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Deal close on U.S. exit

 

Troops would evacuate major Iraqi cities by June; broader pullout by 2011

 

By Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert Burns

Associated Press - Friday, Aug 22, 2008

 

BAGHDAD: Iraq and the U.S. pushed close to a deal Thursday, setting a course for American combat troops to pull out of major Iraqi cities by next June, with a broader withdrawal from the long and costly war by 2011.

 

Subject to final approval by the top Iraqi leadership, the exit date for U.S. troops would be December 2011, although the Americans insist on linking that target to additional security and political progress.

 

President Bush has long resisted a timetable for pulling out, even under heavy pressure from a nation distressed by American deaths and discouraged by the length of the war that began in 2003. But that has softened in recent weeks.

 

...SNIP...

 

http://www.ohio.com/news/top_stories/27264259.html

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Great news... as long as the Iraqis can fend for themselves.  We wouldn't want to "evacuate" cities that still need our help would we?  Don't like the word evacuate in that article... makes it sound like something bad is going on in those cities.

 

Now let's just pray that another dictator doesn't swoop in and take over the country... then we'd be back to square one!

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Still No Exit

 

Published: September 9, 2008

President Bush is nothing if not consistent. In a speech on Tuesday, he made it clear that he has no plan at all for ending the war in Iraq and no serious plan for winning the war in Afghanistan.

 

Mr. Bush wants to have it both ways — claiming success in tamping down violence in Iraq and yet refusing to make the hard choices that would flow from that.

 

Speaking at the National Defense University, he said he would withdraw only 8,000 more troops from Iraq by the time he leaves office. That would leave 138,000 troops behind — more than were deployed in Iraq before his January 2007 “surge.”

 

All of this seems to be driven more by what is happening in American battleground states than any battleground in Iraq.

 

While Mr. Bush and his party’s nominee, John McCain, both want to stay the course until some undefined “victory” is achieved, American voters have run out of patience. Mr. Bush and his advisers are clearly hoping that this token withdrawal will be enough to keep Iraq out of the news and out of the election debate. (Ironically, Mr. McCain who doesn’t want to withdraw any troops at all, had no choice but to declare his support for the president’s plan.)

 

 

...SNIP...

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/10/opinion/10wed1.html?ref=opinion

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Then we'd better move to the Middle East.

 

Let me provide you with a few images that explain why we're in the Middle East. Because few parts of America look like this anymore, yet our lifestyle is fueled as if it still did:

 

LAoil_field-1930s-SignalHill.jpg

 

LAoil_field-1930s-SignalHill2.jpg

 

LAoil_field-1930s-SignalHill3.jpg

 

LAoil_field-1930s-SignalHill4.jpg

 

That was Signal Hill above Long Beach, Calif. in the 1930s. But it could have been Western Pennsylvania, or Eastern Ohio, or West Texas, or lots of places in Oklahoma and increasingly a few places in Alaska. Instead, this is what Signal Hill looks like today....

 

LAoil_field-2000s-SignalHill.jpg

 

Yes, we can drill off-shore or in ANWR. But it will only slow domestic depletion rates. The Middle East is where it's at. So that's where America is at until either we get kicked out or the oil runs out.

 


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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U.S. threatens to halt services to Iraq without troop accord

By Roy Gutman and Leila Fadel | McClatchy Newspapers

BAGHDAD _ The U.S. military has warned Iraq that it will shut down military operations and other vital services throughout the country on Jan. 1 if the Iraqi government doesn't agree to a new agreement on the status of U.S. forces or a renewed United Nations mandate for the American mission in Iraq.

Many Iraqi politicians view the move as akin to political blackmail, a top Iraqi official told McClatchy Sunday.

 

In addition to halting all military actions, U.S. forces would cease activities that support Iraq’s economy, educational sector and other areas _ "everything" _ said Tariq al Hashimi, the country’s Sunni Muslim vice president. "I didn’t know the Americans are rendering such wide-scale services."

 

Hashimi said that Army Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, listed “tens” of areas of potential cutoffs in a three-page letter, and he said the implied threat caught Iraqi leaders by surprise.

 

...SNIP....

 

..more at link...

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/world/story/54795.html

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we freakin own that country. just take the oil to pay for everything already.

 

but better take it quick before obama gets in office!

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In addition to halting all military actions, U.S. forces would cease activities that support Iraq’s economy, educational sector and other areas _ "everything" _ said Tariq al Hashimi, the country’s Sunni Muslim vice president. "I didn’t know the Americans are rendering such wide-scale services."

 

And therein lies the problem. We're doing everything for that country, and it's completely taken for granted. I'm glad they made this ultimatum. It's a wake up call for the Iraqi government that they need to start figuring out just exactly how they're going to run this country when we're gone.

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What's scary is hearing about our recent airstrike in Syria, not to mention the potential for an all-out war with Iran.  That would stretch our military forces to the brink of exhaustion, and our boys - the ones specifically in Iraq and to a lesser degree Afghanistan - would be the ones jumping from one poorly conceived conflict to another.

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Iraq says it wants U.S. troops out by 2011

BY SAMEER N. YACOUB • ASSOCIATED PRESS • OCTOBER 30, 2008

 

BAGHDAD — Iraq wants to remove any possibility that U.S. troops could remain after 2011 from a proposed security agreement now under negotiation, a Shi'ite lawmaker close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said today.

 

The current draft would have U.S. soldiers leave Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011, unless the government asks them to stay to help with training or other missions.

 

But Ali al-Adeeb, a member of the prime minister’s inner circle, said the government wants that possibility removed.

 

“The Iraqi side wants to remove any mention of a possible extension of U.S. troops, fearing that the existing clause might be subjected to misinterpretation or could bear different interpretation because Multinational Forces might demand for extension depending on their evaluation of the security forces or the incomplete readiness of the Iraqi forces,” al-Adeeb told the Associated Press.

 

Read more: http://www.freep.com/article/20081030/NEWS07/81030052 

 

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we freakin own that country. just take the oil to pay for everything already.

 

but better take it quick before obama gets in office!

 

WOW, spoken like a TRUE American! LOL Lets illegal invade and occupy a country and then make them pay for our screw up by stealing their resources! 

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates: Military looks to accelerate Iraq pullout

 

http://www.kron4.com/Global/story.asp?S=9446210

 

Associated Press - December 2, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates is signaling a willingness to forge ahead with two key priorities for the incoming Obama administration: accelerating the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and shutting down the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

 

Gates, the only Republican Cabinet member asked to stay on by President-elect Barak Obama, says that military commanders are looking at ways to more quickly pull troops out of Iraq in light of the 16-month timetable that was a centerpiece of the Democrat's campaign.

 

He also says it will be a high priority to work with the new Congress on legislation that will enable the U.S. to close Guantanamo, where more than 200 detainees suspected of terrorism are still being held.

....

Gates softens opposition to 16-month Iraq timetable

 

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081202/pl_afp/uspoliticsobamamilitarygatesiraq_081202213249

 

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US Defense Secretary Robert Gates Tuesday softened his opposition to a 16-month timetable for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq advocated by president-elect Barack Obama.

 

"I am less concerned about that timetable," he told a news conference at the Pentagon a day after Obama announced Gates had agreed to stay on as defense secretary in a Democratic administration.

 

Gates emphasized that a status of forces agreement reached with Iraq already calls for the withdrawal of all US troops by the end of 2011.

 

While Obama had repeated his desire to get US combat troops out within 16 months, "he also said that he wanted to have a responsible drawdown. And he also said that he was prepared to listen to his commanders," Gates said.

 

"And it's within that framework that I think it is agreeable," he added.

 

Their differences over the pace of the drawdown has been a key question in what Gates acknowledged was a "unique" situation, noting that he is the first defense secretary ever to be kept on by a newly elected president.

 

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Gates Visits Iraq to Help Prepare for Troop Cuts

12-13-2008

 

BALAD, Iraq (AP) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged Middle East nations to support the fight against terror Saturday then traveled to Iraq to meet with commanders as the U.S. prepares to cut its troops levels and begin to pull forces out of the cities.

 

The unannounced visit to Iraq on Saturday comes as President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office and begin to implement what many expect will be an accelerated withdrawal of troops. During Obama's presidential campaign, he said he wanted combat troops out of Iraq in 16 months, but he has also said he would listen to the advice of his commanders on the ground.

 

A security agreement between the U.S. and Iraq mandates that combat forces leave the cities by next June, and leave Iraq in three years.

 

Earlier in Bahrain, Gates urged Middle East nations to help fight the spread of violent extremism by funding and training Afghan security forces and reaching out more aggressively to the fledgling government in Iraq.

 

Gates also assured the gathering of Persian Gulf leaders in Bahrain that Obama will continue the U.S. commitment to the Middle East, including efforts to fight terrorism and develop a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

 

And as the lone Republican holdover from the Bush Cabinet to the Obama team, Gates issued a public warning that any effort by terrorists to test the new administration would be a mistake because there has been extensive planning to ensure a smooth transition.

 

''Anyone who thought that the upcoming months might present opportunities to 'test' the new administration would be sorely mistaken,'' Gates said. ''President Obama and his national security team, myself included, will be ready to defend the interests of the United States and our friends and allies from the moment he takes office on Jan. 20.''

...more...

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2008/12/13/world/AP-ML-Gates.html?_r=1

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US-IRAQ: Generals Seek to Reverse Obama Withdrawal Decision

By Gareth Porter*

 

http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=45640

 

WASHINGTON, Feb 2 (IPS) - CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus, supported by Defence Secretary Robert Gates, tried to convince President Barack Obama that he had to back down from his campaign pledge to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 18 months at an Oval Office meeting Jan. 21.

 

But Obama informed Gates, Petraeus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen that he wasn't convinced and that he wanted Gates and the military leaders to come back quickly with a detailed 16-month plan, according to two sources who have talked with participants in the meeting.

--*--

I am trying to figure out what function Defense Secretary Gates has in determining this policy.  I am disgusted that these retired generals are trying to plot political retaliation against the president.

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There is a reason generals don't have final say on these issues.  We might still be at war in Asia if MacArthur had his way.  Bush's theory of "I'll do whatever my subordinates tell me is best" scared the daylights out of me.  Those guys are generals-- their answer will never be to stop the war.  We need commanders with that kind of thinking, but we need different thinking at the absolute top.

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US-IRAQ: Generals Seek to Reverse Obama Withdrawal Decision

I am trying to figure out what function Defense Secretary Gates has in determining this policy.  I am disgusted that these retired generals are trying to plot political retaliation against the president.

 

Yeah, sort of like Wesley Clark!!

 

There is a reason generals don't have final say on these issues.   We need commanders with that kind of thinking, but we need different thinking at the absolute top.

 

I agree completely, but I still believe it would be a mistake to set a deadline when things are going so well.

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There is a reason generals don't have final say on these issues. We might still be at war in Asia if MacArthur had his way. Bush's theory of "I'll do whatever my subordinates tell me is best" scared the daylights out of me. Those guys are generals-- their answer will never be to stop the war. We need commanders with that kind of thinking, but we need different thinking at the absolute top.

 

MacArthur had requested that we use 5 nukes or so on different Chinese cities back in the 50s.

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Yes and no.  We had just won overseas on offense, but Russia had just won at home on defense.  I'm not sure Germany had softened them up enough for us to just roll through.  It would have been interesting.

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Although this is really steering away from Iraq, marching on Russia would have been suicide. Nobody in the modern age beats them at home.

 

Nuking China? MacArthur would be insane to propose that. We'd get nuked later...karma is a bitch, unless you bomb Japan. Then you become strong trading partners, and buy their electronics and automobiles. I'm amazed the Japanese don't hate us. After WW2, it's actually amazing that the United States rebuilt a relationship with Japan and Germany. sh!t, Dresden?

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Japan is still shell shocked from the bomb.  The explanation we used to justify it would not have worked on China, nor would it have worked on 5 more bombs anywhere.  I don't think it worked in Japan, long term.  It makes things much more difficult when we argue against the same practice: killing civilians in a shocking manner to induce military and policital surrender.

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March 16, 2010 | 8:11 am

 

Iraq remains fragile but is on course to allow the United States to decrease its presence as planned to 50,000 troops by September, the top U.S. soldier who oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan told senators on Tuesday.

...

While there could be some reconfiguration of the U.S. troops in Iraq, Petraeus said he expected the military would be able to meet its goal of decreasing its presence, now at about 97,000.

 

“We still believe we will be able to stay on track to reach 50,000,” Petraeus said in response to a question from Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

 

...more...

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dcnow/2010/03/us-military-decrease-from-iraq-remain-on-schedule-top-general-says.html

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Isn't it funny how ever since Obama took office that the outcry to bring the troops home has become virtually silent? I wonder why. Is Code Pink on sabbatical?

Hey Don, apparently you didn't get the message that "they are coming home".  It is in the article that I posted at the top of the page.  The posting right before you posted

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Washington Post

 

BAGHDAD -- The U.S. military is on track to draw down to 50,000 troops in Iraq by the end of the summer, but it now faces the long-dreaded prospect that its exit could coincide with a power vacuum similar to the one that drove the country to civil war in 2006.

 

Approaching what it calls the end of its combat mission in Iraq, the U.S. military will maintain substantial firepower here for the near future. But it will have to adjust to waning resources, influence, mobility and money like never before. And it will be drawing down amid a political standoff in the wake of the March 7 parliamentary elections that has no end in sight.

 

American commanders are watching the sluggish government formation process closely and warily. The risks are high, with U.S. and Iraqi military commanders expressing fears ranging from a possible resurgence of Shiite militias to the splintering of security forces along sectarian lines.

 

But the Obama administration has so far stuck to its timeline that calls for a drawdown to 50,000 troops -- roughly half the current total -- by Sept. 1, and the complete pullout of U.S. forces by the end of 2011. It has also disappointed some Iraqis who would like to see Washington play a more assertive role in brokering the political impasse.

...more...

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/13/AR2010051305655.html

 

Bush's disasterousand divisive political experiment is finally coming to an end.  And I mean divisive in the United States.  We would have never departed if we had had Mccain or Giuliani in the White House.

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and pulling out the troops will become Obama's disaster.

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64F0SJ20100516

 

Al Qaeda's Iraq network replaces slain leaders

 

Sun May 16, 2010

 

Iraq's Qaeda names new "war minister", vows attacks

Al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate has appointed new leaders to replace senior commanders killed by U.S. and Iraqi forces, after naming a "war minister" who threatened bloody days for the country's majority Shi'ites.

 

In a statement published on jihadist websites on Saturday, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) said its governing council had selected Abu Baker al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Qurashi as its caliph, or head, and Abu Abdullah al-Hassani al-Qurashi as his deputy and first minister.

 

The names were most likely noms de guerre rather than the operatives' real names.

 

"We ask God to help them make the right decisions, provide them with good followers who ask and urge them to do good, and prevent them from wrong doing," the statement said.

 

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