The Candidates and the Occupation of Iraq

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

One of the least reported issues in the continuing war and occupation of Iraq is that of plans for permanent military bases and a long term occupation of Iraq by the US Military. John McCain has made the statement that the US should stay in Iraq for the next 100 years.

As per CNN last month, at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, a crowd member asked McCain about a Bush statement that troops could stay in Iraq for 50 years. “Maybe 100,” McCain replied.

Let’s look at the responses from Hillary and Obama.

The two following quotes are from the CNN link noted above in the introduction.

“He said recently he could see having troops in Iraq for 100 years,” Clinton said at an Arlington, Virginia, rally last week in a line she’s repeated on the campaign trail. “Well, I want them home within 60 days of my becoming president of the United States.”

Obama took a similar tack.

“Sen. McCain said the other day that we might be mired for 100 years in Iraq — which is reason enough not to give him four years in the White House,” Obama has said on several occasions.

and the come-back from McCain…

McCain told (Larry) King he thinks opponents are taking the quote out of context. He said any long-term troop presence in Iraq would depend on agreement from the Iraqi government.

“If they don’t want to and we don’t feel a need to do so, obviously, the whole thing is keyed to Americans being able to withdraw and come home with honor, not in defeat,” he said.

If we examine this first statements it’s clear that McCain is either ignorant or he’s trying to bullshit America. He should be aware of the fact that the Iraqi Parliament in both 2007 and 2008 voted not to extend the UN Mandate that is the only legal basis for the US occupation of Iraq, and that Iraq’s frail democracy was cut out of the process by the Bush Administration.

Quite obviously the Iraqis don’t want our military in their country and so McCain covers his trail but using the word “and” in his second statement which then speaks of coming home with “honor”.

May we also take a look at Hillary’s and Obama’s responses. Hillary’s 60 day comment is totally unrealistic. There is no way, logistically speaking, that we are going to bring 120,000 or so American troops home from Iraq in 60 days. My guess would be 6 months to a year. Obama, wisely avoided making any comment on a specific time frame.

I don’t think it is unfair to assume that any candidate, especially any US Senator with aspirations for the presidency of the United States, would not be aware of this:

As recently as last month, the Bush administration pushed the Iraqi government to extend its support for the occupation indefinitely, despite the Iraqi Parliament’s support for a withdrawal timetable. President Bush displayed utter contempt for Iraqi public and political opposition to the war in a recent Executive interpretative signing statement that rejected Congressional opposition to permanent bases.

This source is this article by Anthony DiMaggio on ZNet.

And, every US Senator should also be aware that progressive democrats in Congress have expressed opposition to Bush’s signing statement and have sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey “demanding transparency on the issue of permanent military bases”.

Perhaps I’m trying to read too much into a few comments made on the campaign trail. But here is what really worries me.

Dimaggio continues:

Sadly, Democratic Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have not co-sponsored a new bill, introduced by Representative Barbara Lee, preventing construction or maintenance of permanent military bases in Iraq.  Obama and Clinton have been rather vague in terms of their plans for Iraq. Congress’s 2008 Iraq spending bill included a requirement prohibiting any plans for permanent bases without Congressional approval; however, neither Clinton nor Obama even bothered to vote on this important bill, as they appeared more interested in campaigning than actively opposing the war.

Either candidate could have voted against the bill and expressed their commitment to cutting off funding for the war, or they could have voted in favor of funding for 2008, while at the very least supporting the bill’s

prohibition on permanent bases.  Their refusal to support a funding cut off or a prohibition on bases raises serious questions their “anti-war” status.  While both candidates rhetorically support some sort of short-term reduction in troops, they have been suspiciously opposed to plans for complete withdrawal.  They claim to support a withdrawal of combat forces, yet support keeping thousands in Iraq for “counter-terror” operations, perhaps as late as 2012 (or later).  How such troops will not constitute a sizable “combat force” in Iraq remains unclear.

So where do the leading candidates really stand on this, to some of us, the most important issue in the upcoming election?

McCain, we can be certain, stands with Bush and his neo-con driven foreign policy of global dominance and military empire.

Clinton’s voting record and the sources of much of her campaign financing and support suggests she is somewhere between McCain and Obama but that she is still acceptable to The Establishment.

Obama is the outsider and less acceptable to The Establishment. He opposed the initial authorization for the war in Iraq but he has been less than forthcoming on what he would do with respect to the occupation of Iraq and continuation of the so-called War on Terror.

The establishment media has given little time to the subject of the permanent military bases and the duration of the American occupation of Iraq. DiMaggio points this out very well in his article and he concludes by writing:

Then again, the erasure of the military bases question from reporting is precisely what one would expect in a media system dedicated to official misinformation, spin, and propaganda.

We need to hear clear responses from each of the candidates as to where they stand on this important issue and we need people in the media to ask them the questions.

20 comments

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    • DWG on February 24, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    WTF is lobbyist lover McCain talking about when he talks about leaving with “honor?”  We did not go into Iraq with honor, so what will one more minute of occupation and meddling in Iraq do to bring honor to this whole sordid chapter in American history?  

    McCain is either ignorant or he’s trying to bullshit America.

    He knows what is going on. He has become immersed in the situation in Iraq. He knows every operational detail.  He is just trying to bullshit America.  

  1. Obama is the outsider and less acceptable to The Establishment. He voted against the initial authorization for the war in Iraq….

    Obama was not a US Senator when that vote came up.  He couldn’t vote either way.  He stated clearly that he was against it at the time it came up, but he also later said that he doesn’t know how he would have voted had he been “privy to Senate intelligence reports.”  (Source with links to further sources.)

    • Edger on February 24, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    This would also be a really good crosspost for OOIBC. If you’ll email me at [email protected] I’ll send you an admin link you can use to make yourself a contributing author there.

    • OPOL on February 24, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    “If they don’t want to and we don’t feel a need to do so, obviously, the whole thing is keyed to Americans being able to withdraw and come home with honor, not in defeat,” he said.

    Nicely done truong son.

    • OPOL on February 24, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    let’s try another.  If I’m not mistaken, this is the most excellent work of BOHICA.  Same song.

  2. Anyone interested in this subject should check out Chalmers Johnson, especially the last 2 books of his trilogy:

       “Sorrows of Empire” and “Nemesis”

    He has really studied the profligate cancer of U.S. bases around the globe.

  3. blank check funding was Edwards. He and only a few others stood up to Bush. No one really has since, Obama and Clinton only did it recently because it made them look good on the campaign trail. They are both war hawks and really do not care about Iraq. After Obama’s 04 speech he said nothing in any speech about Iraq on the Senate floor for 11 months, did not propose any bills to end the war until right before he announced his run and wants to expand the military. He is not some great savior, not a revolutionary progressive force, his only progressive cred is his skin color as far as I am concerned. He is the same as all the other pols, out for himself.  

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