotiation with him. Everyone in the process uses leverage to try to muscle each other. That's how they do it. No one gives up anything for free.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:37 AM on October 21, 2011


This is less than the 60% needed to break a filibuster, and the Republicans have effectively turned "breaking the filibuster" into a normal step needed in getting a bill passed into law.
Weapon of mass procedural destruction
I'm not really sure what this has to do with anything, in the context of the discussion.

The point I was disagreeing with was the claim that Obama, upon entering office, had the Congressional support to do what he wanted.

Obama does not have the authority to tell the United States Senate to enact this "nuclear option". That's up to the Senate, and the Senate alone.
posted by Flunkie at 11:38 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think withdrawal isn't going far enough.

This is about right. If we kill a hundred thousand innocent civilians, the Iraqi people should get something in return, at least more than the opportunity to be a photo-op for someone running for re-election.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:39 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's disappointing that Obama hasn't made everything better, but it's a tall order to expect him to undo everything that's been done in 4 years

Especially when facing a Republican opposition willing to abuse the filibuster to stop anything they don't like, and who, if Obama said the sky was blue, would call him a racist socalist for denying the individuality and entrepreneurial initiative of white clouds.
posted by Dasein at 11:41 AM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you want progressive legislation, re-elect Obama and send him a Democratic-controlled House and Senate. Shift that window on the legislative side and empower him to enact the policies you think he has failed to deliver on. Peace.

How many Senators do we need for progressive legislation? 70?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:42 AM on October 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


The president can't dictate to Harry Reid that he has to waive procedural rules or employ the so-called nuclear option.

Of course not, but then the Democrat Party and its paid and unpaid supporters shouldn't get all indignant when we wonder what the hell happened to the majority we created with our votes. The representatives we elected needed to take some responsibility for the power they were given, and they failed miserably and had their power rightfully taken away in 2010. Giving the Democrats a second chance, when they will inevitably fritter away that opportunity, makes little sense.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:45 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can we use the savings to pay for healthcare? Or education? Or something, you know...useful?

But then how will we bail out the newly struggling military contractors?
posted by coolguymichael at 11:45 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


How many Senators do we need for progressive legislation? 70?

Pretty much, assuming there aren't too many Blue Dogs in there.
posted by fatbird at 11:45 AM on October 21, 2011


Who IS Iran popular with?

Well, Hezbollah and Gaza, for starters. Gulf State Shi'ites, as well as some in Afghanistan and Pakistan. North Korea. Sometimes Russia and/or China, though they are both careful to keep things at arm's length (to them, Iran is a fulcrum to use against the West). And Iran cultivates relationships with temporary members of the Security Council, such as Brazil and Turkey.
posted by dhartung at 11:47 AM on October 21, 2011


Personally, with everything we've put those people through, I'd like to see us go further than just bailing. Pay some reparations, rebuild some of the holy places that were looted, build some schools and hospitals gratis. We've been there a really, really long time and traumatised those people deeply. I think withdrawal isn't going far enough.

The most we can do, if the Iraqis don't want an American presence in their country beyond our diplomatic corps is send them aid money. Ironically, a lot of folks I know who probably consider themselves on the Left (and of course, the Ron Paul followers on the Right) have been calling for the elimination of all US foreign aid money because they don't want US aid to go to funding repressive regimes like Mubarak's anymore, don't trust that it can be delivered to the right places, and think it would be better spent at home. So that might be a harder sell than one would hope in the current political climate.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:47 AM on October 21, 2011


Pretty much, assuming there aren't too many Blue Dogs in there

Luckily, the Blue Dog coalition is shrinking...
posted by saulgoodman at 11:49 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mais où sont les warblogs d'antan?

Once upon a time, opinions here were divided upon the topic of the invasion, with some people willing to prognosticate along the lines of
...I figure, Iran's next, the mullahs are ripe for a fall. Egypt's probably next after that. Jordan, Syria will see the writing on the wall and start behaving like grownups; saudi arabia will renew their support for the US, as will Kuwait, allowing time for whoever is in charge to sort out the Israel-Palestine thing - Bush Jr and Co. might very well be handing Kerry the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 or so. Both will be grateful to the US for solving their problems. And thus, we end up with a defanged, reasonably democratic middle east which retains Islam in a more peaceful, more secular form and reduces the ability of terrorists to acquire succor and support.
Times have changed. Hard to think of anyone who would support the concept that the invasion was a good idea now.
posted by y2karl at 11:50 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


But still, it's deficit spending. You either need new revenues or you make cuts elsewhere.

You make the cutbacks in the future when the economy is strong. Budget deficits in bad times, budget surpluses in good times. It's difficult for politicians to work up the will to make those cutbacks after the economy recovers, but it's possible if the government has a bit of foresight (Canada in the late 1990s). Admittedly, Keynes doesn't work if the government goes on a spending spree when times are good (like the US in the 2000s).

Can we use the savings to pay for healthcare?
That's like asking if I can afford a Ferrari if I switch to generic shampoo.


It's like asking if I can better afford repairs to my Ferrari if I stop deliberately smashing it straight into lampposts. There have been a lot of wounded soldiers coming home, and even more cases of PTSD.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:51 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


"About 10 percent would be core programmatic staff, 10 percent management and aviation, 30 percent life support contractors -- and 50 percent security

16K people, 50% security, plus some percentage Aviation. So, roughly 8500.

That's basically two brigades. Half a listed division (though divisional HQs are assigned brigades from anywhere now.) I'm willing to grant that leaving 30 or so Marines at the embassy is reasonable, but 8500 'security' forces?

Sorry, this is not "withdrawing all troops" by any means.

And, of course, most of the troops that are actually leaving will just end up in Afghanistan.
posted by eriko at 11:51 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


The most we can do, if the Iraqis don't want an American presence in their country beyond our diplomatic corps is send them aid money.

A few years back, I was with some friends and we happened to stop by some fast food joint on our way to somewhere else. One of my friends didn't have any cash on him, and one of the guys with us offered to buy him what he wanted. My friend politely declined, and ate half my fries while we were sitting at the table.

I asked him why he didn't accept the offer, and he leaned in and said "Man, you don't ever want to owe that guy a favor."

I get the feeling that accepting U.S. aid is the same sort of thing, ya know?
posted by Mooski at 11:52 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Everyone in the process uses leverage to try to muscle each other. That's how they do it. No one gives up anything for free.

Right and everyone wins except the country. I don't disagree with what you're saying, I disagree with the idea that individuals bear any sort of allegiance to this corrupted system, that instead of publicizing and criticizing and working to change this state of affairs they should instead just pick which team's jersey they want to wear and then always, always root for their team
posted by crayz at 11:52 AM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


We have to have deficit spending. It keeps our banking system going. Zero debt = no treasury bonds. No treasury bonds means banks can't pay interest and retirement systems are dependent on higher risk investments. This formerly secret report created during the Clinton White House makes it perfectly clear: Modern Capitalism depends on the US government maintaining at least some amount of debt. The Washington establishment was terrified that we would soon pay off the entire US debt (it was projected to be paid off by 2012). In a certain sense, one could almost be forgiven for imagining the entire financial collapse and subsequent bailouts were a plot to prop up the US banking system and preserve capitalism as we know it, at the expense of taxpayers (who are paying the price now with a gutted economy and years of debt interest to pay off). The more demand there is for low-risk, low-yield investment, the more debt the US basically has to take on to balance the books with T-Bills.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:59 AM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Obama Doctrine prioritizes the use of intelligence, unmanned aircraft, special forces, and the leverage of teaming with others to achieve very narrowly defined but critical goals. That word leverage is the key. It is about using technological superiority, effective intelligence, surprise, and smart collaboration to make the most of limited resources and do so in a way that minimizes risks to both personnel and to America's international standing and our bank account.

ericb's link is interesting, but there seems little evidence that the Obama administration will be pulling out of Afghanistan any time soon. If anything, Clinton's very recent saber-rattling in Pakistan's direction is not a good sign. An open question is: Can the United States keep borrowing money to pay for these wars and a new war with Pakistan? Are we pulling out of Iraq for closure, or because we simply don't have the materiel and cash to fight a three-front war, or because election season is coming, or some mix of the three?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:59 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't believe that this hasn't been said already: Obama is doing this because he knows that his time is up. He's not getting a second term. He knows that.

He's doing this now because he's in Legacy Mode. He wants to go down in History as The First Black President Who Passed Healthcare Reform and Brought The Troops Home and who served one term. He's trying to make the good outshine the bad.

The problem is that Healthcare reform is basically about to be torpedoed by either the USSC or a Republican-dominated government in 2012 and even if we bring the troops home today we are just a single terrorist attack away from another 10-year long occupation somewhere else.

Obama, in my mind, will be remembered as the President who brought a band-aid to fix the cancer patient. That is all.
posted by Avenger at 12:01 PM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


always root for their team

I'm not rooting for a team. I'm defending Obama, personally. Most of the Democratic establishment (of which he really wasn't a part until he began his state legislative career) can hang itself for all I care.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:01 PM on October 21, 2011


this is not "withdrawing all troops" by any means

It's easy to fool people. Especially when they want to be fooled.
posted by Trurl at 12:02 PM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Obama, in my mind, will be remembered as the President who brought a band-aid to fix the cancer patient. That is all.

See, that's what I think we did. If we wanted things to change so damn badly, why weren't we there in large numbers showing support when the Tea Party was out protesting everything Obama proposed with rifles slung over their shoulders?

His party obviously never had his back. That was clear way back when congressional Dems voted to defund the closure of Gitmo. Typically in such cases, there'd be populist support. But we didn't even start doing that until Wisconsin, when most of the horses had already left the barn.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:07 PM on October 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


It's easy to fool people. Especially when they want to be fooled.

I'll say.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:07 PM on October 21, 2011


He's not getting a second term.

Really?
posted by arveale at 12:09 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


See, that's what I think we did. If we wanted things to change so damn badly, why weren't we there in large numbers showing support when the Tea Party was out protesting everything Obama proposed with rifles slung over their shoulders?

Because it doesn't matter without 70 Senators.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:16 PM on October 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


I just want to take this occasion to say thank you to Poland.
posted by spitbull at 12:18 PM on October 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


"the Democrat Party"

wut
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:19 PM on October 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


I just want to take this occasion to say thank you to Poland.

Almost forgot them.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:25 PM on October 21, 2011


Because it doesn't matter without 70 Senators.

That's how you get 70 senators. Make them squirm. Look at what OWS has done already: Cantor of all people is now scheduling speeches to talk about Income Inequality. Populist engagement was always meant to be a necessary feature of our system from the start. Without it, there's a missing piece, whether we personally have a taste for political activism or participating in nonviolent civil disobedience not.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:28 PM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know, I have no idea whether Obama will get a second term or not, and suspect it will largely depend on who the Republicans end up nominating. All of the practical reasons for hoping for him and not a Republican aside, though, I also hope he wins just because it would be so entertaining watching you guys desperately try to spin it into a moral defeat.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 12:31 PM on October 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Look at what OWS has done already: Cantor of all people is now scheduling speeches to talk about Income Inequality.

And cancelling said speech, as well.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 12:34 PM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's how you get 70 senators.

The Tea Party didn't even get to 60.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:36 PM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Tea Party didn't even get to 60.

Bronze is the new gold.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:44 PM on October 21, 2011


But the Republic Party recaptured the house.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:47 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


"About 10 percent would be core programmatic staff, 10 percent management and aviation, 30 percent life support contractors -- and 50 percent security["]

16K people, 50% security, plus some percentage Aviation. So, roughly 8500.

That's basically two brigades. Half a listed division (though divisional HQs are assigned brigades from anywhere now.) I'm willing to grant that leaving 30 or so Marines at the embassy is reasonable, but 8500 'security' forces?

Sorry, this is not "withdrawing all troops" by any means.


Unless you favor withdrawing U.S. diplomatic and aid personnel as well, you'll need those 8k troops.

Baghdad is not near the ocean, or the border of a friendly country, which makes evacuation difficult. They'll need to be able to hold out for a while if attacked. You can't defend an embassy large enough to house 5,600 people with 30 marines.
posted by Jahaza at 12:47 PM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


eriko: We've still got 80,500 troops in Gerrmany, and you think there's something unusual about keeping 8500 troops (a number you just made up, based on some inferences, by the way) to guard our diplomats in Iraq?
posted by saulgoodman at 12:55 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah ha--the actual numbers being reported, eriko, are around 5,000 security forces left to guard the embassy. And they'll be private security contractors, not US troops.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:00 PM on October 21, 2011


Jesus Christ, can the anti-Obama brigade stop to acknowledge for 30 seconds something positive the man's administration has done without moving the goalposts? We want out of Iraq, so Obama campaigns on it, makes it happen, and now we're upset that we're keeping a big embassy there? In the country we just occupied for 8 years? It's amazing to me how many people on the left seem to enjoy thinking this presidency has been a failure.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 1:12 PM on October 21, 2011 [21 favorites]


The narrative of self righteous failure is a sexy and compelling one, and means never having to deal with any messy real world stuff.
posted by Artw at 1:16 PM on October 21, 2011 [14 favorites]


As if certain folks would not be defending to the death the decision to stay if negotiations with the Iraqi government hadn't broken down.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:19 PM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'd like to see us go further than just bailing. Pay some reparations, rebuild some of the holy places that were looted, build some schools and hospitals gratis.

That's the majority of what's been going on for the latter half of the occupation (and was going on to lesser degrees in the former half as well). Look up "Money as a Weapon System."
posted by Etrigan at 1:24 PM on October 21, 2011


I wonder how the whole "Obama is actually trying to keep DADT" narrative is going, I bet there are still folks out there banging that drum.
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


The use of the term "end" is a lie.

The use of the term "full" is a lie.

The use of the term "total" is a lie.

In the video (and you must ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS parse the original rather than rely on "news," expert, pundit analysis or the headline of a MeFi post), the president says: "the rest of our troops in Iraq." "Rest" does not equal all. It does not equal total. It does not equal full. When the president says "rest," the rest of what? The implication is the rest of ALL the troops, but that's not the reality. The administration knows that's how people with a weak grasp of the language (most Americans) will interpret it. But he means the rest of the troops earmarked for withdrawal.

Most Americans know full well we still maintain troops in Japan, Germany, and South Korea, but there's this cognitive disconnect where we don't consider them occupiers. We play this semantic game where they are now considered partners, advisors. The actual troops remain, but what takes place is a taxonomic reclassification in the minds of the populace. Obama talks about "training and assistance" in the "difficult days ahead."

The troops stay. But now they are trainers.

The US has spent years and billions building a network of permanent bases in Iraq and Afghanistan that will remain for fifty years, one hundred years. Understand this... the US has *NEVER* left a nation it has entered unless it has been expelled by force.

We are not leaving Iraq. This is a fallacy. Obama is lying as have all of his predecessors in similar circumstances. This is identical to Bush's Mission Accomplished.
posted by Lon Mem at 1:25 PM on October 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


As if certain folks would not be defending to the death the decision to stay if negotiations with the Iraqi government hadn't broken down.

Assuming this is true, so what? This is a thing that many people wanted to happen for a long time and it is happening. When processes that are outside the administration's control contribute to negative outcomes (e.g. Republican filibusters lead to weak health care legislation), the response is to lump blame on Obama regardless. When processes that are outside the administration's control contribute to positive outcomes (e.g. Iraq not granting U.S. troops immunity to prosecution leads to U.S. withdrawal), the response is to withhold credit from Obama. It is always true that a president gets stuck with responsibility for things he can't control, but it is increasingly apparent that there is a contingent on the left that is emotionally invested in this narrative of Obama failure and will mete out blame and credit accordingly.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 1:29 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Other side of the same coin: Obama is putting the American military presence in Iraq on a level with its presence in Germany, Japan and South Korea, none of which can be described as occupied by the U.S. military in the way 2004 Iraq, 1948 West Germany or 1950s Japan were, by any sane definition of the term.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:31 PM on October 21, 2011


Sure would have been nice if he'd gotten us out sooner, but I'll take what I can get.

If he actually does it I'll be happy. But I'm saving my celebration for when it's actually accomplished. The transition from candidate Obama to president Obama has taught me to never, ever, celebrate or be happy about anything Obama says until it's actually done.

Plus, of course, there's the minor detail of the giant overpaid mercenary army that's replacing the regular US army as the occupation forces in Iraq and apparently going to double in size. That kind of mutes my celebratory mood.

@Jahaza If it takes a force of over 8,000 overpaid mercenaries to defend the embassy, I think we'd be better off without the embassy.

@saulgoodman There you go again with the House magically being the only important thing. We had the house from 2008 to 2010, fat lot of good it did us, and back then when we complained people such as yourself told us that it was the Senate that was hyper important and until we had 70+ votes in the Senate wanting to get anything positive accomplished was merely childish and magical thinking of the worst sort.

Apparently whichever branch of Congress the Republicans hold, and for the Republicans 40 counts as a majority in the Senate [1], is the most important branch of all time and it's foolish to think anything can be accomplished.

Near as I can tell your message is that we should just get used to never winning because no matter what happens, no matter how many votes we give the Democrats, no matter how crushing and sweeping the defeat of the Republicans, it's never good enough. I don't know what you think would be enough Democratic power that complaints about not getting things done would be justified. Near as I can tell your position is that as long as one single Republican remains elected anywhere then demanding action from the Democrats is foolhardy.

To me that sounds like making excuses for failure. We handed the Democrats the entire government, all three elected branches, on a silver platter. And we got a few curmbs and a lot of lectures about why we shouldn't be outraged at how little results were achieved. Perhaps to you that looks about right, but to most of us it looks very wrong indeed.

IIRC a few days ago you said that when someone was outraged you shouldn't tell them not to be outraged, but rather sit and figure out why they are outraged.

[1] Of course, if the Republicans ever get 51 votes in the Senate then suddenly the Senate is democratic and it only takes 51 votes to get something passed. Amazing how the rules change.
posted by sotonohito at 1:32 PM on October 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


BTW, the stealth war no one is paying attention to that will ultimately be laid to Obama's legacy? The American troops fighting in East Africa. In the Ogaden. In and around the CAR. Control of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda. So-called South Sudan.

The troop "drawdown" (the so-called "total" withdrawal of the "rest") in the Middle East is really just a troop transfer to East Africa. Bush did his part for the oligarchy in the Middle East. Obama is brought in to handle East Africa. They play for the same team.

The United States of Three-card Monte.
posted by Lon Mem at 1:33 PM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sorry, too little too late.

Healthcare: No
End the wars in Iraq and Afganistan: No
campaign Fianace reform: No
End DADT: No
100% Emnployment: No
Legalize Marijuana: No
End the fed: No
Return to gold standard: No
Make corporations Illegal:No
Redistribute Weath to the proletariat: No
Colonize Mars: No
Bring back Arrested Development: Yes

It is pretty clear Obama is more isterested in keeping Fox afloat than keeping his promises.

It is time we taugh the dems a lesson, vote Cain/Palin 2012
posted by Ad hominem at 1:36 PM on October 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


The troop "drawdown" (the so-called "total" withdrawal of the "rest") in the Middle East is really just a troop transfer to East Africa.

I'm not particularly in favor of the recently announced military intervention there, but the numbers are in no way comparable.
posted by Jahaza at 1:38 PM on October 21, 2011


As if certain folks would not be defending to the death the decision to stay if negotiations with the Iraqi government hadn't broken down.

Assuming this is true, so what? This is a thing that many people wanted to happen for a long time and it is happening. When processes that are outside the administration's control contribute to negative outcomes (e.g. Republican filibusters lead to weak health care legislation)


Many people involved don't necessarily criticize or credit the ultimate results but rate the performance of the President. Some folks lazily refuse to understand the distinction, for example one can criticize Obama for not making a strong enough case for the public option. He could have made that case and still ultimately failed to pass it and still gained some praise for the stand.

In Iraq we know that his decision was to stay, so his performance was flawed even with the correct result. There are both pro and anti Obama folks who can recognize this, and it's a mistake to assume taking a pro or anti position does not have a nuanced point of view behind it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:38 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of course, if the Republicans ever get 51 votes in the Senate then suddenly the Senate is democratic and it only takes 51 votes to get something passed. Amazing how the rules change.

Huh? Remember the debate over the nuclear option on Bush's judicial appointments? I sure do. That was because the GOP had a Senate majority and couldn't move their judges.
posted by Jahaza at 1:39 PM on October 21, 2011


>> by any sane definition of the term.

Sane as defined in the minds of the occupiers.

The thousands in Germany and Japan who routinely, loudly protest the continuing occupation disagree with you, but that rarely, if ever, gets coverage in the American press. As the beneficiaries of American empire, we consider it sane to occupy, pacify, undermine, destabilize those nations. To subvert the will of their citizens. Assassinate troublemakers. Snatch and grab. Whatever it takes.

Sane.

America is the least sane nation on earth. By far.
posted by Lon Mem at 1:40 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which was an exception. The judicial nominations getting blocked was news because everything else they wanted went through. Since the Democrats won a majority, suddenly it's a Herculean effort to do anything without 60 votes. Amazing how the rules change.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:41 PM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]




Lon Mem: “Most Americans know full well we still maintain troops in Japan, Germany, and South Korea, but there's this cognitive disconnect where we don't consider them occupiers.”

Uh – do Japan, Germany, and South Korea consider us occupiers? Are we occupiers? Is it really a "cognitive disconnect" to believe that there is a difference between being there as a security force supporting a government with which we are allies, on the one hand – and actually applying direct force on the other?

Please note that our troops in Japan, Germany, and South Korea (not to mention Cuba) are there strictly under the laws of those countries, and must abide by those laws. The host countries have complete and total legal control over their presence. And if they tried for a moment to exert force of any kind on the populace of those countries, it would cause an international incident of vast proportions, not to mention sparking a very large amount of outrage amongst populaces that consider us friends and allies but do not accept or desire our authority over them.

Now, can you tell me again how we're occupying Japan, Germany, or South Korea in the same way that we've been occupying Iraq lo these many years?
posted by koeselitz at 1:41 PM on October 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


and I'm starting to think there might be some hostile outside parties playing a role in shaping this narrative, too, but then, I have my moments of paranoia, so I tend to take myself with a grain of salt on such matters...

Plus, of course, there's the minor detail of the giant overpaid mercenary army that's replacing the regular US army as the occupation forces in Iraq and apparently going to double in size.

No, there's really not that issue anymore. There won't be a giant mercenary army left behind either. According to the reported plans, there will be approximately 5,000 security guards left behind to guard the embassy. No mercenary army twice the size of the US army.

@saulgoodman There you go again with the House magically being the only important thing.

Wut--? I--oh forget it. I really ought to know better by now. But I've already covered this a million times in this very thread.

The thousands in Germany and Japan who routinely, loudly protest the continuing occupation disagree with you,

Lon Mem: My mom was German. My dad was one of those "occupying soldiers." So I think I know all about it, dude. You are in no way hitting any of your targets here, but a valiant effort.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:42 PM on October 21, 2011


>> but the numbers are in no way comparable.

Is that relevant?

The holocaust in Southeast Asia started with a handful of advisors.

It needs to reach the level of conflagration before it merits concern?
posted by Lon Mem at 1:43 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


>> The host countries have complete and total legal control over their presence.

False.
posted by Lon Mem at 1:44 PM on October 21, 2011


The thousands in Germany and Japan who routinely, loudly protest the continuing occupation disagree with you, but that rarely, if ever, gets coverage in the American press.

That's because thousands of people protesting something isn't inherently newsworthy when it's well known that it's going to have almost zero effect. When it is possible that it will e.g. with Okinawa, it does get U.S. press coverage.

As the beneficiaries of American empire, we consider it sane to occupy, pacify, undermine, destabilize those nations.

You think that the U.S. is destabilizing Germany and Japan?

To subvert the will of their citizens.

The majority will of the citizens of Japan is to have the U.S. troops stay according to this September 2011 poll. And that support is increasing.

Assassinate troublemakers.

Please name the most recent German and Japanese "troublemakers" assasinated in those countries by the U.S.

Lon Mem, you're coming on pretty strong...
posted by Jahaza at 1:46 PM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


America is the least sane nation on earth. By far.

Teehee, North Korea is gonna be SO pissed that they've lost the title.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 1:50 PM on October 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


You know, I grew up next to a US airbase, and people would make occasional noises about it, usually CND types concerned about the whole making-us-a-target-for-nuclear-destruction thing, but still I’m having a hard time drawing a line between that and OBAMA = HITLER.
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on October 21, 2011


Lon Mem: “America is the least sane nation on earth. By far.”

As an American who has been to a few other countries, let me say that I sure as shit wish that were true. We are not very sane in lots of ways, granted; but every nation has problems. Problems don't come with a particular flag or nationality. It would be really, really nice if they did – then, simply leaving would be an easy expedient.
posted by koeselitz at 1:52 PM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


90,000 Protest U.S. Base on Okinawa

Thousands of Japanese protest U.S. base plan

It would seem at least some Japanese people consider us occupiers.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:55 PM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


>> Lon Mem: My mom was German. My dad was one of those "occupying soldiers." So I think I know all about it, dude. You are in no way hitting any of your targets here, but a valiant effort.

Hitting all of my targets.

Dude.

I too have my connections to Germany, friends and family who live there, as well as my time living there. But I'm not going to list them because I don't think they give me special insight into the facts of the matter. Anecdotal evidence does not trump the bases, troops, infrastructure and demonstrable history of the occupation in Germany. Or Japan.

The fact of the American occupation continues and is irrefutable. The axis of the issue seems to be a semantic classification of whether a majority of Germans consider the occupation good or bad. And as with Iraq, we will (and do) spin the occupation as training, assistance, humanitarian aid, partnership and all of the other buzzwords which are endemic to American public relations in the maintenance of empire.
posted by Lon Mem at 1:56 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


>> Lon Mem, you're coming on pretty strong...

Candor.
posted by Lon Mem at 2:01 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the Germans didn't gain any benefit from US presence there in the cold war. Wut?
posted by spitbull at 2:04 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Although I do think the US should be out of both Germany and Japan. Win for everyone.
posted by spitbull at 2:06 PM on October 21, 2011


I'm just saying, your claim doesn't ring true for me. While you're no doubt right that there are some in Germany who view the US presence there with hostility, until fairly recently at least, the vast majority of Germans I personally encountered looked very favorably on the US. Anyway, this is just taking a weird turn, and I've got to get my son off to his first school dance now, so best of luck in your efforts to topple the evil empire! Just be sure not to squish any kids in the process.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:07 PM on October 21, 2011


The axis of the issue seems to be a semantic classification of whether a majority of Germans consider the occupation good or bad.

Or whether the continuing presence of military bases has a similar impact on the country to an American military governor who can outright veto the country's representative government. Whatever.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:08 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


US out of everywhere
posted by Ad hominem at 2:08 PM on October 21, 2011


Plus, of course, there's the minor detail of the giant overpaid mercenary army that's replacing the regular US army as the occupation forces in Iraq and apparently going to double in size.
This is potentially a misleading way of phrasing the facts (I'm not accusing you of being intentionally misleading).

"Double in size" refers to the fact that security contractors are going to go from 4,000 to 8,000 (or something like that).

Currently (well, at least as of less than a week ago), there are 41,000 US military personnel in Iraq.

So we're going from 45,000 soldiers and security contractors to 8,000 security contractors. And even that 45,000 is considerably down from what it had been (I forget, what, 160,000 or something?).

Again, I'm not accusing you of being intentionally misleading. Rather, it's just that I think that saying things like "giant army that's replacing the regular US army and going to double in size" may be interpreted in a way that's drastically different from reality, and so I want to make sure the actual facts are explicit.
posted by Flunkie at 2:11 PM on October 21, 2011


Or whether the continuing presence of military bases has a similar impact on the country to an American military governor who can outright veto the country's representative government.

I like to be as outraged as any liberal American but can you show me something regarding this claim and how it relates to Germany, specifically?
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 2:12 PM on October 21, 2011




@saulgoodman & Flunkie: I was speaking of doubling the size of the mercenary army in Iraq, not doubling the size of the total occupying force counting both mercenaries and regular soldiers. Thought that was clear from context, but obviously it wasn't.
posted by sotonohito at 2:19 PM on October 21, 2011


I like to be as outraged as any liberal American but can you show me something regarding this claim and how it relates to Germany, specifically?

I was thinking more of post-WWII Japan, where Douglas MacArthur essentially ran the country despite the existence of an elected legislature and executive officials. to argue that the occupation never meaningfully ended is to say that state of affairs, or something similar, persists today.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:23 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]




As I've already said, sotonohito, I'm aware of what you meant by "double in size". Nonetheless, the way you phrased it -- "giant army replacing the US army and doubling in size" or whatever -- could be drastically misinterpreted, which is why I responded.
posted by Flunkie at 2:24 PM on October 21, 2011


Anecdotal evidence does not trump the bases, troops, infrastructure and demonstrable history of the occupation in Germany. Or Japan.

The fact of the American occupation continues and is irrefutable. The axis of the issue seems to be a semantic classification of whether a majority of Germans consider the occupation good or bad.


It's not semantics. An occupation is "b : the holding and control of an area by a foreign military force".

You've maintained that the U.S. military presence in Japan continues and "subvert[s] the will of [its] citizens."

But this is demonstrably false. Yes, the U.S. military presence continues, but, as you've been shown and have not refuted, evidence that it continues with the permission of the Japanese government and the support of a majority of the Japanese populace.

When the government permits and the population supports the presence of foreign troops, it's not an occupation, because the control rests in the one who permits it.

Your "[c]andor" includes accusing the U.S. of carrying out assasinations of "troublemakers" in Germany and Japan in the present day. That's not candor, it's hyperventilation.
posted by Jahaza at 2:36 PM on October 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Lon Mem: “The axis of the issue seems to be a semantic classification of whether a majority of Germans consider the occupation good or bad.”

No, the axis of the issue seems to be that you define "occupation" as "the physical presence of troops," whereas most other people (like for instance Wikipedia) use the word "occupation" to indicate authority and direct control backed by military force.When the rest of us here use the word "occupation," we mean "an army entered and took control. I guess maybe you're making the implicit argument that having troops in a territory constitutes effective control. If so, fine; but if you make that argument, please do so in the full knowledge that many of us disagree with you.

If you invite me to your house to use the shooting range out back, and I happily come along and bring along my gun, I am not thereby a burglar who is holding you hostage. In the same way, military presence does not necessarily denote military conquest.
posted by koeselitz at 2:38 PM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, written by the United States, and Article 24 of the German constitution, also written by the United States, both relinquish sovereign control to "international institutions" in the affairs of belligerency, defense, war. Now, you might say "Well, that just means those nations cannot engage in warfare, and that's a very good thing, right?" Yes. Of course. But it also means if the nation exists in a state of perpetual threat or war, then sovereignty across the board is acceded.

As with our perpetual conflict in the War on Terror, the state of belligerency becomes an eternal condition, thus allowing all sovereignty to be controlled by international institutions, as designated and controlled by the US. See, the need to formalize the War on Terror had legal implications that extended to our entire empire. Not just so-called "hotspots."

That's why Japan and Germany, neither of whom are menaced by any external threats, still require the "protection" of the US. For some incomprehensible reason -- again "sane" only in the minds of the occupiers -- the US needs to store aircraft carriers in Okinawa to protect the Japanese from al-Qaeda suicide bombers. Not sure how that works, but don't ask too many questions. Similar protection is offered to fruit vendors, cobblers, and grocers by the Mafia.

This video program by the comedian Robert Newman is a particularly insightful and entertaining summary of the situation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQhhrzHKMhI

Lon Mem, are you saying the US is an organized criminal institution? Yes. That's what Lon Mem is saying. And not just me, friends.
posted by Lon Mem at 2:39 PM on October 21, 2011


You keep talking about why a continued military presence in Japan and Germany might be unjust. I may or may not agree with you; that's not the topic being discussed. The topic being discussed is whether those military presences constitute "occupation" that "subverts" the will of the citizens of those countries.
posted by koeselitz at 2:42 PM on October 21, 2011


Lon Mem: “Lon Mem, are you saying the US is an organized criminal institution? Yes. That's what Lon Mem is saying. And not just me, friends.”

You're right – it's not just you. Everybody here seems to agree with you on the substantial points. I'm having trouble figuring out what you're arguing against.
posted by koeselitz at 2:44 PM on October 21, 2011


I think we are going to leave Iraq and Afghanistan just like we left Japan and Germany: With perpetual military bases and a presence eternally. [Gotta keep tabs on the oil!]
posted by Renoroc at 2:49 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


And Iraq turns in to West Afghanistan.

Of the realistically possible exit strategies, I guess this one is one of the better ones. Not that we were ever going to be in a position to fix it, still really sad we broke it in the first place. I honestly hope that my low expectations are easily surpassed and Iraqi people get on with picking up the pieces without turning into an unpoliceable backwater fomenting radicalism and providing international terror sympathizers with succor.

I look at the Iraq of 2001 and the one ten years later and I alternate between wanting to dick punch Cheney et al over and over and crying about the devastation unleashed (in part) in my name.
posted by Fezboy! at 2:55 PM on October 21, 2011


I think we are going to leave Iraq and Afghanistan just like we left Japan and Germany: With perpetual military bases and a presence eternally.

That's explicitly what this announcement today rules out. No bases; no troops, except those guarding the embassy; not even troops left behind to train. Who knows about Afghanistan, but it would be nice if people's comments attempted to pay some heed to reality.
posted by Dasein at 2:59 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


WHOA COOL someone here can see the future and knows Obama won't get a second term!!!!! That's awesome!!!!!

What's the lotto numbers next week, please?
posted by lazaruslong at 3:02 PM on October 21, 2011


I think we are going to leave Iraq and Afghanistan just like we left Japan and Germany: With perpetual military bases and a presence eternally.

The present U.S. plan announced for Iraq does not include military bases comparable to those in Germany and Japan. There are more U.S. troops in Germany today (54k) than there are in Iraq (39k).

(Note that the number in the first link for Iraq is higher, but the number in Iraq has dropped substantially since the first link's data was compiled, while the number in Germany has not. Also, the "Iraq" number in the first link is for the theater and not just for Iraq itself.)
posted by Jahaza at 3:02 PM on October 21, 2011


This article on the Japanese opinion of the US occupation was posted just six hours ago.

>> "I know there's some resistance in Okinawa, but I think that the sooner we are able to build a better place for the Marines to operate, the sooner we will put some of this animosity behind us," Lt. Gen. Burton Field, commander of U.S. Forces Japan, said in a rare interview. "It would be in everybody's benefit to do it sooner rather than later."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204618704576644952727212970.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

But it's invisible to the American public because we have always been conditioned to regard the ongoing occupation as an alliance.

Of course, it's marginalized as "some" resistance and only localized to Okinawa, but Prime Minister Yukio Yatoyama resigned over that minor "row" in 2010.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/japan-prime-minister-yukio-hatoyama-resigns-us-okinawa/story?id=10805461

How often does a prime minister or president resign over a minor squabble involving a handful of dyspeptic locals?
posted by Lon Mem at 3:07 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, written by the United States, and Article 24 of the German constitution, also written by the United States, both relinquish sovereign control to "international institutions" in the affairs of belligerency, defense, war.

That doesn't appear to actually be true.

Here's Article 24 of the German Basic Law:
Article 24 [International organizations]
(1) The Federation may by a law transfer sovereign powers to international organizations.

(1a) Insofar as the Länder are competent to exercise state powers and to perform state functions, they may, with the consent of the Federal Government, transfer sovereign powers to transfrontier institutions in neighboring regions.

(2) With a view to maintaining peace, the Federation may enter into a system of mutual collective security; in doing so it shall consent to such limitations upon its sovereign powers as will bring about and secure a lasting peace in Europe and among the nations of the world.

(3) For the settlement of disputes between states, the Federation shall accede to agreements providing for general, comprehensive, and compulsory international arbitration.
posted by Jahaza at 3:08 PM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lon Mem, no one has disputed the fact that there is signifigant Japanese opposition to the continued military presence there. However, I have also provided evidence that a majority of Japanese favor the continued U.S. military presence. These two facts are not incompatible.
posted by Jahaza at 3:10 PM on October 21, 2011


Lon Mem: “This article on the Japanese opinion of the US occupation was posted just six hours ago.”

Okay, let's settle this now. This word – "occupation" – what does it mean to you?
posted by koeselitz at 3:13 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it is safe to say that if you're unhappy with the U.S.'s continued military presence in Germany and Japan, you will be unhappy with the level of military presence the U.S. will continue to have in Iraq. Does anyone doubt that? I don't think Obama himself would disagree with this statement. Still, most people would agree we are no longer at war with, or in, Germany or Japan, and the hope is that we will likewise no longer be at war with, or in, Iraq.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 3:14 PM on October 21, 2011


Katrina van den Heuvel || The Nation || June 13,2011: Around the Globe, US Military Bases Generate Resentment, Not Security.
posted by ericb at 3:15 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Empire of Bases -- "Before reading this article, try to answer this question: How many military bases does the United States have in other countries: a) 100; b) 300; c) 700; or d) 1,000."
posted by ericb at 3:16 PM on October 21, 2011


1,000+
posted by Lon Mem at 3:19 PM on October 21, 2011


And double, triple that number if you count TSCIFS, FOLs.

And I do.
posted by Lon Mem at 3:21 PM on October 21, 2011




the US needs to store aircraft carriers in Okinawa to protect the Japanese from al-Qaeda suicide bombers

Citation needed. Not that you'll ever find one.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 3:22 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


>> Okay, let's settle this now. This word – "occupation" – what does it mean to you?

My opinion on that is clear. It's entirely subjective. Means one thing to the occupiers and their apologists. Means something entirely different to the people being occupied.
posted by Lon Mem at 3:34 PM on October 21, 2011


My opinion on that is clear. It's entirely subjective. Means one thing to the occupiers and their apologists. Means something entirely different to the people being occupied.

Okay, and that's kind of impossible to nail down. And even more impossible since there's not always a clear separate between occupiers, apologists, and occupied.
posted by FJT at 3:39 PM on October 21, 2011


>> Citation needed. Not that you'll ever find one.

Because if it's not found on Google, it doesn't exist.
posted by Lon Mem at 3:41 PM on October 21, 2011


My opinion on that is clear. It's entirely subjective. Means one thing to the occupiers and their apologists. Means something entirely different to the people being occupied.

And what does it mean to true Scotsmen?
posted by Etrigan at 3:42 PM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lon Mem: “My opinion on that is clear. It's entirely subjective. Means one thing to the occupiers and their apologists. Means something entirely different to the people being occupied.”

If it's entirely subjective, why the hell are we arguing about it? Are you really saying that it means nothing objective at all? It seemed to me that you were saying it did mean something – as in, it means something like exerting a force over a society, or putting people at risk of attack, or at least putting them under our thumb or demonstrating that we could take over if we wanted or... something. I mean, I don't even think it's possible for something to be "entirely subjective." Even when you say "I'm happy," we can have a discussion about that, because we at least have ideas about what "happy" means, and if we disagree about the term we can say why. But here you are apparently saying that "occupation" apparently means nothing at all whatsoever." I don't really understand that.

From the way you're talking about it, it seems like this to me:

You see the US military presence in foreign nations as vastly unjust and egregious. You point to numerous occasions on which this has proved dangerous or fatal for the nations where that presence falls. You point to discontent among people that live there. You point to actual invasions which prove the US is willing and able to use its potential force. This, you feel, is unjust.

And so you polemically bestow it with the label "occupation," meaning by that label "this is unjust." When asked what "occupation" means, you're cagey, because the whole reason you used the word in the first place was because it sounds terrible to you, and you believe that the US military presence in foreign nations is terrible.

But this makes discussion very difficult, because it means that we're speaking polemically, not actually talking about the facts on the ground as we see them. There's nothing wrong with saying "this situation is unjust." The trouble starts when we begin to use code words for that injustice, code words like "occupation." There are a whole slew of these code words, and I think you must know about them and are doing this ironically – words like "freedom fighter" vs "terrorist," or "police action" vs "war." We all know these words mean the same thing depending on the perspective, in a certain sense. Both freedom fighters and terrorists are people who use military and often guerilla force to achieve goals that they believe in. As I say, I think you're aware of this ambiguity, and you're exploiting it polemically.

And that's where I have a problem with all of this. Exploiting this kind of ambiguity and re-labeling things merely to serve a political purpose is wrong specifically because it muddies the water, and because it is deceptive and manipulative. It is wrong when Time Magazine labels the Sandinistas "terrorists" merely because Time Magazine serves interests that would be happy to see them fail. And it's similarly wrong for you to call something "occupation," meaning little more than "a bad thing," simply as a manipulative way to call down condemnation on US military presences.

If the US military presence in foreign countries is wrong, say it's wrong, and more importantly say why you think it's wrong. When you start throwing around polemic devices as though they're cudgels, you only do your own argument damage. And those of us who agree with you that the US military presence in foreign nations is insanely overblown and ought to be brought down a good deal – me, for instance – will thank you for it, because by arguing the point clearly and concisely without resorting to manipulative bluster, you'll be making it easier for us to try to convince more people and hopefully create change.
posted by koeselitz at 3:55 PM on October 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


Fucking hell, how did those goalposts get way over there?
posted by Artw at 3:56 PM on October 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


However, I have also provided evidence that a majority of Japanese favor the continued U.S. military presence.

This was my experience from my time in Japan when it came up in conversation. Most people I spoke to didn't consider it negative in any sense other than the noise from jets (holy shit they were loud) and the occasional boorish behaviour from military personnel (holy shit they were rude).
posted by Hoopo at 4:27 PM on October 21, 2011


Because if it's not found on Google, it doesn't exist.

So in other words, you have not a single shred of evidence to back up your claim. Got it.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:19 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The same Brits who can crash on Australia's SOFA for the the weekend if they find themselves around Asia?

IT'S A COUCH FYI
posted by Ritchie at 5:43 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


(4) Not given any indication that they're going to do something stupid like bomb Iran.

So what if we pull out our troops by the end of 2011, and then February of next year, Iran invades Iraq? What would you recommend he do in that situation?
posted by Pastabagel at 2:07 PM on October 21 [+] [!]

Pastabagel: “So what if we pull out our troops by the end of 2011, and then February of next year, Iran invades Iraq? What would you recommend he do in that situation?”

That's a tough question. I don't know what I'd recommend in that situation. Maybe Dasein has a better answer, though.
posted by koeselitz at 2:09 PM on October 21 [+] [!]


Well, I hardly pretend to have an answer, but I would suggest a few things. First, invading Iraq would be a batshit insane thing for Iran to do. Iran is deeply hated by most Arab governments, certainly the Saudis, and if they tried to invade Iraq they'd have the neighbourhood getting involved in a serious regional catastrophe. Their interests are better-served by working with sympathetic Shia populations to ensure that no one threatens them. After all, the regime wants to survive, and starting wars in the Middle East is not a great way to ensure your survival.

Second, given how closely American intelligence is watching Iran these days, there is zero chance they could prep an invasion without it being detected well ahead of time, providing plenty of opportunity for deterrence, including the stationing of rapidly-deployable American forces in Iraq if necessary. This strategy of offshore balancing has payed dividends and kept the peace (relatively speaking) in the pre-George W. days.

Third, the U.S. ability to project power is not going anywhere. Iraq invaded Kuwait just fine; then they got their asses comprehensively kicked out. Iran might be able to invade Iraq and beat the Iraqi army at first. Then they'd have to deal with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and Jordan and Turkey throwing their arms open to welcome the American troops who would go to kick them out. In the meantime, while the world suffered through a depression brought on by $200-300/barrel oil, Iran's economy would have been totally cut off - no more oil exports, no more gasoline imports (Iran's refining capacity is antiquated and inadequate, and a few cruise missiles could make it much more so) - and its army slowly starved of the fuel they need to run their vehicles. Its air force would have been destroyed in short order, ditto its navy, leaving its ground forces vulnerable to counterattack by whatever was left of the Iraqi army, along with everyone else in the neighbourhood who hates Iran or worries about the Kurds gaining their independence (Turkey). You remember how bad it got for American troops in the Sunni triangle? Imagine how bad it'll be for the Iranians when all the Sunnis, who still know how to plant car bombs, are now planting armour-piercing shape charges provided by the CIA.

Look, the Iranians aren't crazy. There's nothing in Iraq they want. It was Saddam, the crazy motherfucker, who attacked them the first time. That was fucking stupid. Ahmadinejad is crazy like a fox. Evil, anti-Semitic, ruthless, anti-democratic, all these things; but he's not suicidal. And he's not the decision-maker; the Mullahs are. And they like their revolution just fine; starting a war that would bring about their annihilation is not on, and if I'm wrong, the U.S. (along with all the Arabs who will suddenly remember how much they love Uncle Sam) have the means to win it.
posted by Dasein at 8:20 PM on October 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


So what if we pull out our troops by the end of 2011, and then February of next year, Iran invades Iraq? What would you recommend he do in that situation?

Well, if I was George W. Bush, I'd recommend he invade Turkey.
posted by philip-random at 8:33 PM on October 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


An informative report on FOLs in Latin America.

http://www.tni.org/sites/www.tni.org/files/download/debate8.pdf

>> According to General René Vargas Pazzos, retired head of the Ecuador an Army, the FOL is only required to provide information about personnel staying for longer than seven days at the Manta base: “The North Americans can have as many troops as they want. Those who fall under the requirements of the reports cannot exceed 450, but there is no control over the others, who stay for fewer than seven days.”

And...

>> According to retired Ecuadoran Air Force officers, the capacity of the Manta runway and facilities would allow between 15,000 and 16,000 troops to pass through in a single week.

A FOL can have any number of troops. It's not classified as a base, nor are the personnel counted as troops. A FOL can be an entire hotel, or one room, or a space in a generic suburban strip mall, or a massive complex, or even a former base. It can exist for weeks or decades. We have FOLs in almost every nation on earth. There are invisibile FOLs all over the United States in generic industrial parks, shopping centers.

>> It is the US administrator, however, who directs FOL operations and the resulting information in situ. There are no mechanisms which would enable the host country or other observers to verify whether the use of the FOLs is truly limited to counter-drug operations.

No local oversight of the FOLs, no accountability to American civilian oversight. Most FOLs are run by "outsourced" organizations like the notorious DynCorp or Xe/Blackwater, to name but a few.

It's a semantic dodge of the many the US routinely employs. It can serve any purpose and be completely invisibile to civilian oversight. We routinely use them when US presidents and other officials face the cameras and blatantly lie that we have no troops in a particular country. Often we will "withdraw" from a country only to move to a different area just a few miles away with the exact same equipment, duties, personnel. We just change the classification. Same people. Same set-up. A "base" becomes a "FOL."

Disappears.

>> While FOLs have been set up in many parts of the world, most recently around Afghanistan and in the Gulf Region, the only available justification, until recently, for establishing these US-commanded airbases in Latin America had been the War on Drugs.

Huge FOL expansion in Central and East Africa. That's the South Sudan and Somali Pirates meme being pushed in the mainstream press. It's why Bush of all people late in his presidency was so intent on Darfur. The troops from Iraq are simply being transferred to East Africa. But it's all part of the same regional plan for American hegemony.

>> Though the host countries have insisted on the limited anti-drugs mission of the FOLs, the mission has gradually shifted to support what is now called a “unified campaign” against drugs and terrorism.

Shell game. A con.

The US occupation of Iraq may be "ending," but the continued occupation by DynCorp and other "partners" will continue.
posted by Lon Mem at 11:32 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


That report from 2003.

FOLs have become the new face of American empire in the eight years since.
posted by Lon Mem at 11:45 PM on October 21, 2011


"The representatives we elected needed to take some responsibility for the power they were given, and they failed miserably and had their power rightfully taken away in 2010. Giving the Democrats a second chance, when they will inevitably fritter away that opportunity, makes little sense."

???

"Rightfully"?

You know, it's weird, you say you're not a Republican, but every solution you offer comes back to voting for the Republicans to punish the Democrats for being too much like the Republicans.
posted by klangklangston at 12:49 AM on October 22, 2011


Play all the word games you like, but in 2007 the public voted to give the Democrat Party control of the legislative and executive branches, and the Democrats failed to exercise the power they were given.

Speaking of word games, "Democrat Party" is usually used as a slur. To quote Chris Mathews, "They call themselves the Democratic Party. Let’s just call people what they call themselves and stop the Mickey Mouse here."
posted by kirkaracha at 5:54 AM on October 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


The troops from Iraq are simply being transferred to East Africa.

You believe that the hundred and fifty thousand service members who used to be in Iraq are now in secret hidden bases in Darfur and Somalia, and no one has managed to realize this?
posted by Etrigan at 7:28 AM on October 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Halle-f-in'-lujah!
posted by Lynsey at 8:48 AM on October 22, 2011


I just realized that when I read what Lon Mem writes it's probably vaguely similar to the feeling that Ironmouth gets when he reads what I write.

@Lon Mem I'd like to interject on the topic of Japan, as I do happen to know something about that place and its history.

Yes, unquestionably there are some Japanese who are massively opposed to the US base in Japan. However the vast majority of Japanese either don't care or are supportive.

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is actually supported by a majority of Japanese, the memories of the Pacific War are still pretty vivid and other than a handful of right wing types most Japanese are completely fine with renouncing war. In fact, when the JSDF (Japan Self Defense Force) was scaled up there were riots from Japanese opposed to that.

Further, while there is a US military base in Japan, it isn't an occupation force anymore than the US military bases in France represent occupation forces.

You can definitely argue, and I'd agree, that the US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan represent occupation forces. But in Japan and Germany? No.
posted by sotonohito at 10:07 AM on October 22, 2011


You know, it's weird, you say you're not a Republican, but every solution you offer comes back to voting for the Republicans to punish the Democrats for being too much like the Republicans.

Your comment is dishonest. That is not what I said, meant or implied. But your dishonesty helps the astroturfers keep bullying everyone into voting for politicians who make our lives worse. The status quo is clearly working out so well there are now two populist political movements, widespread employment and income stagnation, shitty access to healthcare, evaporating civil rights, etc. etc. Your solution is more of the same, clearly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:12 PM on October 22, 2011


[More comments removed. You guys know better than this; personal attacks make Metafilter cry, and please take the bickering to email.]
posted by taz at 11:55 PM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to throw .02 in there...

Anyone who thinks the Iraqis need/want America to stay should tell that to the wankers who routinely mortar the embassy and Green Zone areas. Last week, two rounds made it through to hit two of the buildings. No one was hurt, but there was damage. This is a routine occurrence which never makes the papers.

The embassy is the size it is because of the necessary fortifications. The fortifications are necessary to protect the people who are trying to do exactly what Iraq wants - which is get the hell out.

You must realize that America has to leave Iraq because there is no longer a valid Status Of Forces contract. The existing one expires, and a new one could not be agreed upon. Whether or not America wants to stay is irrelevant.
posted by Thistledown at 6:58 AM on October 23, 2011


Obama is doing this because he knows that his time is up. He's not getting a second term. He knows that.

Only on Metafilter do people think Obama won't be reelected because he hasn't satisfied the Netroots.

I'd estimate Obama has, at this point, around a 60% chance of retaining the presidency. Anyone who declares that he will or will not lose is a boorish axe-grinder who has no idea what they're talking about.
posted by spaltavian at 10:04 AM on October 23, 2011




@spaltavian I think there's a pretty good chance Obama will lose in 2012, but I think that's mostly because of the economy. Sitting presidents tend to poorly when the economy sucks.

I think taking actions seemingly designed to piss off his supporters/base/whatever isn't really a great thing, but more than anything else I think the main risk to Obama's second term is the fact that unemployment is still around 10%+, the economy is still lousy, and wages are down. That's not really something he has much control over, but history shows that presidents do get blamed for bad economies.

Obama's got it bad in two directions: the economy sucks so the low information voters aren't very likely to vote for him, and he's torqued off some of the people who were (in 2008) a core part of his GOTV campaign.

I doubt many 2008 Obama voters will vote for whoever the Republicans nominate [1], and other than the first time voters he got in 2008 I think most will vote for him; but I also think a lot of them won't make the sacrifices of personal time, money, etc that are necessary to get a really strong GOTV effort going.

I'm not going to be sacrificing anything for Obama. I worked my ass off in 2008, donated time, donated money, worked phone banks, you name it. After he was elected he started hippie punching in a pathetic and failed attempt to garner support from the right. He'll get my vote because he's better than the alternative, but telling myself that thing would be worse under Perry just doesn't produce enough will to go back to the grind of phone banking. "Vote Obama, the opposition is worse" isn't much of an inspirational slogan.

It's true, of course, any Republican would be much worse than Obama [2]. But after Obama and his Administration repeatedly told me that they loathed, despised, and disdained my kind I really don't see much reason to give him anything but the minimum. Hope he got all the phone bank volunteers he needed from the ranks of people impressed by his disdain of the "professional left", cuz the Obama administration's policy of shitting on me has kind of disinclined me to do volunteer work a campaign really needs.

Like the kid who trashes his friends in hopes of garnering favor with the bullies, Obama is now stuck with no friends and the bullies still don't like him.

My vote he gets. My money and time? He told me he didn't want me, so why should I give him my time?

And, if the economy were doing well, he'd probably be safe even after telling his volunteer pool that he hated them. But the economy is doing really badly, so he's got two problems going into the elections. His only real hope (and it may work out) is that the Republican nominee will be so visibly insane and stupid no one will vote for them. But that didn't work so well for Gore when he went up against Bush jr.

[1] My lousy track record for predicting political events to the side, I'm saying Perry. Romney won't get the nom, he's a Mormon, and no one else has a shot but Perry.

[2] Well, in some ways. Honestly I do think on the subject of civil liberties, especially those related to accusations of terror Obama has been worse than a Republican would have been simply because he's an official Democrat so his policies, which are basically Bush's continued, have now given the precious label of "bipartisan" to crapping on the Constitution. Previously there was a party that tortured, tossed people in prison forever without trials or charges, wiretapped without warrants, etc. Now both parties have endorsed those activities, and in that respect Obama has made things worse than any Republican could.
posted by sotonohito at 2:38 PM on October 23, 2011


>> You believe that the hundred and fifty thousand service members who used to be in Iraq are now in secret hidden bases in Darfur and Somalia, and no one has managed to realize this?

150,000 is a figure mentioned by you, not me.

But most of the troops are not leaving at all, indeed never left. Troops get withdrawn, then reinserted, then withdrawn, then reinserted. Additionally, most remain and are simply reclassified. Note, there are 1,000+ (a conservative figure) "secret hidden bases" world wide which elude the vision of 99% of Americans on a daily basis, so not only plausible, verifiable fact. Finally, I'm saying that the "withdrawal" is primarily a semantic paper shuffling and that we are doing nothing remotely like ending hostilities, withdrawing, leaving. You know full well my position is accurate, but you're trying to leverage some sort of doubt with your arbitrary figure. And in doing so demonstrate quite effectively my fellow Americans' endless capacity to play prevaricating word games in the face of facts "on the ground."

Also, add ALL of the African nations I mentioned and then a few more. Not just Darfur, Somalia, but Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, CAR, Libya, Eritrea. As we start to get a more detailed picture of the area of conflict, even your high figure of 150,000 starts to seem plausible.
posted by Lon Mem at 5:40 PM on October 23, 2011


>> and no one has managed to realize this?

I am of the opinion that MeFi attracts a generally better informed participant, but most on this thread are blissfully unaware of our troops in East Africa. Or just blithely ambivalent. Dismissive. They'd rather take Obama's spin at face value, because the gruesome reality is too troublesome.

I mean below are a handful of links I dredged up in about five minutes of Googling. So, it's not like "no one" knows. More like no one cares. And often by "no one" we mean the mainstream press gatekeepers. It's not reality unless it comes through our established network of talking heads and pundits. Also, "no one" in the US may know, but the rest of the planet is almost always better informed than Americans. Americans are some of the most poorly informed people on earth. Unless you're talking about fantasy sports leagues or JRPGs or supercars. And even third world nations with woefully inadequate communications infrastructure manage to keep better abreast of global reality.

Also, I've always been of the opinion that Americans work very, very hard to remain ignorant. Often, the higher the IQ, the more adept at seeing around and through displeasing facts.

Here. If you care, get your feet wet.

Eritrea (2008)
"US Builds New Jumping off Base in Eritrea"
http://www.ethiopianreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10702

CAR (2011)
"Obama Sends U.S. Troops to Central Africa to Aid Campaign Against Rebel Group"
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/14/obama-sends-us-troops-to-central-africa-to-aid-campaign-against-rebel-group/

Tanzania (2010)
"Senior Tanzanian general visits U.S. Army Africa"
http://www.army.mil/article/33947/

Uganda (2009)
"Natural Fire 10 Opens, U.S. Army Africa, Kitgum, Uganda"
http://www.flickr.com/photos/usarmyafrica/4017929361/

Ethiopia (2011)
"Kenya Says Western Nations Join Fight in Somalia, as U.S. Denies Role"
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/24/world/africa/kenya-says-western-nations-have-joined-somalia-fight.html

I mean that NY Times article is 52 minutes old. These stories *ARE* being reported right now and have been reported for years, but Americans simply do not care. They'd rather moon and hiss over Sarah Palin's "grandkid" or Hillary Clinton's latest scowl.

And Lon Mem is teling you. Whether you "realize" it or not is up to you.
posted by Lon Mem at 6:08 PM on October 23, 2011


Also, add ALL of the African nations I mentioned and then a few more. Not just Darfur, Somalia, but Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, CAR, Libya, Eritrea. As we start to get a more detailed picture of the area of conflict, even your high figure of 150,000 starts to seem plausible.

What? You think it's plausible that the U.S. has 150,000 troops in Africa?
posted by Jahaza at 6:20 PM on October 23, 2011


But most of the troops are not leaving at all, indeed never left. Troops get withdrawn, then reinserted, then withdrawn, then reinserted. Additionally, most remain and are simply reclassified. Note, there are 1,000+ (a conservative figure) "secret hidden bases" world wide which elude the vision of 99% of Americans on a daily basis, so not only plausible, verifiable fact. Finally, I'm saying that the "withdrawal" is primarily a semantic paper shuffling and that we are doing nothing remotely like ending hostilities, withdrawing, leaving.

How about you visit Fayetteville, NC and Fort Hood, TX and the additional boots on the ground in the U.S. will show you that troops really have come home?

Here's a funny example. The civilian police officers who stopped the Fort Hood shooter >are being laid off. Why are they being laid off? Because the garrison budget is being cut and the Army has decided that this is a place they can save money, by using MPs to police the base, because they have more MPs available now, because they're not in Iraq.
Fort Hood officials said the civilian police officers will be replaced with military police soldiers, or MPs, in a sign that the wartime posture of the Army's busiest deployment hub is slowing down. Officials said Fort Hood increased hiring of civilian officers in 2003 as military police soldiers were increasingly deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, a trend that is reversing.

"As more MP soldiers are available at Fort Hood, we return to the use of MPs for law enforcement," Christopher Zimmer, deputy director for the Directorate of Emergency Services at Fort Hood, said in a statement. "Though the number of (civilian police officers) working on Fort Hood is reducing, there are more than enough MPs available to perform law enforcement duties, so Fort Hood will continue to be a safe place to live and work."
No one is denying that the U.S. has troops in Africa, but you won't be able to provide any evidence that the number is anything like what we have in Iraq even now.
posted by Jahaza at 6:28 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Again, as I mentioned up thread and in my most recent post, WHO CARES if the number is 150,000 (again, not a number I cited) or if it's similar to Iraq? It doesn't matter. All of my points are still completely germane and not impacted in any manner by some debate number tossed into the scrum.

The number is a red herring that keeps being brought up. It's disingenuous.

I once had someone tell me that the genocide in Rwanda did not matter because it hadn't reached the numbers of the Holocaust. "When it reaches about seven million, then let me know," he said.

The most relevant issue is the build-up in East and Central Africa as well as the outright deception about the non-withdrawal in Iraq. Apologists for the administration position and the administration keep hoping this discussion gets bogged down in the abstract.

Just like any effective shell game. Distraction is key.

One other consideration regarding the anecdotal assessment around Fayetteville and Ft. Hood... did it ever occur to you that the "American troops" being stationed abroad are not American? Our "training" apparatus all over the world and the privatization with organizations like DynCorp and Xe/Blackwater allow us to claim that there are little or no "American troops," when in fact the US taxpayers are paying for a mercenary army of third world desperates and drifters who are employed as fodder. The high level American soldiers remain and the backwater cannon fodder gets rotated out. And elsewhere. And please note, the blowback caused by those mercenaries will still fall upon us.

Also, just because those troops have "come home" doesn't mean they are not shipping right back out. That's the whole point of all of this. Terms like occupation, withdrawal, coming home are deceptively, routinely manipulated by Dems and Republicans to confuse and cloud the real issues.
posted by Lon Mem at 7:30 PM on October 23, 2011


150,000 is a pretty widely reported number, and is in fact a little lower than the peak deployment number of U.S. service members in Iraq. You don't get to dismiss it just because someone else cited it, and you certainly don't get to claim that "The troops from Iraq are simply being transferred to East Africa" without more proof than:
A) a three-year-old forum post that claims Eritrea will be the staging area for a 75,000-person invasion of Iraq that never happened,
B) a news story that was heavily reported and says that about 100 people are being deployed,
C) a puff piece about a Tanzanian general visiting U.S. facilities in Italy,
D) a picture on Flickr that's about a training exercise involving 550 U.S. personnel providing dental check-ups and other humanitarian assistance, and
E) a story that says that the U.S. isn't being deployed somewhere.

I will admit that you're an expert on shell games, but that's about it.
posted by Etrigan at 4:20 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


@Lon Mem The official numbers for US troop deployment in Africa, per the DoD's June 30th 2011 numbers are 9,826. And that's counting Yemen and areas like that as "Africa". Most of the troops in "Africa" are in Yemen, Bahrain, etc. Plus 5,000 or so "Afloat", as in sailors located on the massive fleet we've got stationed there for supporting the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So I'm going to disregard the north Africa and "Africa" numbers as they aren't really reflective of reality.

It's sub-Saharan Africa that you seem to be talking about.

Only 744 are in sub-Saharan Africa, and of them only in Djibouti does the US have a real military presence, there's 334 there. The other 410 are scattered around the lower half of the continent in small numbers, less than 40 or so at the max outside Djibouti.

Which is probably more than most people thought were deployed to Africa, but doesn't exactly constitute an occupation force.

Recently, and not reflected in those numbers since it happened after June 30, Obama has deployed 100 soldiers to act as "advisers" in the fight against the Lord's Resistance Army. And, frankly, while I'm not a fan of military intervention, I count that as a good thing. The LRA is a nasty outfit and I think if our military can help force them to disband, or kill them, I'll count that as a very good thing for Obama to have done.

So, yeah, I'm not really seeing a major US military buildup in Africa. And yes, numbers do count in such things. The US Army has one, count him one, soldier in Albania (nine total military personnel there, most are Marines) that's not an invasion, occupation, or anything else force.

Unless a large number of the soldiers being removed from Iraq are being redeployed to Africa, and that's not been discussed anywhere public, you're just fantasizing.
posted by sotonohito at 7:23 AM on October 24, 2011


The public facing aspect of our troops fighting, killing, and dying in East and Central Africa are presented as humanitarian, joint exercises, friendship building, training, advising. All of the kitten cuddling, chocolate bar gifting, barn raising Pentagon cover deceptions that routinely obfuscate the facts of American occupation and aggression world wide.

The apologists for this ongoing global intervention (whether Dem or Republican) always insist on bickering around an artificial number or classification that remains relevant only in as much as it clouds the more central discussion, which is... America's global empire. The cost in treasure and blood. Blowback.

I cite a number of crystal clear examples of America's ongoing build-up, fighting in Africa and the response... "well, there's one guy in Albania." Which, while weak on its face, is also absolutely false. If you get your information from the Pentagon, then yes, we are digging wells in Africa and there's one soldier in Albania helping old ladies cross the street.
posted by Lon Mem at 1:47 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


>> The official numbers

Very hard for us to conduct a serious conversation if you cite with a straight face the DoD or Pentagon as reliable sources of information on American troops.
posted by Lon Mem at 1:50 PM on October 24, 2011


Three of your five examples came straight from military or White House sources. Of the other two, the first was three years old and patently fantastic, and the last was a denial of American engagement. Make up your mind what you're going to believe.
posted by Etrigan at 2:15 PM on October 24, 2011


American forces routinely deploy out of and are stationed at Durres and Vlora (also spelled Vlore), as well as the air base at Kucove in Albania. That's likely where the "one guy" spends most of his time. You know... piloting submarines when he's not flying C-17s to the other "one guy" at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo.

But the Albanian reference is actually an apt remark since the American soldier(s) there are classified as advisors, NATO, and members of the so-called Joint Forces Command. Which is to say, they are invisible to the general public as they are not considered "American troops."
posted by Lon Mem at 2:21 PM on October 24, 2011


>> Make up your mind what you're going to believe.

I don't "believe" anything.

Triangulate data and do not rely on any single source.
posted by Lon Mem at 2:25 PM on October 24, 2011


Told you.

This story just posted within the past hour.

>> Five years after the U.S. backed a disastrous Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, Washington is considering supporting another ill-conceived incursion into the war-torn East African nation — this one by neighboring Kenya. Meanwhile, the U.S. has escalated its drone campaign against Somali insurgents, apparently coordinating the aerial strikes to take advantage of the Kenyan advance.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10/new-somalia-attack/

I wonder if Albania's One Guy will get the call.
posted by Lon Mem at 6:07 PM on October 25, 2011


US MILITARY CONTINUES TO EXIST AND DO THINGS, THUS PROVING OBAMA THE LIAR HE IS.
posted by Artw at 6:10 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just came back to this thread and holy crap, it's like Bizarro FreeRepublic up in here.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:12 PM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


US MILITARY CONTINUES TO EXIST AND DO THINGS, THUS PROVING OBAMA THE LIAR HE IS.

Does it still count as a strawman if it's in caps?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:24 PM on October 26, 2011


Mister Fabulous: Okay. I'll admit I didn't see this one coming.

My first post was on the original semi-official declaration, back in 2008.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:17 PM on October 27, 2011












homunculus: "Bachmann Wants Iraqis To Pay ‘Several Million Dollars Per Life’ For Every American Who Died In Iraq"

You have got to be shitting me. Well - let's pay them a million for every Iraqi that died, and we'll see how it goes. Christ, what an asshole.
posted by symbioid at 11:54 AM on November 13, 2011




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