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Posted by on Oct 24, 2011 in International, War | 23 comments

Smart End to a Dumb War

Barack Obama has answered a question David Petraeus posed eight years ago. A division commander as the Iraq invasion began in 2003, the General was troubled about what a young Illinois legislator would call a dumb war, asking “Tell me how this ends.”

Over 4400 American lives and more than a trillion dollars later, President Obama has replied to Petraeus by withdrawing all troops from Iraq by year’s end.

In his Weekly Address, the President notes, “As we remove the last of our troops from Iraq, we’re beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan…(W)hen I took office, roughly 180,000 troops were deployed in these wars. By the end of this year that number will be cut in half, and an increasing number of our troops will continue to come home.”

So ends the most needless war in American history, not with a bang of victory, but a whimper of hope that what the U.S. leaves behind will honor all those lost lives and the damaged souls who came back with psychic scars. Even as we leave, sectarian strife is stirring again.

Like a footnote to all this folly, Condoleeza Rice’s memoir emerges to narrate the 2006 turmoil in the Bush Administration when Iraq seemed to be breaking apart.

“So what’s your plan, Condi?” Bush asked at one point. “We’ll just let them kill each other, and we’ll stand by and try to pick up the pieces?”

Angered by the accusation, she responded that “if they want to have a civil war we’re going to have to let them.”

All along, the former Secretary of States recounts, Vice President Dick Cheney (whose staff was “very much of one ultra-hawkish mind”) and Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld (who resigned after the 2006 election) kept pushing for deeper involvement in Iraq.

The ultimate irony of this tragic war is that Petraeus himself helped provide a less-than-humiliating end with the Surge.

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Copyright 2011 The Moderate Voice
  • Allen

    There is nothing more irritating to me or potentially dangerous, than the military having a partisan opinion. The military reports to the President and answers to Congress and I don’t care if some general is a friggen Albert Einstein, the political mouth is SHUT! The military does not run this country, they follow the dictates of those We the People elect. We are not a banana republic.

    These wars are breaking us. They need to end. Iraq was a pain in the rear before George W Bush decided to invade and it will continue to be a pain in the rear but I do not care. I suspect that Iraq will become greater Iran, but I don’t care. Same goes for Afghanistan. Leave as soon as possible and let these backward people squabble among themselves. We owe nothing to none of them, just leave.

  • dduck

    “that what the U.S. leaves behind will honor all those lost lives and the damaged souls who came back with psychic scars.”
    Even as we leave, sectarian strife is stirring again.”
    We are, so far, leaving behind those brave Iraqis that helped us. Shame on us.

  • Allen

    Duck-

    Let those “Brave Iraqis” be brave enough to build their own country.

  • dduck

    Allen, are you that dense or unfeeling, I am talking about the translators and other people that helped our troops. Can we get that straight? If we can’t, then FO.

  • Quelcrist Falconer

    Allen, are you that dense or unfeeling, I am talking about the translators and other people that helped our troops.

    The collaborators you mean, aka traitors?

  • dduck

    QF, I have no idea what you are trying to say.
    All armies have these kinds of people.

  • slamfu

    We did our best to provide them with the opportunity to rebuild their nation. They have had 8 years, untold billions in construction dollars, and the establishment of law and order like they never saw under Saddam Hussein, and what did they do with that? They spent it in tribal disputes, religious atrocities, and corruption on a scale that it will never be fully documented. At some point you have to just say we did what we could to fix the problem, a problem we created in the first place, and say you are on your own now we need to look after ourselves. In the long run this is the best course of action.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Amen, Slamfu.

    You just saved me writing a post, although I may still do one since I am so p.off at our “ally,” Mr. Karzai — the man and his country we are spilling American blood for, almost at the rate we did in Iraq — for his unforgivable comments that, should there be a conflict between the U.S. and Pakistan, he would side with Pakistan…

  • dduck

    Slam, of course they are on their own. Our motto could be; find em, f—- them and forget them.
    You sound like you think they should bend down and kiss our feet. We invaded their country and killed their people including many of our own. Their country is ripe for infiltration from Iran and you want them to be jumping for joy.
    BTW: Aren’t you glad Obama set the end of this year as a drawn-down date, what a guy, let’s reelect him if he hasn’t already risen to heaven by election time.

  • slamfu

    We did not forget them. We stuck around, did more for that country than any invader in history has ever done to straighten things out, but the fact is the Iraqi people have no idea how to form a nation. We lead the horse to water but we can’t make them drink. There is ZERO point in sticking around. We could be there another 10 years, and we would still be in the same situation we are now.

    Of course the county is ready for infiltration by Iran. Bush killed the secular Sunni leader of a nation of Shiites, what the F**K did you think was going to happen after that? There is nothing we can do to change that now unless we arm the Sunni’s and install another dictator. But now that its a democracy, the extremely religious predominately Shiite nation of Iraq is going to be much closer to and likely a puppet of, Iran. Since we are not going to install a Sunni puppet dictator, there is nothing we can do to change that, and no reason for us to stay there pretending that there is.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    “Our motto could be; find em, f—- them and forget them”

    I agree that the previous administration did exactly the first two F’.

    The Obama administration has been left with the mess that results when when you do the first two F’s to a nation and its people, and–after almost nine years of investing our blood and treasure — I believe that most reasonable persons would say that the time has come for the third F –not “forget” them–but for the Iraqis to “Fight” for themselves.

  • dduck

    DDW, and sure let’s forget the little guys who helped our troops. Don’t lay leaving them behind to fend for themselves on Bush.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    “DDW, and sure let’s forget the little guys who helped our troops. Don’t lay leaving them behind to fend for themselves on Bush.”

    DDuck, read these, for starters:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dorian-de-wind/iraq-and-afghanistan-refu_b_789933.html

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dorian-de-wind/post_717_b_690425.html

    http://www.stripes.com/opinion/opinion-how-are-iraqi-refugees-any-different-1.71876

    Added:

    Especially this part, dduck:

    “Since the war in Iraq started more than four years ago, the U.S. has admitted fewer than 3,000 Iraqi refugees. Earlier this year, under pressure from the United Nations and others, the State Department promised to allow 7,000 Iraqi refugees to enter the U.S. this year. To date, the U.S. has fallen far short of that goal. As in Vietnam, these are men and women who risked their lives by working with U.S. military and government officials, who believed our promises, and who now find themselves the targets of terrorists, insurgents and militia groups.”

  • dduck

    Great, thank you DDW and I am sorry I did not see these articles sooner.

  • malcontent

    We should have been out of Iraq years ago, and Obama promised as much when he was campaigning for Prez. He, like Bush, proved afriad to turn loose the their bicycle with the training wheels off. Sink or swim was the message we should have spit out years ago. Bush gets an “F”; Obama get an “F”.

    We have drones blowing the bad boys to pieces and scaring the crap out of everyone along the Afghan/Pakistan border, but we still find it necessary to spend billions of $ that end up we know not where, and run our brave young men and women out into the fray to what end and purpose? To defned the Kornegal Valley in Afghanistan, like we did islands in the Pacific in WWII, or hills in Vietnam. Remember these? Hundreds dead and then we decide it wasn’t as much a strategic location as we thought it was, and pull back and abandon it.

    Obama is a puppet of the military and the military contractors. They pull his strings and he reacts. Where do you think the generals, admirals and colonels go to work when they retire?

    Dem’s and Repub’s all feed out of the same trough….so do Dem and Repub Presidents.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Nothing to be sorry about, Dduck, but your comment is very much appreciated.

    Dorian

  • rudi

    @DDuck
    LOL Your ODS is showing on this one. W and Obama negotiated SOFA with Iraq on timetables for troop levels and withdraw dates.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_Status_of_Forces_Agreement_referendum,_2010
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S.%E2%80%93Iraq_Status_of_Forces_Agreement
    No Obama campaign move here, just mandates started by W within UN guidelines…

  • sentry

    D. Duck said this:

    Aren’t you glad Obama set the end of this year as a drawn-down date, what a guy, let’s reelect him if he hasn’t already risen to heaven by election time.

    Don’t forget that he’s a natural, of course, for the Nobel Peace Prize.

    This time, it would be still ridiculous leftist games, but at least this time he did something, not just getting it for not being Bush.

  • Allen

    Duck-

    I don’t care Duck. Is that straight enough for ya?

    Ok, so what does “FO” mean.

    “Forward Observer” comes to mind, and, seems to describe me pretty well. Is that it Duck?

    Don’t forget Duck, it was your party and President that invaded Iraq in the first place.

  • Allen

    Mal-

    Oh no President Obama gets an “A”, because he is actually bringing our military home. Granted he should have done it earlier, but we had to make sure all the media had left first so there would be no more video of these wild animals blowing themselves to hell and getting more sympathy from thin skins like….Duck.

  • merkin

    Iraq was a war of choice, we never had to be there. It is not unreasonable to withdraw as a matter of choice.

  • ShannonLeee

    Gee, I don’t know who to side with here…

    The conservatives that say Obama gets no credit because he is simply following the plan laid out by the Republican party.

    or….

    the conservatives that say Obama gets bad credit for pulling out of Iraq and leaving the government to fend for itself…after only 9 years of blood, sweat, tears, and money.

    I guess that all depends on your memory and how you are framing the argument you are trying to make.

  • In the most obvious post of all time, I will say:

    The best was to stop making mistakes is to stop making mistakes.

    Invading Iraq was a mistake. Trying to prop up leaders that don’t have the support of the people was a mistake. Not considering the possibilities of insurgency was a mistake. Making a big target with the embassy & green zone was a mistake. Trying to set up a long-term occupation a la Germany, Korea, & Japan was a mistake. Mistake, mistake, mistake.The goal was flawed. The strategy was flawed. The tactics were flawed. The situation could not be fixed, because now we are part of the problem.

    We needed to stop the mistake. We needed to get out of Iraq.

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