- Peace Garden: The truth about "ending the war" promises

The truth about "ending the war" promises

Friday, January 25, 2008

Are the Democrats Proposing Peace, or Counter-Insurgency Without End?

Pushed by powerful voter sentiment, the leading Democratic presidential candidates all talk of ending the Iraq war, and the November election seems headed toward a showdown with a Republican committed to a long-term war and occupation. But it’s not necessarily true. The press, the politicians and much of the public have embraced a paradigm that equates ending the Iraq war with the phased withdrawal of American troops from combat roles, a position favored by the top Democratic candidates. Sen. Hillary Clinton, according to her campaign statements, would withdraw most or all of them in five years though she “hopes” to withdraw them sooner, and Sen. Barack Obama would do the same in 18 months. Former Sen. John Edwards has recently espoused a more rapid and complete withdrawal timetable.
Overlooked is the fact that if and when those combat troops withdraw, U.S. counter-terrorism units will remain indefinitely to fight the Iraq-based al Qaeda along with other undefined “terrorists.” There also are American advisers who will continue training roles for the Iraqi army and police, and will be embedded in the Iraqi Interior Ministry, a Shiite stronghold widely criticized for torture, detention without charges, and other human-rights violations. There will be armed forces to protect the diplomats in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the largest embassy in the world. Finally, these units will require “force protection” by additional American troops.
To sum up, if all American combat troops ever are withdrawn, there still will remain 50,000 to 100,000 Americans involved in a low-visibility, dirty war in Iraq, just like those that involved death squads in Central America in the ’70s, or the earlier Phoenix program in South Vietnam, in which the Viet Cong infrastructure was decimated by assassinations and torture. Top American advisers in Baghdad today operated the El Salvador counter-insurgency and have praised the Phoenix program.
Along with these troops we have the same in Afghanistan, "trainers' in Pakistan, ops in Iran...

Let's be clear in our demand to END the war. Let's also listen closely and read between the lines of the candidates. After all, they are politicians and all that entails: half-truths to get elected yet not rock the boat for the real leaders of this nation (what did Ike call them - military-industrial complex).

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