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Continuing Occupations, ‘Good’ Wars, and the Wartime President

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By Debra Sweet
March 3, 2009

Barack Obama said last Tuesday night to Congress, ‘I will not allow terrorists
to plot against the American people from safe havens halfway around the world.
We will not allow it.

I wonder how people in the Middle East felt hearing that, having been bombed
as if they are terrorists for most of this decade, either directly by US planes,
or with US made weapons, as in Gaza? An Iraqi in Sikrit, said, “In fact,
the US forces achieved one thing: That is destroying Iraq … We hope that
the US soldiers will leave our country sooner rather than later in order to
put an end to the bloodiest pages in Iraq’s history.’

The US Defense Department is finally allowing the news media to photograph
caskets and funerals of US military, even as Robert Gates and the generals in
charge are warning that the next year, with 17,000 more US troops going into
Afghanistan, is going to be very “rough.’

Thursday, Obama announced plans to remove some troops from Iraq over a 19 month
period, unless the generals advise him otherwise. The remaining 30,000
to 50,000 troops will be re-named “advisors’ and stay indefinitely; the 17 US
bases will remain in US control.

Those who are breathing a sigh of relief that US troops are being slowly removed
from Iraq should stop and realize that this is part of an overall strategy to
deepen and strengthen, not end, US domination of the region. Those who think
our job is to “help’ Barack Obama carry out this plan are not looking at the
interests of the people here, or in the Middle East, in stopping this occupation

From World Can’t Wait Steering Committee member (and member of Military Families
Speak Out, with a son currently in Iraq) Elaine Brower: It’s

“As I sit here tonight listening to the crap about extending troop
withdrawal 19 months, instead of 16 months, and keeping 50,000 troops in Iraq
as so called “advisers’ or “trainers’ or whatever
they want to nickname them, I am outraged! I expected this, but did you? This
is wrong. The occupation is wrong, and those of us in the anti-war movement
have been screaming this at the top of our lungs for the last 6 years, even
before the first boots were on the ground in Iraq.

Even before the campaign of “shock and awe’ even lit up the
skies above innocent people. What the hell are we thinking?

Mobilize on the 19th, do something loud and meaningful. Complacency is
not acceptable, nor is silence. People are dying, people are crippled for
life, we must act now. We owe it to the Iraqi people.’

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