March 20, 2011 3:45 PM   Subscribe

First in, last out. Right now, Libya is on top of the stack.
posted by Ardiril at 4:05 PM on March 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

No declaration, no war, no problem.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:09 PM on March 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

I thought that mission had been accomplished...
posted by pompomtom at 4:12 PM on March 20, 2011

Apropos: Last week's This American Life featured a really tightly edited set of recollections from soldiers and their families, excerpted from David Finkel's "The Good Soldiers."

It saddens me in a lot of ways to think that I've grown up surrounded by this war: that it started my sophomore year of high school and hasn't really concluded even though I've left college. Years of anti-war activism on campus, of news stories on radio and TV, of Abu Ghraib, of watching Saddam get hanged - all of it has become a part of my cultural memory. Though obviously that all pales in comparison to anyone who's done one tour, let alone the two or three many soldiers have, or the generational impact of a cohort of Iraqis who came of age during two US wars sandwiching a decade long embargo.

Vietnam had a much more dramatic impact on more Americans, and consequently on our culture. Iraq's defining cultural characteristic, in many ways, was how restricted that impact was: how the burden was born by a relative few, mostly poor, Americans and how that made the war in many ways socially acceptable, how it continues to be socially acceptable in most places.

The draft doesn't fix that problem any more than one fixes a broken leg by breaking an arm so they don't think about the leg anymore. From some part of ourselves, we have to draw a deeper empathy for people who don't go to the same places we go, and who don't look like us.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 4:18 PM on March 20, 2011 [17 favorites]

We are all Libyans now.
posted by clvrmnky at 4:33 PM on March 20, 2011

I'm sorry - I can't even JOKE about this. It's just... sickening.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 4:38 PM on March 20, 2011

posted by nevercalm at 4:38 PM on March 20, 2011

Combat troops left Iraq last fall. We are leaving. It is over.
posted by humanfont at 4:46 PM on March 20, 2011

You forgot Poland.
posted by DU at 4:50 PM on March 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Combat soldiers left Iraq last fall, but we are most definitely NOT leaving.
posted by mike_bling at 5:02 PM on March 20, 2011 [5 favorites]

We are leaving. It is over.

It's hard to get exact numbers but as far as I can tell, as of today the U.S. has about 47,000 military personnel, 50,000 private contractors, and presumably many thousands of diplomatic and non-military personnel in Iraq.

In other words, over 100,000 Americans are employed there, and most news reports today are suggesting (though the military is loathe to talk about it) that a minimum of 20,000 military may well remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future (minimum 5 to 10 years): thus, our embassy in Baghdad, the largest of its kind in the world, and designed to keep 3000 to 5000 personnel, representing virtually every U.S. governmental department (Agriculture, for instance), will presumably keep humming; as will the 14 or so major military bases we have there.

Of course, the implicit hope is probably that these personnel, as part of America's vast overseas military apparatus (over one million U.S. military personnel stationed around the world), live and work in a drastically less turbulent and violent Iraq, but whether that (especially given the turbulence in the greater middle east) will be the case is anyone's guess.

So, technically, no we are not really leaving, and it seems clear that will we have a presence there for some time.
posted by The Emperor of Ice Cream at 5:08 PM on March 20, 2011 [6 favorites]

It is over.

Yeah, for Americans and the coalition of the willing perhaps. For the hundreds of thousands of civilians killed by us, or the subsequent sectarian violence, or the intereim "government" we've backed.

It ain't over for the rest of the poor fucking Iraqis, whose country we've basically destroyed and sent back to almost pre-industrial levels. Who starved under our tarrifs and now have nothing to enjoy their so-called freedom with.

"Over" my arse. It won't be "over" for decades, if ever. And I wish it spoke to a uniquely American type of selfishness that such an idea could even be uttered in seriousness, as if - now, having destroyed the entire country - we can pack up our bags and we don't want to talk about it anymore cause we realise we made a mistake and that's that, it's all better now huzzah for freedom. But I've heard similar sickening sentiments from Australians and British as well.

What precious, tiny, semblance of normality Iraqis possessed pre-invasion is certainly over. So are the mortality, infant mortality, and literacy rates they used to have as well.

It's not over, and we should never forget when viewing the maelstrom of violence and human suffering that swirls over the former Babylon, that we made this. If the lesson bloody stuck perhaps we might be less certain of our actions internationally, or heaven forfend might attempt to spend some money on aid instead of depleted uranium armaments and white phosphorous.
posted by smoke at 5:14 PM on March 20, 2011 [13 favorites]

It's funny (in a terrible sort of way) because before the war in Iraq started, thinking about it and how to stop consumed a large part of my time. I was in college then, so I had a lot of free time, and I was heavily involved with the anti-war movement. Like I would go to three or four meetings most weeks. And I went to big protests in New York and D.C. and helped organize smaller protests in my town.

One of the big frustrations for me and the other activists was how most people didn't seem to really care that much about what was happening. It was like it wasn't fully real to them. We kept asking ourselves how we could break through that disconnection and get them to feel and understand the utterly pointless horror and suffering the U.S. government was about to unleash.

And now, honestly, I've become one of those disconnected people. I probably haven't thought about the fact that there are still U.S. troops in Iraq in at least a month. I don't really have any great answers or insights about this, really, except to say that mostly I just got tired. It's exhausting to maintain an awareness of something terrible, especially when you feel like there's nothing you can do to stop or change it.

Because it's eight years later, and we're still there.
posted by overglow at 5:18 PM on March 20, 2011 [8 favorites]

That we went in makes me sad and angry. That we're still there also makes me sad and angry. But I really get where overglow is coming from, because it's not like there's anything I can do to get the US to declare victory and get our forces out. Eisenhower was right to worry about the military-industrial complex: now we have this big military force and it has to figure out how to justify its own existence, so now we're the new British Empire and like in the days of Victoria, we have a handful of little wars going on all the time. See also: Afghanistan and Libya. (Wtf Obama, I thought you were planning to get us out of these little wars, not get us into more!)
posted by immlass at 5:30 PM on March 20, 2011

Mr. Maliki’s Power Grab
posted by homunculus at 5:31 PM on March 20, 2011

i propose we rename this date 'cakewalk day'
posted by p3on at 5:40 PM on March 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

I could have sworn that President Nixon said he turned the war over to Nguyen Van Thieu, John Paul Vann, and the ARVN.
posted by orthogonality at 5:45 PM on March 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

now we have this big military force and it has to figure out how to justify its own existence

Very much agreed, but think you may have understated it somewhat; the situation has been building for decades. Indeed, as a matter of historical record America has literally been in perpetual war since Pearl Harbor: the Cold War, which blew hot at least twice (Vietnam and Korea), and featured our covert involvement in dozens of guerrilla proxy wars, began immediately after WW2 (the Dulles brothers and OSS were preparing for it even before), and was replaced upon the fall of the Berlin Wall by the machinations of our wars in such places as Bosnia (a war that began in 1992).

More importantly, the explicit PNAC dream of a new overarching casus belli (i.e. their explicit desire for a "new Pearl Harbor" to use as excuse to exert a new aggressively militaristic version of American imperium) to replace the "war on communism" was granted on 9/11/01. The seamless continuity between the global, unending "war on terrorism" and the global, 45 year long "war on communism" should really give everyone pause.
posted by The Emperor of Ice Cream at 5:52 PM on March 20, 2011 [5 favorites]

There are still people around here that genuinely think WMDs were found, but the liberal media such as FoxNews won't report it. I wish I was kidding.
posted by LordSludge at 6:25 PM on March 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

The entire Gulf War II was done for China. Who financed it? Who got the oil? We were just the paid mercs. War ia purr ply reliable national industry. We are good at it, and it pays well. China didn't just dump cheap consumer goods on our market because they want to give us an unlimited supply of credit. They need someone to go and do their dirty work for them. We did it. You got your HDTV from Costco, they got the oil they need to melt the polar ice caps.
posted by humanfont at 6:38 PM on March 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

We've been protesting in Wisconsin for five weeks for other reasons, but the group Iraq Veterans Against the War sponsored Saturday's protest at the Capitol.
posted by desjardins at 6:40 PM on March 20, 2011

The USA is the dominant military economy. It's what you do with the masses of people who can't be bankers and China has all the jobs they used to do.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:05 PM on March 20, 2011

The entire Gulf War II was done for China....

Well, that was crazy and completely unfounded.

China doesn't need America for fighting wars my friend, let alone in Iraq. They get all the primary resources they need from Australia, Africa, and impoverished Micronesian nations.
posted by smoke at 7:07 PM on March 20, 2011

Indeed, as a matter of historical record America has literally been in perpetual war since Pearl Harbor

Countries the US has attacked (possibly not exhaustive) - since 1945

China 1945-46
Korea 1950-53
China 1950-53
Guatemala 1954
Indonesia 1958
Cuba 1959-60
Guatemala 1960
Belgian Congo 1964
Guatemala 1964
Dominican Republic 1965-66
Peru 1965
Laos 1964-73
Vietnam 1961-73
Cambodia 1969-70
Guatemala 1967-69
Lebanon 1982-84
Grenada 1983-84
Libya 1986
El Salvador 1981-92
Nicaragua 1981-90
Libya 1986
Iran 1987-88
Libya 1989
Panama 1989-90
Iraq 1991-2002
Kuwait 1991
Somalia 1992-94
Croatia 1994
Bosnia 1995
Iran 1998
Sudan 1998
Afghanistan 1998
Yugoslavia 1999
Afghanistan 2001-?
Yemen 2002-?
Iraq 2003-?
Pakistan 2004-?
Somalia 2007
Libya 2011-?
posted by knapah at 7:35 PM on March 20, 2011 [8 favorites]

The entire Gulf War II was done for China.

Poor little America, goaded, or coerced, or erm, something.

Wait; how does this work?
posted by pompomtom at 7:44 PM on March 20, 2011

Wait; how does this work?

stabbed in the back
posted by telstar at 8:10 PM on March 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yugoslavia 1999

Um. Yugoslavia did not exist in 1999.
posted by heatherann at 5:38 AM on March 21, 2011

Um. Yugoslavia did not exist in 1999.

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia existed between 1992 and 2003 when it became the Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

The bombing campaign referred to their was Operation Allied Force.
posted by knapah at 6:06 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Indeed, as a matter of historical record America has literally been in perpetual war since Pearl Harbor

The "imperial project" began earlier. I would argue that we have been at perpetual war since at least the Spanish-American War. Countries the U.S. attacked/invaded(probably not exhaustive) before Pearl Harbor:

Nicaragua - 1896
Nicaragua - 1898
Spanish-American War - 1898
Samoa - 1898–99
Nicaragua - 1899
Philippine Islands - 1899–1913
Colombia (Panama) - 1901-02
Nicaragua - 1910-25
China - 1912–41
Haiti - 1915–34
Dominican Republic - 1916–24
WWI - 1917-18
Cuba - 1917-22
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:16 AM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Actually after checking the wikipedia page on the subject we seem to have been in a state of perpetual war or expansion since the founding. When was this supposed period of "isolationism" I'm always hearing about contended to have occured?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:32 AM on March 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

Adbusters' Hope and Memory [Flash; MetaFilter thread] is "an archive of 163 US interventions, a multi-faceted catalogue of coups, humanitarian incursions, covert actions, proxy armies, freedom fighters/terrorists and multilateral offensives."
posted by kirkaracha at 7:50 AM on March 21, 2011

The bombing campaign referred to their was Operation Allied Force.

Argh, 'there'.
posted by knapah at 7:55 AM on March 21, 2011

Hey, the anti-war protests are back! After Obama was elected and everything stopped, I sort of figured it was another case of partisan hackery.

Great to see some folks actual have convictions.
posted by rulethirty at 8:09 AM on March 21, 2011

The list seems to be selective, padded with duplicates and lacks categorization or context. Some were humanitarian missions like Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Lebanon, others like Panama seem to be imperialistic bs, and then there are the cold war proxy fights and instances of all out invasion vs. a few cruise missiles.
posted by humanfont at 8:27 AM on March 21, 2011

The list seems to be selective

You seem to be arguing for the opposite. That it is not selective and includes military actions that, in your opinion, should not be there. Either way we are a war like people and have been since our founding. You can try and moralize it, that's your prerogative, but it doesn't change the fact that Iraq and Afghanistan are not really anomalies in the grand scheme of things.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:38 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

From the comments in the Wired article in the mefi thread about tweeting the Libyan Psyop stuff:
We ( the U.S.A ) are a sovereign nation. Our border is not imaginary & neither are our rights. Rights given by the Creator, protected by the Supreme law, the true Government, the Constitution. We are not one world & never will be. This is not about fighting for human rights. If they cared about human rights, they'd go to North Korea & elsewhere. They are fighting only for their interests. The U.N is nothing but a communist organization.
I know it's just Tea Party rhetoric, but this belief, combined with "selective" education, explains a lot about what the US is doing in Iraq, and most other cases of commercial warfare. And in case you thought this was a temporary condition, I refer you to PNAC, "a non-profit educational organization". [/conspiratorializing]
posted by sneebler at 9:29 AM on March 21, 2011

I'm trying to decide between Cheney's

"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . [in] weeks rather than months." --on NBC's Meet the Press [Mar. 16, 2003]


Donald Rumsfeld's

"The idea that it's going to be a long, long, long battle of some kind I think is belied by the fact of what happened in 1990," he said on an Infinity Radio call-in program. "Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that." [Nov. 15, 2002]

for most misleading statement leading us into this disaster.
posted by quin at 9:57 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

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