US mulling option for 3000 troops to remain in Iraq
September 6th, 2011
06:27 PM ET

US mulling option for 3000 troops to remain in Iraq

By Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr

Despite adamant statements that no final decisions have been made about future U.S. troop levels in Iraq, discussions within the administration have included a potential option for keeping just 3,000 forces there beginning next year, according to a senior Pentagon official.

The official emphasized strongly that no final decisions have been made and that discussions with the Iraqis continue. He suggested strongly that the 3,000 number was the low end of any "prudent planning" and if approved by both sides would only allow for minimal training to take place.

There are currently more than 40,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. The current agreement is for all troops to withdraw by year's end. However, the U.S. expects the Iraqis to request some U.S. troops to remain to aid in training and security.

A senior defense official told CNN, "Any kind of post-2011 presence would have to be agreed to by the Iraqis. The discussions with the Iraqis have hardly gotten off the ground, so anyone who says they know precisely how many, if any, U.S. troops will remain in Iraq beyond the end of the year is speculating."

The 3,000 figure was originally reported by Fox News, which said it was signed off on by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The official CNN spoke to said he was unaware of Panetta signing off on any troop numbers.

Panetta's spokesman, George Little, denied any decision had been made on troop levels in Iraq.

"Discussions with the Iraqis on our post-2011 strategic relationship are ongoing, and no decisions on troop levels have been made. We continue to proceed with troops withdrawals as directed by the president," Little said in a statement.

For his part, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stuck to the message Tuesday, saying the U.S. presence come 2012 will depend on the will of the Iraqis.

"With regards to what our presence will look like on that, that is going to be a subject of negotiations with Iraqis," Panetta told media traveling with him to the 9/11 memorial in New York. "I can't give you a number or tell you what that number looks like. It's going to have to be part of the negotiations."

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein thinks it's a "mistake" to reduce the troop level to 3,000 at this time. She says recent attacks by "new groups" need to be stopped first.

"I think it's too fast," said Feinstein, D-California told CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett. "There are some serious things going on there that need to be stopped."

The report of the low figure being considered also sparked criticism from Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who supported the 2007 surge of troops that helped turn the momentum around in Iraq, as well as Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina.

"This is dramatically lower than what our military leaders have consistently told us over the course of repeated visits to Iraq that they require, and that is needed to support Iraq in safeguarding the hard-won gains that our two nations have achieved at such great cost," the senators said in a statement. "We are very concerned by the prospect that a follow-on force might lack the capabilities and authorities necessary to help Iraqis ensure stability across the disputed territories in northern Iraq, which we consider an essential mission."

The Pentagon official said the U.S. planning involves estimating what military tasks the Iraqis may want help with and then calculating how many troops it would take to accomplish those missions. Any troop number would have to be agreed to by both sides.

U.S. officials have long said they believe Iraq may need help with training, counter terrorism, air defense, command and control and intelligence operations. Any U.S. troops remaining to do those jobs might also need additional security forces.


Filed under: Iraq • Military • Panetta
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  4. rajeev

    http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=report_card_on_civil_liberties

    September 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Reply
  5. rajeev

    Report Card on Civil Liberties
    Obama pledged to reject the Bush administration’s fast-and-loose adherence to constitutional rights. How is he doing?

    During his inauguration speech, President Barack Obama declared, “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” These were words many Americans who voted for Obama longed to hear—an acknowledgement that American security could not be purchased by shredding the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

    In these first few months, the Obama administration has taken a number of positions on issues relating to civil liberties and the fight against terrorism. Below, we look at how the administration has handled its commitment to reversing the policies of the previous administration.

    Interrogation
    On Jan. 22, 2009, two days after having taken office, Obama issued an executive order instructing all agents of the U.S. government to follow interrogation procedures outlined in the Army Field Manual, which bans the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques.” The executive order states plainly that individuals in U.S. custody shall “in all circumstances be treated humanely and shall not be subjected to violence to life and person (including murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment, and torture), nor to outrages upon personal dignity (including humiliating and degrading treatment).”

    This is a marked change from the Bush administration’s guidelines, which held that the “executive branch’s constitutional authority to protect the nation from attack” trumped all legal and treaty obligations governing how detainees should be treated. The Bush administration’s definition of torture “was so narrow as to allow almost anything,” according to Ken Gude, an expert on human rights and international law at the Center for American Progress.

    “This is the one area where I think we’ve seen the most change. There will be no gray areas; we’ve got a pretty clear standard,” Gude says. By instructing adherence to the Field Manual, the administration has signaled “there will be no attempt to redefine language to allow things that people would generally consider torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

    Verdict: Change we can believe in.

    Rendition
    The same executive order that banned “enhanced interrogation” techniques also ordered the CIA to close the infamous “black sites” where detainees were interrogated and held without trial. It also prohibited the transfer of individuals to other countries to face torture, or transfers with the “purpose or effect” of undermining the United States’ obligation to “ensure the humane treatment of individuals in its custody or control.”

    On April 9, CIA Director Leon Panetta issued a memo to Congress confirming that the black sites had in fact been closed but that the CIA retains the authority to detain individuals solely “on a short-term transitory basis.” Gude explains that there is a difference between “extraordinary rendition,” the process by which detainees were rendered to CIA “black sites” or to other third countries where they would likely be tortured, and “rendition,” which is the transfer of detainees outside the normal extradition process. The purpose of extraordinary rendition, Gude says, is to keep suspects outside of the justice system, while the purpose of rendition is to transfer them into a country where they can be tried for their alleged crimes.

    “The Obama administration has ceased the process of extraordinary rendition, but rendition exists as an option,” Gude says, adding that it is not necessarily a bad thing. “There are times when it’s not feasible for governments to follow the traditional extradition process, simply because cooperation between the United States and another government is not always possible.”

    On the other hand, the American Civil Liberties Union’s Jonathan Hafetz who has acted as counsel in several cases involving terrorism detainees, cautions that even the CIA’s limited detention authority may still lead to problems. “The suggestion that the CIA has authority to conduct extrajudicial handovers to foreign governments is ambiguous and troubling, as is the statement that the CIA can still conduct ‘transitory’ detentions.”

    Verdict: Change for the better, but questions remain.

    Enemy Combatants/Detention Authority
    The Bush administration took the term “enemy combatant” from a 1942 Supreme Court ruling, which upheld the military’s authority to try several German saboteurs under military commissions during World War II. The Bush administration employed the designation to prevent detainees from seeking rights that they would be entitled to either as criminal suspects or prisoners of war.

    In March, the Obama administration abandoned the use of the designation “enemy combatant” without relinquishing the authority to indefinitely detain individuals captured anywhere in the world without trial or charges. The only difference is that the Obama administration asserts that said authority comes from Congress’ 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force, rather than the president’s “inherent” authority as commander in chief. The administration wrote that it would only detain those who were “part of” or had provided “substantial support” to terrorist groups, but it did not clearly define what constitutes “substantial support.”

    Last Friday, the Obama administration doubled down on this claim of authority when it appealed a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John Bates that held detainees at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan who were captured in a third country are entitled to challenge their detention in civilian courts. “The courts are there as a check on the expansive claims of executive authority by any administration,” says Sahr Muhammedally, a senior associate at Human Rights First. Muhammedally also cautions that detaining prisoners indefinitely without access to courts “is not the way to win the hearts and minds and cooperation of local Afghans.”

    “The Obama administration’s abandonment of the term ‘enemy combatants’ for detainees at Guantánamo is largely window dressing. The administration thus far has continued to assert the legal authority to detain individuals indefinitely without charges based on the idea of a global ‘war on terrorism,’” Hafetz says. “It has not abandoned the military paradigm that helped lead to the widespread abuses of power during the prior administration.”

    Verdict: More of the same.

    Military Commissions
    In the executive orders issued just after he took office, President Obama ordered a halt to the military commissions set up to try detainees at Guantánamo Bay. The commissions were widely criticized by civil libertarians, legal experts, and even military lawyers.

    Lt. Col. Darrel J. Vandeveld was a prosecutor assigned to the Mohamed Jawad case before a Guantánamo military commission. Jawad was accused of throwing a grenade at an American convoy in Afghanistan. Vandeveld resigned in September 2008 after he felt the government had suppressed exculpatory evidence. Vandeveld concluded in a statement that “the chaotic state of the evidence, overly broad and unnecessary restrictions imposed under the guise of national security, and the absence of any systematic, reliable method of preserving and cataloguing evidence … make it impossible for anyone involved (the prosecutors) or caught up (the detainees) in the Commissions to harbor even the remotest hope that justice is an achievable goal.”

    “The administration needs to make a clear break with the past and make clear that treating terrorist suspects through the civilian criminal-justice system is not simply an option but a requirement under our laws and Constitution,” the ACLU’s Hafetz says.

    Eugene Fidell, a military-law expert who teaches at Yale, told the Prospect in February that the military commissions “don’t engender public confidence here, much less abroad, and it’s time to finish them off.”

    The Obama administration is currently reviewing the status of all Guantánamo detainees, but it has not come to a conclusion as to how it will deal with those it believes are guilty of crimes. However, the administration’s decision to appeal Judge Bates’ ruling doesn’t bode well for the future.

    Verdict: Inconclusive.

    State Secrets
    During the election, Obama criticized the secrecy of the Bush administration, noting that it had invoked the “state secrets” privilege to dismiss entire lawsuits relating to warrantless surveillance, torture, and extraordinary rendition. In a written response to questions from Sen. Russ Feingold, Attorney General Eric Holder pledged to “ensure that the United States invokes the state secrets privilege only in legally appropriate situations.”

    Since taking office, the Obama administration has invoked the state-secrets privilege in three cases: Jewel v. NSA and Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama, both involving the constitutionality of the government’s warrantless surveillance program; and Mohammed v. Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., in which five men who were subject to extraordinary rendition are suing a Boeing subsidiary that they allege participated in their transfer to countries where they were tortured.

    “The Obama administration campaigned hard on getting rid of the excessive secrecy of the Bush administration, so it’s very disappointing to see them take the same line on state secrets,” says Cindy Cohen of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “I think a lot of people voted for Obama on the hopes that he would take a different position.”

    Two members of the administration, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, signed on to a bill in 2008 that would regulate the use of the privilege by giving judges authority on what constitutes a state secret. The bill was reintroduced in February by Feingold and Sens. Patrick Leahy, Arlen Specter, and Ted Kennedy. There is no word yet as to whether Obama will sign the bill if passed.

    Verdict: More of the same.

    Surveillance
    Separate from the Obama administration’s continued abuse of the state-secrets privilege is the “sovereign immunity” the administration asserted in documents filed in the Jewel v. NSA case. Sovereign immunity is the idea that the state cannot be sued unless it consents to the suit. The Bush administration had previously invoked “sovereign immunity” arguments to block judicial scrutiny of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act cases, but the Obama administration went further, arguing that the government is essentially immune from lawsuits involving wiretapping under any circumstances. In its motion to dismiss the lawsuit, the administration writes, “Congress expressly preserved sovereign immunity against claims for damages and equitable relief, permitting such claims against only a ‘person or entity, other than the United States.’”

    This argument is “extremely troubling,” Cohen says. “It means that even in a regular lawsuit, not involving terror but involving the government tapping you illegally, you would not be able to sue them.”

    “The Obama administration is arguing instead that you can only sue the government when they disclose a wiretap that was supposed to remain secret,” Cohen continues. “The only protection the American people have is when the government decides it’s done something wrong.” What’s the likelihood of that?

    Verdict: Cheney on Red Bull.

    General Disclosure
    In March, Attorney General Holder issued new guidelines for Freedom of Information Act requests, directing the Department of Justice to err on the side of disclosure. The department would defend a refusal to disclose only if the disclosure could cause foreseeable harm to national security or law-enforcement interests or if disclosing the information is illegal. By contrast, the Justice Department under Bush erred on the side of not disclosing documents whenever legally possible. In early March, Holder released nine previously secret Bush-era memos from the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in response to FOIA litigation from the ACLU and other organizations. Among the memos was one written by John Yoo, which concluded that the president could ignore constitutional protections when fighting terrorism, even when it comes to American citizens.

    Despite Holder’s positive moves on FOIA requests, the administration has nevertheless invoked the state-secrets doctrine several times to avoid judicial scrutiny of government behavior. A huge test of the Obama administration’s commitment to transparency comes today, the deadline for the administration to disclose another set of three memos written by Steven G. Bradbury, former head of the OLC. The deadline has been extended several times—the administration agreed to disclose a fourth memo authored by former OLC lawyer Jay Bybee in exchange for the latest extension. Michael Isikoff reported in Newsweek that former Bush administration officials, as well as CIA Chief Leon Panetta and Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan, have been fighting disclosure. Scott Horton also reported for The Daily Beast that congressional Republicans were attempting to prevent disclosure of the memos by filibustering Obama’s legal appointments.

    Whether the administration meets this deadline is a key signal for civil-liberties groups, says Jameel Jaffer of the ACLU. “The Obama administration is going to have to decide whether they’re going to live up to their commitment on transparency or whether they’re going to cover up the Bush administration’s crimes.”

    Verdict: Inconclusive.

    September 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  6. rajeev

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    September 11, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Reply
  7. rajeev

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Snuf60-urSs&w=640&h=390]

    September 11, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Reply
  8. rajeev

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHvHfnx6Q1Y&w=640&h=390]

    September 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Reply
  9. rajeev

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GW8bgeyYs&w=640&h=390]

    September 11, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Reply
  10. Michael

    http://birdie-with-a-defect.blogspot.com/2011/08/world-can-be-different-we-just-have-to.html

    I think this gives a better perspective to the motivations of why we are staying over there.

    September 11, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  11. CharlieSeattle

    Security for the Afgan government..... as the Iraqi Army is fife with turncoats.

    September 10, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  12. rajeev

    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has released a new report for the 10th anniversary of the 2001 September 11 attacks.

    The report, "A Call to Courage: Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years after 9/11", examines the changes in national security and intelligence policy since 9/11 and the related effects on civil liberties and privacy.

    The report consists of four different sections:

    The first section entitled, "Everywhere and Forever War", discusses the American perceptions of the global "war on terror" and National security.

    The second section, "A Cancer on Our Legal System", examines intelligence and interrogation policy subsequent to September 11, 2001.

    The third section, "Fracturing Our 'More Perfect Union'", details how tendencies toward racial and religious profiling have evolved and increased since 9/11.

    The last section, "A Massive and Unchecked Surveillance Society", presents information on governmental intelligence gathering and surveillance policy.

    The report states that it is "'A Call to Courage' for American people to demand that our leaders respond to national security challenges with our values, our unity – and yes, our courage – intact."

    September 10, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  13. rajeev

    ACLU Report: “A Call to Courage: Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years After 9/11”

    NEW YORK – A decade after the September 11th attacks, the United States is at risk of enshrining a permanent state of emergency in which the nation’s core values are subordinated to ever-expanding claims of national security, the American Civil Liberties Union warns in a new report released today.

    “A Call to Courage: Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years After 9/11,” shows how sacrificing America’s values – including justice, individual liberty and the rule of law – ultimately undermines the country’s safety. “It is our fundamental values that are the very foundation of our strength and security,” the report says.

    “We have titled it ‘A Call to Courage,’ because we believe that a defining element of our national identity – embodied in our national anthem’s pairing of ‘the land of the free’ with ‘the home of the brave’ – has been imperiled by our leaders’ promotion of (or capitulation to) a politics of fear,” the report explains.

    It challenges the contention that the U.S. is engaged in a “war on terror” that takes place everywhere and will last forever, and that therefore counterterrorism measures cannot be balanced against any other considerations such as maintaining civil liberties. America has become an international legal outlier in invoking the right to use lethal force and indefinite military detention outside battle zones, the report says, and these policies have hampered the international fight against terrorism by straining relations with allies and handing a propaganda tool to enemies.

    Taking on the legacy of the Bush administration’s torture policy, the report warns that the lack of accountability leaves the door open to future abuses. “Our nation’s official record of this era will show numerous honors to those who authorized torture – including a Presidential Medal of Freedom – and no recognition for those, like the Abu Ghraib whistleblower, who rejected and exposed it,” it notes.

    The report details how profiling based on race and religion has become commonplace nationwide, with the results of such approaches showing just how wrong and ineffective those practices are. “Targeting the American Muslim community for counterterrorism investigation is counterproductive because it diverts attention and resources that ought to be spent on individuals and violent groups that actually pose a threat,” the report says. “By allowing – and in some cases actively encouraging – the fear of terrorism to divide Americans by religion, race, and belief, our political leaders are fracturing this nation’s greatest strength: its ability to integrate diverse strands into a unified whole on the basis of shared, pluralistic, democratic values.”

    Concluding with the massive expansion of surveillance since 9/11, the report delves into the many ways the government now spies on Americans without any suspicion of wrongdoing, from warrantless wiretapping to cell phone location tracking – but with little to show for it. “The reality is that as governmental surveillance has become easier and less constrained, security agencies are flooded with junk data, generating thousands of false leads that distract from real threats,” the report says.

    The report points out that many controversial policies have been shrouded in secrecy under the rubric of national security, preventing oversight and examination by the public. “We look to our leaders and our institutions, our courts and our Congress, to guide us towards a better way, and it is now up to the American people to demand that our leaders respond to national security challenges with our values, our unity – and yes, our courage – intact.”

    A Call to Courage is available online at:
    http://www.aclu.org/calltocourage

    More information on the 9/11 anniversary is available at:
    http://www.aclu.org/9-11-anniversary

    September 10, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  14. rajeev

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEF3QCmRF8o&w=640&h=390]

    September 10, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  15. rajeev

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN3t5wZEiyc&w=640&h=390]

    September 10, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  16. rajeev

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDh2hfOc_lk&w=640&h=390]

    September 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  17. rajeev

    http://www.aclu.org/national-security/report-call-courage-reclaiming-our-liberties-ten-years-after-911

    Ten years after 9/11, the ACLU joins all Americans in remembering the unspeakable losses suffered on that tragic day. The 10th anniversary of 9/11 provides an opportunity to reflect on the turbulent decade behind us, and to recommit ourselves to values that define our nation, including justice, due process, and the rule of law.

    In the early days after the attacks, we were reminded that America is not only the land of the free, but also the home of the brave. On the evening of attacks, President Bush addressed the nation, and stated, “Our country is strong. Terrorist acts can shake the foundation of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America.”

    We could not have imagined that in the decade to follow, our country would engage in policies that directly defied American values and undermined our Constitution. We lost our way when, instead of addressing the challenge of terrorism consistent with our values, our government chose the path of torture and targeted killing, of Guantánamo and military commissions, of warrantless government spying and the entrenchment of a national surveillance state, all of which now define the post-9/11-era. That is not who we are, or who we want to be.

    Ten years later, our nation still faces the challenge of remaining both safe and free.

    The way forward lies in decisively turning our backs on the policies and practices that violate our greatest strength: our Constitution and the commitment it embodies to the rule of law. It is that strength which is the best rejoinder our nation has to violence and to those who advocate it. Liberty and security do not compete in a zero-sum game; our freedoms are the very foundation of our strength and security. Consistent application of the law is what ensures that practices don't change simply because of a change in the White House.

    Our choice is not between safety and freedom; in fact it is our fundamental values that are the very foundation of our strength and security.

    Everywhere And Forever War

    The report begins with an examination of the contention that the U.S. is engaged in a "war on terror" that takes place everywhere and will last forever, and that therefore counterterrorism measures cannot be balanced against any other considerations such as maintaining civil liberties. The report states that the United States has become an international legal outlier in invoking the right to use lethal force and indefinite military detention outside battle zones, and that these policies have hampered the international fight against terrorism by straining relations with allies and handing a propaganda tool to enemies.

    A Cancer On Our Legal System

    Taking on the legacy of the Bush administration's torture policy, the report warns that the lack of accountability leaves the door open to future abuses. "Our nation's official record of this era will show numerous honors to those who authorized torture – including a Presidential Medal of Freedom – and no recognition for those, like the Abu Ghraib whistleblower, who rejected and exposed it," it notes.

    Fracturing Our “More Perfect Union”

    The report details how profiling based on race and religion has become commonplace nationwide, with the results of such approaches showing just how wrong and ineffective those practices are. "Targeting the American Muslim community for counterterrorism investigation is counterproductive because it diverts attention and resources that ought to be spent on individuals and violent groups that actually pose a threat," the report says. "By allowing – and in some cases actively encouraging – the fear of terrorism to divide Americans by religion, race, and belief, our political leaders are fracturing this nation’s greatest strength: its ability to integrate diverse strands into a unified whole on the basis of shared, pluralistic, democratic values."

    A Massive and Unchecked Surveillance Society

    Concluding with the massive expansion of surveillance since 9/11, the report delves into the many ways the government now spies on Americans without any suspicion of wrongdoing, from warrantless wiretapping to cell phone location tracking – but with little to show for it. "The reality is that as governmental surveillance has become easier and less constrained, security agencies are flooded with junk data, generating thousands of false leads that distract from real threats," the report says.

    “A Call to Courage” points out that many controversial policies have been shrouded in secrecy under the rubric of national security, preventing oversight and examination by the public. "We look to our leaders and our institutions, our courts and our Congress, to guide us towards a better way, and it is now up to the American people to demand that our leaders respond to national security challenges with our values, our unity – and yes, our courage – intact."

    September 10, 2011 at 11:37 am | Reply
  18. rajeev

    http://www.alternet.org/story/152320/empire_of_chaos%3A_how_9_11_shaped_the_politics_of_a_failing_state/

    Empire of Chaos: How 9/11 Shaped the Politics of a Failing State

    The neoconservative ideas that shaped the war on terror have evaporated as the United States is battered by an economic depression that shows no end.

    The events made my mind reel. The angry plumes of smoke, office paper raining like confetti, tumbling windows flashing in the sunlight. I could make out jumpers and watched a jet fighter whoosh by the burning towers, bank and disappear. I thought, “This is like a movie.”

    It upset me that my only way to comprehend the events was to reference the Hollywood imaginarium. But it was understandable. Where else would I have seen images resembling the war in my backyard – collapsing skyscrapers, gigantic fireballs and thousands of dead?

    The need to make sense of the events of Sept. 11 – the plot by al-Qaeda, four hijacked airliners, the demolished twin towers and nearly 3,000 dead – is universal. It is why the state’s first task after 9/11 – before one bomb dropped, one soldier deployed – was to imprint the “war on terror” on the collective American mindset.

    Mere hours after the attack, in his address to the nation, President Bush began assembling the ideological scaffolding for endless war: “America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world”; “our nation saw evil”; “the American economy will be open for business”; “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them”; and “we stand together to win the war against terrorism.”

    Many of the ideas that have shaped the events and policies of the first decade of the war on terror are right there: American exceptionalism, they hate us for our freedoms, capitalism will triumph, and this war will know no geographic or temporal bounds.

    These ideas were bundled into the “New American Century,” the neoconservative dream to extend Pax Americana indefinitely. Ten years later that dream has evaporated as the United States is being battered by an economic depression that shows no end. The only question appears to be how quickly America will be eclipsed by China. So how did we get from the triumphalism of “mission accomplished” to the twilight of American Empire?

    In essence, the responses to 9/11 by the managers of the corporate-military state, which were largely shaped by ideology, have accelerated a decline that started decades ago. After World War II, U.S. hegemony was based on its ability to order the world. Today, U.S. power is dominant but waning, and its main effect is that of disorder – internationally and domestically. And that disorder is eroding the military, economic, political and diplomatic foundations of its rule.

    While there is no certainty that China will usher in a Pacific Century – in the 1980s it was “the Japan threat” that generated U.S. anxiety – American Empire will continue to decay if for no other reason than its economic base has been hollowed out and new power blocs are taking shape across the world.

    After WWII, the United States wielded all manner of institutions and ideology in establishing global rule: the Bretton Woods Agreement ordered the world economy, the dollar was the reserve currency, the United Nations legitimized undemocratic big-power rule, the Pentagon and threat of nuclear weapons served as the instruments of violence, the transnational corporation combined with U.S. government aid opened and created new capitalist markets, and anti-Communism undermined and isolated mass anti-capitalist forces in the West. Finally, the compact between capital and labor provided for social welfare, generous benefits and increasing wages so workers could enjoy the consumer bounty in return for purging the left from unions and helping squelch labor movements in the Third World.

    By the 1970s that system was fraying. The wealth held by the top 1 percent was plunging because of economic stagnation in the core capitalist economies. Relatively generous social welfare states in the West combined with demands from radicalized minority groups and women for a share of the pie plus assertive decolonized nations in the Third World were squeezing capital.

    Neoliberalism was the solution, and Ronald Reagan sold it with slogans like “government is the problem.” But Americans first had to buy the idea that freedom flowed organically from the market, and that government’s role was to maximize opportunity – by “getting out of the way” – so we could succeed or fail by our own initiative.

    For all the talk about the rule of markets, neoliberalism was about an upward transfer of wealth. By 1990 wealth and income for the super-rich was near pre-WWII levels. And government was central to that the wealth transfer by imposing austerity on Third World countries, bombing rogue states back into submission, policing and surveilling the domestic front, and perhaps most important, bailing out capital due to the endemic financial bubbles unleashed by deregulation.

    Social welfare drew the ire of neoliberal ideologues, which is ironic because that is precisely what would level a grossly slanted playing field. Reagan, America’s avuncular bigot, traded in stereotypes like teenage mothers, welfare cheats, gangbangers and illegal immigrants. He spun yarns about welfare queens driving Cadillacs, “strapping young bucks” buying T-bone steaks with food stamps and social programs that were “demeaning” and “insulting” to Blacks and Latinos. His rose-colored racism helped convince a critical mass of the public that hacking away at social welfare was somehow in their interest, not that of the oligarchy.

    Similarly, the war on terror needed its own brand of white supremacist ideology. Hollywood did its part before Sept. 11 with hundreds of movies replete with Orientalist imagery, as documented in books like Reel Bad Arabs. One writer observed about the popular image of the Arab, “He is robed and turbaned, sinister and dangerous, engaged mainly in hijacking airlines and blowing up public buildings.”

    Other ideas found new currency after 9/11 like the “clash of civilizations” thesis. Bush could not endorse it outright, needing the support of Arab and Muslim states to wage global war, but he gave it credence by speaking of “a struggle for civilization” involving a fight “between tyranny and freedom.” With Obama in the White House, the right no longer has to worry about the consequences of acting irresponsibly, and many have unabashedly donned the mantle of Islamophobia, the barnyard version of the clash of civilizations.

    It has long been a given that the war on terror is a meaningless phrase – how do you wage war on an abstract noun? – but that abstraction is useful. It obscures the concreteness of this war, that it is waged against Muslim people. And warring against an idea rather than a movement, a people, a nation enables the war to continue endlessly. The killing of bin Laden was just another way marker. Hilary Clinton proclaimed, “the battle to stop al-Qaeda and its syndicate of terror will not end with the death of bin Laden. [We must] redouble our efforts.”

    Another pernicious idea is “everything changed.” It assumes American exceptionalism. Everything could have changed only if the United States was the only country that mattered. All at once, it denies history, marks a closing of “the end of history” – the alleged triumph of the market and liberal democracy – and restarts the historical clock anew.

    Everything changed really meant nothing had changed except the complete unshackling of state power. The latest renewal of the Patriot Act, until 2015, retains the National Security letters, roving wiretaps, sweeping record gathering and “lone wolf” provisions. Direct military spending now in excess of $1 trillion annually combined with domestic austerity is whittling down the state to purely repressive functions of policing, surveillance, detention and war. The United States is openly bombing six countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. It has deployed Special Operations forces to 75 countries as part of “a largely secret U.S. war against al-Qaeda and other radical groups,” according to theWashington Post. And it continues to expand its global network of rendition, secret prisons and torture.

    The forces of the state, corporate interests and their propagandists in academia and the media undoubtedly had a tremendous of amount of power to popularize the post-9/11 mindset, especially given how it was underpinned by racist narratives and an imperial system. But it’s easy to forget there was a popular and viable counter-narrative before 9/11.

    The mass protests that derailed the WTO ministerial in Seattle in 1999 marked a coming out moment for the alter-globalization movement. It was a true global phenomenon, it proclaimed “another world is possible,” and it had capitalist globalization on the defensive ideologically and in the streets.

    The reality that neoliberalism benefited an elite few, while the rest of humanity coped with the social and ecological devastation, was inspiring tens of thousands to nonviolently shut down meetings of institutions like the WTO, IMF and G-8 that regulate the global capitalist order.

    The World Bank-IMF meeting for late September 2001 in Washington, D.C., had been cancelled ahead of time (according to an inside source) because it was decided police forces would be unable to control the tens of thousands of people expected in the streets. Organizers were preparing to take the fight directly to capital with a global day of action against multiple stock exchanges in November 2001. Another reminder of elite fear at the time was that the New York Times speculated that anarchists were behind the 9/11 hijackings and attacks.

    Thus, 9/11 was a godsend for Empire. It could construct a harsher authoritarian order at home and embark on a “New American Century” overseas. There was nothing pre-ordained about this, particularly the rapid collapse of the U.S.-based alter-globalization movement. But there was a logic to it.

    Market fundamentalism is a centrifugal force. We live in a society where profit and cost-benefit analysis dominate social relations – just look at what is happening to public education. Subjecting everything to market forces tears apart the social forces the state relies upon to rule, like nation, community, kinship and spirituality. As the social order started to fragment by the 1970s, a social glue was needed, which is provided by neoconservatives. David Harvey explains in A Brief History of Neoliberalism that the neocons promote a militarized order as the solution to the chaos of the market, and they seek to restore “higher-order values that will form the stable center of the body politics” such as cultural nationalism, family values and Evangelical Christianity. This reliance on a militarized order, argues Harvey, makes the neocons tend to highlight external threats real or perceived, which justifies and expands the corporate-military state.

    The Cold War ideology was the free market, democratic liberalism and anti-communism. The post-9/11 ideology updates the militarization and moralism with new categories such as the war on terror, everything’s changed and Islamophobia. It’s remarkably crude – “they hate us for our freedoms” – but it works.

    Far from reviving Empire abroad or the economy at home, the war on terror has sapped American power. The obvious beneficiary is China, but it lacks the tools of global rule that the United States still possesses, especially the Pentagon and the dollar, but it is catching up economically.

    As evidenced by the global economic rut, China’s hybrid system of authoritarian state-organized capitalism has proved far more resilient than the U.S. system of predatory private corporations. China can enter cutting-edge markets like high-speed rail, solar panel, wind turbine and lithium battery manufacturing and through use of robust state subsidies and planning become the world leader in all of them in barely a decade.

    Despite the growing Sinophobia, shown by the hand-wringing over Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, China is in no position to challenge U.S. hegemony. Other than Russia, major regional powers like Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and India are in the American camp. China is spreading around its currency, the Renminbi, for settling international trade, but it will likely take decades to supplant the U.S. dollar and Treasury securities. The United Nations may be moribund, but Washington can still bend it to its needs most of the time, and China’s military is decades behind the Pentagon. Perhaps most important, China does not offer a social order that differs in how work, public, educational and community life are organized, and in fact has adopted many of the harshest practices of 19th century capitalism.

    At the same time, the United States is unable to order the world so that social benefits are disbursed to the middle classes not just the upper crust. It can spread disorder as evidenced by the six countries tormented by America’s video-game bombing campaigns, but it’s ability to conquer and rule on land is minimal given the Iraq and Afghanistan quagmires. Its control of the skies, outer space and electronic mediums allows it to disrupt but not to dominate.

    This has given rise to new power configurations. Latin America’s left turn had made the IMF irrelevant in that region, undermining the U.S.-organized financial order. The Arab Spring has eroded the U.S. political order in the Middle East and gives lie to the Orientalist ideology that Arab and Muslim nations are irrational, violent and backward. Turkey and Egypt are pulling away from being Israel’s watchdogs and provide a buffer against a U.S.-orchestrated attack on Iran. And the spread of popular public occupations now to Europe echoes the period when another world did seem possible. Another hopeful sign is that more U.S.-based organizing is opting for occupations rather than legal, polite and ineffective protests.

    The disorder is felt profoundly on the home front. Beginning in the 1980s IMF austerity was for the periphery – from Latin America to East Asia. The austerity has now moved to Greece, Ireland, Spain, Great Britain and the United States. The ideology is the same here as it is in the Third World: when choosing between the health of bondholders and the health of human societies, the bondholders always win and profits must keep flowing to the banks.

    The repression of left and progressive dissent has left the state in the hands of a fanatical right wing and their corporate allies. The U.S. political system is unable to respond to the needs of rational capitalists. On Aug. 26, at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Fed Chair Ben Bernanke pointed to the housing crisis, political dysfunction and the “extraordinarily high level of long-term unemployment” as the main symptoms crippling the economy. Warren Buffet has been pleading for the government to raise taxes on the super-rich like him. Influential economist Nouriel Roubini said in August that in the last few years there has been “a massive redistribution of income from labor to capital, from wages to profit … Karl Marx had it right, at some point capitalism can self-destroy itself.”

    Bill Gross, a Republican and a chief investment officer of the “giant bond fund Pimco,” recently told the New York Times that to “arrest America’s dangerous economic slide” government currently needs to provide refinancing relief for homeowners, provide loans to small business, which the banks are not providing, and most of all, rebuild the nation’s decaying roads, bridges and airports so the government can create jobs directly because the “private sector is not going to do it.”

    So even as some of the chief managers and intellectuals of American capitalism are calling for government jobs, higher taxes on the rich and more stimulus to bail out the economy, the political class is busy force-feeding us austerity coated in trillion-dollar war budgets.

    Not that this is entirely irrational. The staggering amounts of money spent on war, spying, the military, mercenaries, policing and all the other security apparatuses creates many millions of jobs. Add to that secondary contracting, support services and economic activity generated by all these workers and you have millions of jobs more. And given all their dependents, this means tens of millions of Americans benefit directly from the war economy. This is a wasteful form of Keynesianism, employing school teachers and healthcare workers is far more beneficial to society and the world than building drones and airport X-ray scanners, but the huge economic base that is the American way of war is part of the reason it’s so hard to dismantle.

    The philosopher Hannah Arendt once observed that Empire abroad requires tyranny at home. The post-9/11 police state has proved useful in suppressing “enemies”: the threat within, Arab and Muslim communities; the social threat, the left; and the demographic threat, Latinos. All have come under severe repression in the last decade, Arab- and Muslim-Americans most of all.

    Ten years on, ideology has outlasted the relevance of the events of 9/11. Islamophobia serves to mobilize support for an endless war. Suppressing the left has scattered radical social opposition to the dominant order, and the war against Latino immigrants has created shadow armies of fearful workers with few rights that corporations prey on to drive down wages and further impede labor organizing.

    As tragic as September 11, 2001 was, it is a historical blip because it only speeded up the process of imperial decline. Shortly after the attacks, the historian Immanuel Wallerstein suggested the American hegemony could go down one of two paths. The first was managing a soft decline. The other was a crash landing. It’s not hard to see which path we’ve been on since 9/11.

    September 10, 2011 at 7:21 am | Reply
    • Alan

      Wow, you take one college class on international relations and suddenly you are a genius. This rambling, hateful, bigoted diatribe is the prime example that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Keep reading, especially about Reaganomics. Everything Reagan said was the truth, and we are paying for ignoring it today.

      September 10, 2011 at 10:34 am | Reply
  19. Been There

    The only thing we can do is wait it out. The only thing we are going to do to our troops by pulling out too fast is getting more blood spilled. As a Soldier who was deployed in Baghdad, 06-08, I know what it means to wait it out, our service men and women are tough, and will proceed to carry on with the mission, regardless of what American citizens may say. Granted there are many infamous reasons as to why we are there, and it is improbable, that doesn't mean it is impossible to do things right. Our nation is on two main battlefronts right now, so before we can drop the ball on one, we need to let our military do the strategizing and not politicians.

    Hooah!

    September 8, 2011 at 12:11 am | Reply
  20. jorge washinsen

    Pull out now.We have left enough blood over there for the ungrateful bastards.

    September 7, 2011 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • reality

      You are the invader pigs, you must get out of there.

      September 8, 2011 at 4:25 am | Reply
  21. LaCrosseWI

    If we want to continue training the Iraqi military/government, it would be infinitely cheaper to boat, bus, or fly the Iraqis to Kuwait, Qatar, or Bahrain and train them in those "tranquil" spots rather than to try to keep Americans safe in Iraq. If something absolutely, positively has to be done "boots-on-ground": have the Iraqis do it themselves while we provide support via live video feed or other technology.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:15 am | Reply
  22. LaCrosseWI

    My point is either get out totally or have a relatively "safe" number of troops there. I lean heavily toward just pulling the plug on it.....

    September 7, 2011 at 9:24 am | Reply
    • oceantapper

      My opinion also leans on gettinh out of there. America is so extravagantly in debt, we are even cutting on our own education. I love America and understand the need for war. But, I am not sure of why we are still there. Let's concentrate on getting America more stable.

      September 7, 2011 at 9:49 am | Reply
  23. LaCrosseWI

    I would NOT want to be one of the last 3000 troops left in Iraq. You need a "critical mass" number of troops or else you're inviting Johnny Jihad to blow you up. 3000 troops is well below what you need to be safe in Iraq. But whatever the brass decides is whatever the brass decides....

    September 7, 2011 at 9:22 am | Reply
    • Mike

      ....the Iraqis are not stupid- They're just buying their time until we pull out. That's the reason we've had some of safest months this summer

      September 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  24. Sylvia Saint

    Every gallon of gasoline has a few drops of an American soldiers blood in it.

    We need to get off of oil. There is no such thing as "domestic oil"; its an international commodity sold to the highest bidder.

    The highee MPG standards implimented by the President are the right thing to keep our troops safer, make our economy more stable, and cut our budget deficit – all because they reduce the root cause for us to fight more, unfunded, Middle East wars.

    September 7, 2011 at 9:09 am | Reply
    • reality

      Its also has blood of millions innocent Iraqis.

      September 8, 2011 at 4:27 am | Reply
  25. AGeek

    It was a sh-thole to begin with, where people blow each other up with starting regularity. It's already devolved back to that point. We've squandered FAR too many of our own lives and countless billions (if not trillions) of dollars chasing our own tail to wind up with a net sum of ZERO.

    Don't leave so much as a buttonhole behind. Get the hell out. NOW.

    September 7, 2011 at 9:08 am | Reply
  26. Victor

    I believe it is time for the US to stop using our military as UN police force. The military is supposed to be used as a stop gap to project power and if needed to destroy the enemy. It is not the US military's job to rebuild. Once the initial mission is done, it is time to come home, rebuild, retrain, rearm and wait for the next conflict.

    September 7, 2011 at 9:07 am | Reply
    • reality

      But UN didn't allow the Iraq invasion, your country is guilty of war crimes.

      September 8, 2011 at 4:30 am | Reply
  27. mejazzbo

    No. Not a single trooper. No benefit or gain to such an action. US should never have been there in the first place. Leave these people to their own internal squabbles.

    September 7, 2011 at 9:04 am | Reply
  28. Greg Gilbert

    I think the benefit of Iraq feeling like it is free of occupiers would outweigh any benefit that a few insignificant troops would provide. Islamic countries are extremely fearful of Xtian outsiders. Any agreement the leaders of Iraq would agree upon would certainly be buttered up with money that those leaders would use corruptly.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:59 am | Reply
  29. Slumberjack

    No worries here. The low end estimate of 3000 troops, if this is all they're talking about, will only cost roughly 1.2 billion per year providing no one gets hurt. This is DC chump change that can be sustained for decades if need be, and easily factored in amongst the planned increase in the retirement age to 67 for social security,,.[squeeze a few more years work out of those granny Wal-Mart greeters] a reduction in food stamps for those living hand to mouth every month...[let them eat cake instead] , or a tea partyesque health care death panel system...[a bunch of blooming idiots] bent on rescuing wealthy insurance corporations from the clutches of the average sick, lame and lazy working stiff. Yep, nothing is too good for a socialized military industrial Frankenstein on steroids, being fed intravenously through sluice gates and fire hoses.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:49 am | Reply
  30. davey

    Well at least we can be thankful that Soetoro closed Gitmo.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:41 am | Reply
  31. HopeAndChange

    But I thought president Obongo was going to withdraw all troops from Iraq? Another broken promise add it to the pile.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:33 am | Reply
  32. larvadog

    "Despite adamant statements that no final decisions have been made about future U.S. troop levels in Iraq..."

    That's funny, because the president said ALL of them would be out by the end of the year. That sounds like a "final decision" to me. Oh, I forgot, president Obama doesn't mean what he says.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:21 am | Reply
    • Jarrod

      Most fairy tales start with, "Once upon a time..."

      others start, "If elected I will..."

      September 7, 2011 at 8:35 am | Reply
      • The Analyst

        That sort of fib reminds me of the current Big Lie in fashion, i.e. "The Job Creators need Tax Cuts so they can create Jobs!"
        Number one, the job creators are not the idle rich, but the consumers whose demand would be necessary to put people back to work; and
        Two, if tax cuts created jobs, we would be brimming with jobsjobsjobs following ten years now of the Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy.
        But I do agree that the Republicunts and the Rich have a solid lock on Obama to the point where he cannot be expected to do much of anything.

        September 7, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  33. L.C.

    Currenlty in Iraq it is crazy to see how tired our soliders are of being here some its there 5th time. The U.S. did there job its time for us to pack up and take care of the issues we have in our own country. I love America and I love the military and I support my chain of command but come on America enough is enough wheter we stay or go the terror will never end there like roaches you kill one another one pops up.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:18 am | Reply
    • Huh?

      Do you let the roaches just take over your place, or do you get a bigger roach killer? I hate roaches.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:22 am | Reply
      • The Analyst

        Don't say stupid crap like that. This is the Iraqi's country, and they will continue to fight an insurgency against a foreign occupation as long as we are their. Wouldn't you? Or don't you have the balls? If I suddenly found the Chinese in New Jersey I would take the 107 back out of the locker and start sneaking around in the woods. We will leave, and they will endure a long bloody power adjustment as power rebalances itself. We had no business being there to begin with. What is true in the end is that instead of being minority ruled by the Sunnis as in Hussein's time the majority SHiite will rule, and it will not be a democracy.

        September 7, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • Keylon

      The paragon of undreastndnig these issues is right here!

      November 15, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Reply
    • fcdgog

      4ymgLT dhancoeieyri

      November 16, 2011 at 3:08 am | Reply
  34. Chris Honry

    They want some US troops still there so they can stoke the furnace of hatred and deflect attention from what they are doing (Shia/Suni violence/following the devil) Diane Feinstien totally reversing her position? It must be the end of the world.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:17 am | Reply
  35. StuckNIraq

    Ive been here in Iraq for 4months. I dont know or see how us being here is helping anything. I am in the armed forces...All my airforce and army friends agree on 2 things. 1. We want to come home NOW 2. We serve no purpose being here except to further the 10B dollars each year on fuel for planes and food for troops. And for those who dont think im over here......im stationed in Al Asad *The Lion*....one hour flight from Ramadi...

    September 7, 2011 at 8:12 am | Reply
    • The Analyst

      The critical numbers the MainStreamMedia never seems to touch on is, How many mercenaries are still in Iraq? As a soldier in Iraq, you might be able to let us know if will numbers like "100,000 support contractors" and "75,000 mercenaries" are real numbers. Mercenaries cost us a lot more than our own fighting men and women, and are likely responsible for a majority of the atrocities here (that will always occur in any war theatre, not expecting troops to be angels).

      September 7, 2011 at 8:28 am | Reply
      • Don

        Well Congress won't raise the troop ceiling or institute a draft. What are the options?

        September 8, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • LaCrosseWI

      Hey is that Green Bean coffee shop and that pathetic Subway still in Al Asad? We used to call Al Asad "Camp Cupcake"....lot nicer than your average FOB...but I was still always glad when I was off base touring around the countryside.....

      September 7, 2011 at 9:38 am | Reply
  36. scigal

    Bring the troops home they don't want to be left in the armpit of the world. Stop using our troops for political agendas and war profiteering for elitists.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:05 am | Reply
  37. censored

    Whatever your complaints are about you need to address it to a congressman. Everybody has a valid point(one way or the other) and if you guys(civilians) really want us to come out of iraq or afghanistan you really need to stop arguing amongst eachother becuase last time i checked everyone on here have something in common and thats being an american(whether you like it or not). I am a soldier and i love to serve my country. HOOAH

    September 7, 2011 at 7:56 am | Reply
  38. Terry

    Dear President Obama: Bring home all of our troops immediately. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were a colossal error in judgement. Please do not continue the errors of the previous administration. The United States invaded a sovereign nation and supported the murder of that country's leader. We cannot allow the opposition to hang every leader we dislike, by allowing our military to fight a war in every country that seeks democracy. But then, it does promote employment – with questionable side effects.

    September 7, 2011 at 7:54 am | Reply
    • Huh?

      Dear Mr. President,
      Please do not listen to the likes of our sniveling liberal citizens that simply cannot see past the nose on their faces, and just want to give up at the slightest sign of adversity. Please continue to rid the world of extremism and threats to the western way of life. The progress of humanity depends on what we do, and progress does not happen when we sit idly by and let things be. Maybe you can remind those sniveling whiners just how much you and the military do to protect their cushy lives of video games and other non-sense they take advantage of. – A concerned citizen

      September 7, 2011 at 8:20 am | Reply
  39. ipsut

    "Leon Panetta stuck to the message , saying the U.S. presence come 2012 will depend on the will of the Iraqis."
    .
    And the will of the American people means little if anything in this failed war of ours.

    September 7, 2011 at 7:41 am | Reply
    • independent mind

      the american people say no to the occupation of iraq and afghanistan

      September 7, 2011 at 7:50 am | Reply
      • Huh?

        You do not speak for me, pal, and I'm an American.

        September 7, 2011 at 8:10 am |
    • Huh?

      Failed war?!?!? Are you serious? This war has been a tremendous success. Iraq is a self-governing democratic nation that is now an ally in the worst part of the world. And we did so with one of the lowest casualty counts in the history of American wars. Your statement is just trite liberal non-sense that proves you just cannot see the whole picture, or even past the nose on your face.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:09 am | Reply
      • usman

        sir, you have a narrow definition of 'victory'. The afghans considered the defeat of the soviets a victory. The soviets were in the process of building extensive infrastructure and modernizing (relatively speaking) Afghanistan. In the 70s it was a completely different country from the stone-aged / terrorist haven it is now.

        To the Japanese, the taking of Manchuria was a 'victory'.
        To the Nazis, taking sudeteland was a 'victory' and operation barbarossa a tremendous success

        In your victory criteria, you only look at casualties of americans – how about the 100,000 civilians killed in Iraq... Don't you think perhaps they have relatives, who hold grudges for generations?

        September 7, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  40. John2

    Hmm...3000 troops – just sufficient to continue to provoke terrorst attacks against the US.

    September 7, 2011 at 7:11 am | Reply
    • concerned american

      Its amazing (and disgusting) how CNN never mentioned that fact that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 was totally illegal based on international law? CNN is very pro-israel and pro-war, so you will never hear the truth from them. America has become a sinking ship because of the 3 trillion we spent in iraq over thelast 8 years. Wake up americans and take your country back from the criminal israelis and zionists!

      September 7, 2011 at 7:40 am | Reply
      • Chris

        I think your thoughts on CNN are not accurate. CNN has huge Arab investment, as does Fox incidentally. Israel would tell you that CNN is not exactly pro-Israel. The US right would certainly tell you that too. Regarding the Iraq war, what is a legal war exactly? I agree it was a 'dumb war' but the question of legality I think is really irrelevant.

        September 7, 2011 at 7:49 am |
      • Huh?

        Drop dead you idiot.

        September 7, 2011 at 8:11 am |
      • Jarrod

        Pro-Israel? Pro-war? You are obviously not a CNN reader. This one of the most anti-semitic, pro-Islamic, hippie sites on the net.

        September 7, 2011 at 8:38 am |
  41. politbureau

    I.ncompetent R.epublican A.dministration Q.uagmire

    The U.S. will "keep" its troops in Iraq because Iraq will fall apart without them.

    September 7, 2011 at 7:06 am | Reply
    • concerned american

      No more american wars for israel and the zionists!

      September 7, 2011 at 7:41 am | Reply
      • Jarrod

        Yes, let's keep the Islamic Wars going though.

        September 7, 2011 at 8:39 am |
  42. Mark

    Wow, didn't see that coming .... yea right. They have built permanent bases there with contractor support. Halliburton and others would lose out on long-term support contracts if we pulled out all the way. This is basically a way to waste tax dollars and still keep the contracts going. It's sad, but it is reality that we are controlled by big business.

    September 7, 2011 at 7:05 am | Reply
    • concerned american

      America is controlled by israel far more than by big business. Do your research to understand what I am saying here.

      September 7, 2011 at 7:42 am | Reply
      • Chris

        What about all the Arab petro-dollars? And the US dependence on Ara oil? Israel / Jewish lobby has some influence, but you overestimate it. The US allegiance with Israel is more political than anything else. The US interests with the Arab world are far greater.

        September 7, 2011 at 7:52 am |
  43. SoldierinIraq

    I find each thread on here pathetic. Normal U.S. citizens love to "Rally around the Troops". What the hell do you know? As a Soldier currently in Iraq, my first hand accounts offer a more realistic view of the current state if Iraq. To counter prior posts by Soldiers, just being here doesnt make us a subject matter expert either. First I want to point out that with each post declaring our actions a failure, think about those who lost their lives over here. The families of those heros as well. The sons and daughters of those individuals died as heros, regardless of the politics. Comments such as "what a waste of time and money" make you no better than those protesting military funerals. Secondly, let's look at the overall plan, which no one seems to want to address. Soldiers were deployed to kill. Plain and simple, we were ordered to invade, and with an invasion comes death. What Soldiers are not are peacekeepers. Long ago, the theroy of "Hearts and Minds" was pushed on warriors. 10 years laters, here we are. The Presidnet and senior leaders need to come to grips with the facts. We can't have our cake and eat it too. In typical U.S. fashion, we want to try and do bad things, while making them look good, and in order to acheive that we half-ass it. My point is simple. In the future, if we go to war, we go to war. We must not try and balance our morales with our lethality. Eliminate the enemy by any means possible. Get our hands dirty, and move on. Honor those who paid the ultimate sacrafice. Once we are out of this land, lets fix ours. Quick fact: Alex Rodriguez will make more in 10 Major League at Bats then my whole Platoon will make combined for over a year deployed in a combat zone. America! Hell Yea!

    September 7, 2011 at 7:05 am | Reply
    • Jim G

      I was in Iraq in 2004-2005, and 2008-2009. I got a message from a buddy that is currently in Balad- he says they are eating MRE's these days. He said they tore down the pool, movie theater- all sorts of stuff. My question is- why not just leave all that stuff for the Iraqis? Why put all this money into stuff then tear it down.

      September 7, 2011 at 7:16 am | Reply
      • PB

        Get your facts straight before you talk about them. I am currently deployed as well and we are not destroying anything. We are transferring buildings and equipment to Iraqis, not trashing it or destroying it, some of us are here to ensure the responsible drawdown.

        September 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Chris

      Well then its a clear case of donkeys leading lions. Clausewitz said that war should be to achieve a clear political objective. Powell also echoed that sentiment. The objective in Iraq was not clear, there was no direct casus belli (Bush said "we were not in Baghdad on 9/11, what had that got to do with Iraq?), the prosecution of the war was not thought through fully, and the consequences were not seriously considered. You had a President in the White House who saw everything through the prism of D-Day 1944 or the Cold War, ignoring the history and complexities of both the region and modern muslim history. The rest of the national security team either obeyed orders or saw this as a bonanza economically (e.g. Wolfowitz and Cheney). Bush jr. was the anti-Bush sr. who believed in clear, achieve-able objectives and who was able to look at big regional pictures e.g. Eastern Europe 1989.

      September 7, 2011 at 7:45 am | Reply
  44. General DDE

    That will be for President Romney and his administration to decide.

    September 7, 2011 at 7:04 am | Reply
    • concerned american

      Romney and the republicans would start new american wars (funded by china) overseas for the benefit of israel and the zionists.

      September 7, 2011 at 7:44 am | Reply
  45. TheBossSaid

    What a joke. How can anyone with half a brain even believe that the US will pull out its troops from Iraq when they still have troops in Germany?

    September 7, 2011 at 6:37 am | Reply
    • concerned american

      No more wasted american blood and treasure for israel and the zionists!

      September 7, 2011 at 7:44 am | Reply
  46. Chris

    The mission is again being re-invented. This time the mission will be to keep Iran out as much as possible. The US obviously does not feel comfortable stepping out as it feels Iran's influence in Iraq will grow. What a terrible, terrible mistake this Iraq war has been.

    September 7, 2011 at 6:31 am | Reply
    • concerned american

      America is now a sinking ship in the world because of this illegal war begun in 2003 for the benefit of israel and the zionists!

      September 7, 2011 at 7:46 am | Reply
      • Chris

        How exactly does Iraq benefit the 'Zionists'. That's just a nonsense comment. Are you really American? Or are you one those who thinks that Jews invented spark plugs to control world traffic? The Iraq war has put Israel in greater danger

        September 7, 2011 at 8:03 am |
  47. michael

    Staying in Iraq would make a further mockery of Americans. Nobody in Iraq, the Arab world or the World in general is naive enough to accept that the US-imposed Iraqi government has the legitimacy to 'ask' the US Army - its puppet master - to stay in Iraq. More importantly, this would only lend credibility to the casus belli of the insurgents and Al-Qaeda. How humiliating it would be to be a US diplomat nowadays. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb....

    September 7, 2011 at 4:47 am | Reply
  48. Sid E Slicker

    Heather, our policy maker’s dream of Pease and prosperity in Iraq that will never happen. This area has been killing since the dawn of time and it took a ruthless killer to maintain control. Once we leave, now or even 10 years from now it will go back to civil wars, mass killings, and tribal conflicts until another ruthless killer kills enough of his opponents then he will rule by the gun, and hangman’s noose. What we have done in Iraq is just postponed the inevitable a Saddam part 2. And all our fallen troops fell in vain.
    The US can’t change this by policy’s, rules, and lip service. It has been and will be the way of life in the Middle East.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:32 am | Reply
  49. Steve

    This is a joke. The United States has 737 foreign bases. Take a guess as to keeping one in Iraq.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:27 am | Reply
    • Ron

      Your "foreign base" count also includes property no bigger than your neighbors backyard-it's a worthless statistic. .

      September 7, 2011 at 6:00 am | Reply
      • Rich

        How does a foreign base count including bases the size of a neighbor's back yard make it a worthless statistic??? The only thing here that is worthless is your post.

        September 7, 2011 at 6:30 am |
  50. CannibisKrozar

    But if we don't leave a permanent occupation and base, KBR will lose contracts!

    September 7, 2011 at 3:29 am | Reply
    • rrock

      They act like the defense department has free money. Oh wait, it came from China.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:28 am | Reply
  51. Neal Amby

    Mr. President, after finishing reading the report on troop reductions in Iraq, I think it would be a grave mistake on our part in pulling out our troops from Iraq. What would happen if the Iraq government wanted more troops later after we bring home all of our service personnel home? It would be another disaster in the making, meaning it would bolster the insurgents thinking that they had defeated us and they would just keep on harming the civilians living there. I think that we should ask their government for a longer agreement in staying beyond 2011. We should make sure that they are properly trained to take over once we leave.How would the families that had lost loved ones feel if you, as the sitting President of one of the most powerful nations of the world, decides to bring home everyone? I don't think you would have a chance of getting re-elected as the President OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:16 am | Reply
    • A Real Soldier

      All of you individuals that keep saying leave troops in Iraq are probably not or have never been in the military. If you were in the military you were probably officers that never left the wire or raided an objective and had your peers or subordinates fall in combat. I have been deployed to Afghanistan (OEF), Iraq (OIF), and the Philippines (OEF-P) and know how it feels. We all know that the invasion of Iraq shouldn't have happened but it did and we performed our duties as asked and now it is time to go. Iraq does have a formal government unlike Afghanistan which will never have a stable government outside of Kabul because their are 46 different tribes to unite throughout the country. Yes there will be some attacks from the two different cultures in Iraq but if you think about it the same thing happens in every country even ours everyday and there is a formal government. If we are going to leave troops behind to be a presence in the region then lets just say that and work with the numbers from there and stop saying to help the Iraqi people who don't want our help. There were talks about reducing the military benefits to include retirement and 100% paid tuition which betters our country. It's bad enough the we don't get a pay raise but for you to say help the Iraqi people when all that money could be spent here at home because I know that it doesn't go to the people it goes to the ones in power. Really people just think for a minute before you jump to your conclusion. Have you ever wanted to been apart from your loved one and just to be buried in Arlington or your hometown cemetary. If we can bring them home then that is what we need to do.....

      September 7, 2011 at 4:25 am | Reply
      • A Real Soldier

        Think about our troops first...

        September 7, 2011 at 4:26 am |
      • Ron

        If we thought of soldiers first, we'd never go to war...ever. That's what you signed up for solider so your comments are self serving. Your professionalism is being questioned. I don't want our people killed but frankly what is best for the US (and the world) is more important. Now, having said that, the question is whether what we're about to do is the right thing. The past is the past...we screwed up. But we can make an equally big mistake if we dismiss Iraq thinking only of the present and not the long term future. I believe we have accomplished our mission and yes we pull out but we need to continue to train them and to focus on nation building if we want to win a strategic victory.

        September 7, 2011 at 5:53 am |
      • John

        Well said.

        September 7, 2011 at 6:06 am |
      • John

        Well said. Ron you are obviously not a military man as was pointed out above. Put on a uniform for 4 or 5 years and get back to us.

        September 7, 2011 at 6:08 am |
      • Steve

        Ron, maybe you should enlist and then run your mouth (or fingers) about professionalism and self serving attitudes. I bet you'd change your mind real quick when the bullets are flying past your head. It's easy to sit at your computer (safely at home) and rifle off a bunch of crap to someone who has served three tours in combat...it's also cowardly. So Ron, sign up!! Put your life on the line for minimum gain.

        September 7, 2011 at 6:08 am |
    • concerned american

      No more wasted american blood and treasure for the benefit of israel and the zionists !

      September 7, 2011 at 7:47 am | Reply
  52. bob

    3000 soldiers only, would be harassed and at constant risk of suicide attacks, car bombs, & AI D's explosions, if they leave the protection of their base, and absolutely useless if the do not leave the protection of their base. Its a lose, lose situation.

    September 7, 2011 at 2:57 am | Reply
    • John

      Of course. It will be a good reason to send troops back in. Don't you get it?

      September 7, 2011 at 6:09 am | Reply
  53. famblykittens

    "I think it's too fast," said Feinstein, D-California told CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett. "There are some serious things going on there that need to be stopped."

    Really? Really? Too fast? Ten years isn't enough. Just get them all out of there and get the h*ll out. We should never have been there in the first place. If we need an American presence over there toss them Bush and Cheney.

    September 7, 2011 at 2:46 am | Reply
    • concerned american

      Feinstein (like many others in congress) is a zionist jew who supports endless american wars around the world that only benefit israel. Our US Congress is completely controlled by israel. Wake up america and take our country back!

      September 7, 2011 at 7:49 am | Reply
  54. Exit Strategy

    If the US objective is the oil, then we should put a whole lot more troops in and annex it.
    If the US objective is the Iraqis to deal with their problems under their leadership, the emphasis is to bilaterally negotiate.
    When the Philippines wanted the US out, we negotiated it like civilized countries.

    I opposed the invasion to begin with, but once we are in we have a responsibility as a civilized country to not further destabilize their country by getting out badly. Ultimately it is their country, they have to behave in their best interests, or end up like Somalia; they need to understand that and realize that other countries have their own problems, like the US road infrastructure or poverty or jobs,...

    September 7, 2011 at 2:38 am | Reply
  55. Screamin' Eagle

    Ahhhhhhhh, Vietnam deja vu. The smell of victory, the stink of betrayal.

    September 7, 2011 at 1:53 am | Reply
  56. melody

    hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    September 7, 2011 at 1:51 am | Reply
  57. Heather

    Wondering if any of you folks that are saying "Yeah! Pull out the troops!  Right now!". Have ever a) served in the military, and b) been to Iraq?  Like a few other commentors on here have eluded to – pulling out now when IRQ is not yet a stable
    enough country on their own to defend themselves against external and internal terrorists/extremists will undermine all of the hard work our military forces have done and accomplished there in the past decade. Additionally, abandoning them when they are on the cusp of becoming an INDEPENDENT & FUNCTIONING democratic society – kind of like we did with AFG many, many moons ago – is not the answer. Leaving the Iraqi people and their infant democratic society now to flounder on their own – and more than likely crash and burn – would breed anti-Western resentment which our MILITARY has learned from past mistakes is a nice little breeding ground for terror organization recruitment. 

    Regardless of who/what/when/where or how we came to be in IRQ is irrelevant. We've been there, we're there now, and let's finish what we started – and finish it right and WELL. 

    I'm on a soapbox, yes. But I'm tired of people who haven't put on a uniform a day in their lives, who run to these anonymous forums to write a post merely based on what they overheard someone talk about at the local Starbucks as they were reading their copy of the Sunday's Washington Post.

    September 7, 2011 at 1:47 am | Reply
    • BillInLA

      Wake up, kid. It was that way five years ago. It was that way four years ago. It was that way three years ago, two years ago, last year, this year, next year, the year after, and the 10 years after that.

      If indeed Iraq can't stand on its own feet now, with all the advantages of its huge oil supply, gigantic U.S. military involvement, and nearly a decade of huge amounts of aid, then it never will.

      We need to get out and let them solve their problems. And very likely, no matter what else happens, it will ALWAYS be a fertile ground for terrorism simply because there are elements in the Shiite and Sunni communities that hate each other.

      Sen. Feinstein, wake up. Bring the money home.

      September 7, 2011 at 2:00 am | Reply
    • Patrick A.

      In all of history INVADERS have never brought peace to the locals that is a fact,we INVADED IRAQ based on PURE LIES,and we all know it,we destroyed their country,killed almost a million and now we want to protect them.

      Are you insane.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:17 am | Reply
    • John

      Well Heather I spent 5 years in the USMC, is that good enough for you? I was in Kuwait in early 2001, and it was an open secret then that we were fishing for a reason to invade Iraq. W. was planning on an invasion even before he was president. In other words it was one big SCAM. Read "War is a racket" by General Butler and see how nothing has changed in the last 100 years. Then tell us what you think. Continuing down the same road only gets us more lost. We owe Iraq NOTHING. Have you not been reading the news? We are broke as a country. We can not afford this nation building nonsense any longer even if it was the right thing to do. So what is your choice, your country, or a collapsing empire? You can't have both.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:18 am | Reply
  58. Ed Stock

    I'll help them mull this over. Okay, done mulling. Get the troops out, get the contractors out, promise you'll never invade another country that has neither attacked nor threatened to attack us.
    And, just like in Vietnam where we crawled out with our tails between our legs, promise it will never happen again. Until the next time.

    September 7, 2011 at 1:12 am | Reply
  59. Camanay

    Every American serviceman and woman should be pulled out of Iraq, the sooner the better. We had no business invading that nation in the first place, and we endanger precious American lives and waste precious American resources every second they remain.

    September 7, 2011 at 12:46 am | Reply
    • RobGR

      Agreed and well said.

      September 7, 2011 at 12:52 am | Reply
    • Frank

      No, you're wrong. Whatever President Obama decides to do is the right thing. Because he's black and I don't want to appear to be a racist. Like, for example, when he signed off on our troops staying in Afghanistan until 2024. I'm SURE the Afghans want us to stay until then (haha). Let's see, pushing the war into Pakistan, signing off on bombing the heck out of Libya (for medicinal purposes, you understand, or maybe it was "human rights" but never never never about oil), stationing 6,000 U.S. Marines off the coast of Syria. Hey, I protested George Bush the war-monger but if Obama sez it's ok, them I'm ok with it. I'm 40 years old, I live at home with my parents, I smoke a lot of pot, and I vote demoblican.

      September 7, 2011 at 1:02 am | Reply
      • MakeOurOwn

        Hahaha. Hilarious and true. We will continue to move around the Middle East in search of more countries we can start an iarmed conflict with to secure oil and democracy. I, for one, am against imperialism in the quest to be able to drive our Ford F150s and push our value system on other cultures while ruining those countries in more ways than one. However, if that is what we want to do rather than building wind farms in our communities and drive smaller vehicles or even (gasp) ride an individually powered vehicle, or better yet WALK to your neighbors house and create the community bond again, then I say call it what it is, tell The current and future Middle Eastern countries we invade it's because we are bigger, richer,I more powerful, and more well-connected than you are, we dominate the globe now, Persia was the past, we are the present, and we will now be taking your oil, imposing our value system, and you will be lucky if we don't make you pay us a Jizyah tax. Either stop being cowards and say it like it is or get the hell out of the area and let's focus on our problems internally, the biggest of which is that our 2 party government doesn't work any longer because the two major parties are on completely opposite ends of the political spectrum, leading to a fundamental inability to work together in a forward direction for our economy. When we eventually run completely out of time to salvage this country, these divisions will become crystal clear when the American people must start over and the ones who think they can spend your money better than you and tax the living hell out of the people and businesses alike will elect for a Democratic (beauacratic) government. Those who want to allow for a free market, lower tax rates, lower regulation, smaller government and promote their military (look at American history) will elect for their government to be a Republic. And before you start thinking that I am anti-Dem and pro-Rep, let me remind you that both parties have lost site of the objective, working against each other promotes constantly half our government wants to do few short of ruining the economy so they can point the finger in the political blame game when election time comes. What can we achieve when half of our government is literally trying to sabotage the other side? Nothing. So when I finally do get out of Iraq I will laugh and watch with eyes wide open with a rum & coke in one hand and my hard earned pay check in the other as Iraq falls to intertribal warfare, Shiites massacring Sunnis for the Saddam era and Iran laughing too as they back the Shiites into victory and then hold the political power that we revel so very much.

        September 7, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  60. SCOUT

    stay im not ready to leave yet. weve fought to hard and lost to many buddies to pull out and let what weve been building up crumble. this iraqi army needs all the training we can give! pulling out at this point would be a failure. the army and police weve been training here are doing amazing things and are putting the counterinsurgency skills we have been teaching them to great use but they need more training before we can let them do it on their own

    September 7, 2011 at 12:45 am | Reply
    • John

      Staying will only ensure that you lose many more buddies and the result will be the same. Either Iraq will become a decent country or not, but it has nothig to do with us staying.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:22 am | Reply
  61. Luke

    Huge surprise. Absolutely no expectations that we would "never leave Iraq." Unless of course you follow history and the honest politics.

    Vote for Ron Paul. Smash this war racket NOW.

    September 7, 2011 at 12:24 am | Reply
    • John H.

      Yes, Vote Ron Paul, a man that denies scientific FACT! Evolution has been witnessed and we have enough evidence to make it a fact.

      http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/08/29/scitech/main20098876.shtml

      So because it's just a theory it's not true? How about that theory of gravity. Because it's a theory means Ron Paul also should not believe in gravity.

      September 7, 2011 at 1:34 am | Reply
      • Sigh

        Will people please read a damn book, or a website that doesn't parrot somone's opinion. Macro evolution or the jumping of one genus to another has never...EVER been proven, only speculated at. Micro evolution however HAS been observed and is used as the basis for the overarching theory of evolution. Please don't trust me, go look it up. Pick your non-opinion based science website of choice, go there, look up the number of de-bunked 'missing-links', laugh a little at the number the news never mentioned were in fact NOT valid. If anyone can provide me with proof of macro evolution I will gladly change my opinion.

        September 7, 2011 at 1:51 am |
      • StuckNIraq

        Oh I just love people like you..Wanting to makea theory a fact. Where u born from a womb or GOO? When Mr John H did ANYONE see Goo form to be apes ....then form to be us? Since time 1st started....man lay with women and through something called intercourse *which is obvious you have yet to experiance*...a child is born. That is what is happening now....that is what happend for your grandparents and my great great grandparents...and even back further. Stop making a THEORY which has NO CREDIBLE FACTS....to be truth.

        September 7, 2011 at 8:21 am |
  62. Duane

    Pull them home, leave and run with our tails between our legs? Are you all kidding me? We started this, we need to finish it or else our enemies will continue to see us as weak and seek us out at home as targets, plain and simple.

    September 7, 2011 at 12:14 am | Reply
    • mudbone9

      Yep that was exactly the mindset we had in Vietnam and all it did was get 58,000 American soldiers killed. It's kind of funny now though that the Vietnamese want to be our best friends again. Especially since China has been trying to claim nearly the entire South China Sea for it self.

      September 7, 2011 at 12:24 am | Reply
      • Rimmer

        Yes but Vietnam didn't attack us on our own soil...

        September 7, 2011 at 12:39 am |
      • Camanay

        This is to Rimmer: Neither did the Iraqis attack us on our own soil. The whole reason we invaded Iraq was built on lies.

        September 7, 2011 at 12:48 am |
      • George

        So Camanay would you agree that Operation Desert Fox was based on lies as well? Be mindful of your answer, Clinton was the President then. Let's not forget the lies that led America to bomb Yugoslavia in 1999........

        September 7, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • Luke

      Leave CNN comments to tax payers, Mr. Bush. Go away.

      September 7, 2011 at 12:26 am | Reply
    • Will

      "Duane" says it all. Probably says it all.

      The war's over. We won. Saddam's dead. We aren't going to be an empire. Get over it.

      September 7, 2011 at 12:45 am | Reply
      • Will

        Should have said "Probably a RED NECK".

        September 7, 2011 at 12:46 am |
  63. JohnCBarclow

    Why don't the oil companies pay for their own security? They have the money. Why are American taxpayers forced to pay so that the oil companies can have free security in Iraq? We already paid to overthrow the government for them so the oil could be privatized, and now they want us to continue paying for their security? Eff that. I say we here in America start occupying gas stations and taking what rightly belongs to us. We already paid for it.

    September 7, 2011 at 12:09 am | Reply
    • Ron

      That's an offbase and simplistic view of things. Troops aren't there to provide security for contractors. With low numbers like these, they're there to train the Iraqi military so the Iranians don't run over them like road kill in the future.

      September 7, 2011 at 12:20 am | Reply
    • Trooper

      yup, we are totally in these countries for their oil, look at the prices they are so low

      September 7, 2011 at 2:51 am | Reply
  64. Michael

    Enough. Bring all of our troops home now. It's over and no, there were never WMD. We knew that before we invaded the country.

    September 7, 2011 at 12:03 am | Reply
    • StuckNIraq

      Hey Michael....ya confused me on something. You said *we* knew that there were no WMDS before the invasion. Since both Democrats and Republicans voted for the war....who is we? Is we the silent minority who sits behind a computer>?

      September 7, 2011 at 8:23 am | Reply
  65. justSayin

    If the Iraqis want training so bad, I say bring everyone home and make Iraq ship their desired trainees over here. Make Iraq pay the cost. U.S. Costs would be less as well as the danger for our people. I don't understand why they need additional training anyway. They had almost 9 years to train for this. If they haven't learned it yet I don't see how they ever will. Seems simple to me.

    September 7, 2011 at 12:01 am | Reply
    • mudbone9

      Yea I can see the recruitment ad now.

      "FREE Airline ticket for all you wannabe terrorist. Join the Iraqi army today for an all expensies paid trip to the US."

      No thanks. Let them train themselves over in Iraq.

      September 7, 2011 at 12:14 am | Reply
  66. AK

    Pull the troops out of Iraq so that the military can begin planning on "liberating" the next oil rich nation.

    September 6, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Reply
  67. jackfrost

    want a simple solution to deal with those who would oppose us? just nuke em all....problem solved.

    September 6, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Reply
  68. 911insidejobber

    A global force for good my a**! More like Rothschild's personal oil mercenaries!

    September 6, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Reply
  69. LouAz

    3,000 troops in Iraq ? 3,000 TARGETS ! Bring everyone home.

    September 6, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Reply
  70. Hiruu

    The only US troops needed in Iraq, past 2011 are the ones to guard the US Embassy!

    September 6, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Reply
  71. glu

    That shyythole is not worth one American life.

    September 6, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Reply
  72. NewsAnalyzer

    My fellow Americans,

    1. I just do not understand why the USA military is literally begging the Iraqi government to let them stay past 2011.

    2. For the love of Jesus, will the American military just pack your C.R.A.P and get the H.E.L.L out of Iraq.

    3. To begin with, the USA invaded Iraq. The Iraqi people did not ask for the USA to invade their country.

    4. Let's not forget: The USA (meaning George Bush and the neo-cons) said that there are Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Iraq. This turned out to be a BIG LIE that my fellow Americans are now stuck with it in the history books.

    5. I am not sure about you, but I get asked this D.A.M.N WMD question everywhere I go. Believe me, you can't defend this WMD lie when the Canadians, French, Arabs, Muslims, etc...are asking the following question: Why did Bush lie about WMDs, invaded Iraq, and killed thousands of Americans and Iraqi soldiers/civilians?

    6. I am still asking myself the following questions:

    .......a. Who is paying for all the costs of the Iraq war? is it Iraq?

    .......b. What did America get out of the Iraq war? Oil contracts? Military contracts?

    .......c. From everything I have read so far, Iran is the ONLY winner of this Iraq war. Why didn't the USA see this nightmare coming?

    .......d. I want to know how will the Iraqi government treat the USA when the USA leaves Iraq? Will Iran steps into Iraq and use it as a bargaining chip against the USA?

    7. I am looking forward to reading inputs from my fellow Americans about the benefits that the USA accomplished in Iraq by spending trillions of dollars and thousands of dead American soldiers, and tens of thousands of wounded American soldiers.

    8. I look at the Libya NATO no fly zone model as a much better alternative to what George Bush did in Iraq: Cost is about 600 million dollars and Zero USA soldiers dead!

    9. America is now 14+ trillion dollars in debt. Who is going to pay this debt? Default? Have Iraq pay it?

    10. What Would Jesus Do?

    Peace, Love, and Freedom to ALL!

    will continue to justify

    September 6, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Reply
    • mudbone9

      As a fellow American I agree with everything you are saying. To pay for the two wars GW and Tricky Dickey inflated the economy till it burst just so they could avoid taxing their rich buddies in the short term. They knew full well that they were robbing all Americans of their retirement funds. That's why the republicans kept saying that social security was broke because they knew the day of reckoning was coming. Lets all face it...taxes are going to have to increase to get us out of this financial mess that those baztards got us in. Cuting spending alone won't do it.

      September 6, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Reply
      • mudbone9

        Oh and I hope that everyone rolled that payroll tax reduction into their 401K. The governemnt is saying that social security is going broke but guess where the deduction comes from....social security! Wow that makes a lot of sense. Stupid baztards.

        September 7, 2011 at 12:07 am |
    • Ron

      1. I agree that its time to go. However, I can see the argument to continue to train the Iraqis so they don't become a speedbump for Iran in 5-10-15 years from now.
      2. For the most part, that's done. The people there aren't riding around in battle tanks. If they go to 3000 people, you're talking about a city-block worth of stuff...not much in the grand scheme of things.
      3. Your right but what's the point? We broke it so we need to fix it. Fixing it has benefits to us in the long run.
      4. Your right again but the problem isn't with an admistration or single person(the president). Iraq was a series of failures within government that no one is addressing still. Its a failure of CIA, DIA, DoD, State Dept, US Army, USAid, DTRA, and many others that would bore you to hear the entire list. Some of the problems came into being in the early 90s as military/intelligence/foreign policy changed as a result of a changing world. Had President Obama been president, I think we would have been in Iraq too...despite what he may have though as a Sentator back in the day.
      5. So what...back in 2002 most were just as confused as we were. The difference is they now know and its easy to poke us in eye. Muslim countries wanted Saddam gone too but were more afraid of the instability created afterwards.
      6.
      A. Depends. The war we footed the bill. Reconstruction is kinda a phased thing. We started out paying a lot but now the Iraqis are footing most of the bill.
      B. Depends. The reward is over time. How would you have answered this question in 1946 for Germany and Japan, or 1954 for Korea? Korea didn't look to be a bright investment at the time, now they are one of our closest alleys in the Pacific. If Iraq becomes stable, democratic, and diversifies their exports...strategically they sit in the middle of arm pit of the world....their presense will put immense pressure on non-democratic, Isalamist regimes nearby. The Arab spring was the result of Facebook and other media...now when your neighbors grass is truely greener...there is a desire for your own country to live up to the same standards.
      c. Iran is loosing strategically. How much pressure is being put on the government there? There's a fear of another revolution. Their economy is in shambles and their attention to Iraq is bankrupting Hezbolla and others in other countries...think of what is going on in Syria right now.
      d. Iran isn't going to take over Iraq–they can't afford it anyway. With a significant Kurdish and Sunni presence, they run the risk of starting a civil war that they can't control. The longer democracy implants in Iraq the more Iraqis see their identity as Iraqi and not a particular religous sect.
      7. Billions yes, trillions no. Pundits like to inflate the number but much of the "cost" is outlays in our own stuff–people and equipment that comes home with us. The accual amount spent on Iraq is much lower than you'll see on CNN.
      8. Yes...but we did that for over 12 years. Our patience, right or wrong, ran out and too much fear of the unknown drove us to think the way we did.
      9. Debt....Iraq and Afghanistan didn't bankrupt us. We've spent $1T our of the $14T on the wars...it's the other $13T that is killing us. We've had larger deficits in the last year than we spent on the entire two wars since 2001
      10. Jesus...he never ran a country. I think if Jesus had ran a country, he probably would have had a strong defense to protect his people from people who were evil. Good people can still come to the wrong conclusions-and go to war. Christians sometimes get divorced too.

      September 7, 2011 at 1:00 am | Reply
  73. Earl

    It's time for the Iraqis to run things themselves. We have done enough for them. Let middle-eastern countries assist them in training instead like Jordan, Egypt, etc... No single US soldier should be staying specially that Iraqis keep battliing against each other. We don't want our soldiers to be caught in between warring factions.

    September 6, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  74. SimplifyIt

    3,000? Not likely, we will have many more than that remaining in Iraq at the end of the year. Have you seen the military bases the US empire has built there? Absolutely enormous masonry construction, definitely not designed to be temporary. If we went to all that trouble of killing innocent civilians and destroying cities to allow western interests to control the oil fields, why would we leave before pumping them dry?

    September 6, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Reply
    • mudbone9

      You may be right but my neipew was stationed in Mosul and it was about as remote a base as I had ever seen. Their barracks were made of plywood and very small. Didn't look very permanent to me.

      September 6, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Reply
    • Sueezedtight

      3,000 US armed forces....but several thousand more MI as well as thousands of "security" personnel. You are right about the bases though, they will be there as long as there is a US military.

      September 6, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  75. Joe Black

    They have to leave 3,000 there how is the government going to get more money they don't need. This way they can fatten their pocket. If they want more money just start a war.

    September 6, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Reply
  76. osa

    It is a good thing they are pulling out and guess what? Many of the republicans are saying it is not enough so how can the president satisfy you people. If he does not pull out you complain he said he was going to and he is going to pull them out you complaining he should keep more people there, until you Americans start telling your Republicans that even if America stay there 30 more years, Iraq will be Iraq until America leaves and Iraqi defend their Country you will not know what you doing around the world is bad. So my message to your war hungry republicans, tell your leaders that they should bring the troops home and devote the money back here in your own country. I still cannot get it, you said America is broke and that the poor people can die but you are in Iraq that has Oil and can get the money and defend its self if it really come to that , but you there spending Billions building their schools and you are trying to close your own schools in the states, you are firing your teachers and you are giving Iraqis money to pay their teachers, so what kind of sense is that your WAR HUNGRY REPUBLICANS and I feel sorry for those of you that ar poor and you let this people treat you like a fool and you bye iinto the stupid tea party ideas. Well I wish you all good luck because if you do not take time, many of you will be living on the streets if you VOTE THIS REPUBLICANS IN.

    September 6, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Reply
  77. TruthSpeaks

    There are more then just 3000 troops in iraq.

    September 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Reply
    • bob

      "There are currently more than 40,000 U.S. troops in Iraq."

      September 6, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Reply
  78. Robin Bray

    The whole reason Bin Laden did what he did was because the U.S. was stationing it's troops in a foreign land. Would we let Iraq, China, Cuba, or any other countries station troops on U.S. soil. I don't think one of you flag wavers would allow that. Not in your back yard!

    September 6, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Reply
    • mudbone9

      That's not a valid point. He still kept killing inocent Americans even after we pulled all our troops and most of our civilians out of Saudi Arabia. Face it he was just a friggin nut case.

      September 6, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Reply
      • Sueezedtight

        Osama was one of the Bin Laden sons that rebelled against his father's Carlyle Group (Bush family in there too) and wanted to not be an accountant anymore. The CIA recruited him to work for the Mujahedeen that were in Afghanistan fighting against the Russian occupation. Once he saw how the US was running all of the drug and armament shipments, he decided to retaliate with the weapon that the US had given him. He was part of a terrible thing for which the blame must be shared with all of the other war-mongers.

        September 6, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  79. Robin Bray

    Come on. We can do better at wasting money. Look at the countless thousands we still have in Germany since WWII doing nothing worthwhile or the 35,000+ in South Korea. Heck we still have troops i Cuba and that was over before 1900. Let's be sure to leave behind a good amount of human targets close to where our enemies can get to them without having to travel far. If iraq can't take care of itself let it go the way it's citizens let go.

    September 6, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Reply
    • mudbone9

      Good Friggin point!!!! Never thought of it that way. We have always left troops behind. I say we start pulling all of our troops out of most all of these countries and let them pay for their own security. Korea is the only place I can think of that we may not want to do that. Having been stationed there I may be a little biased but that idiot in the North is to unpredictable.

      September 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Reply
  80. zorro

    bring them all home!

    September 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Reply
  81. Go-Bama

    I hope this is not a free service to Iraq. Price tag should be $1Million per soldier per day, retroactive to July 2011.

    September 6, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Reply
    • Sueezedtight

      The price would be about 30 Iraqi citizens, exacted every day. The US started the slaughter when they conquered Iraq, disbanded the army (only about 1.1 million able-bodied men, now without jobs or money) but "forgot" to secure the arms and ammunition, around the country. It was an open invitation to insurgency....but that was the point, you can't have a prolonged war without an enemy, now can you?

      September 6, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Reply
      • Canadaice99

        First, learn to spell. Second, 1.3 able bodied men? You do understand the difference between that and a standing army correct? Guess not. Second, the first thing U.S troops did when they entered was destroy arms and supply caches. Please do some research before you open your mouth again. Lastly, ITS NOT BAD TO SAY WE WENT IN FOR OIL. Oil is the single most precious commodity in the world. Having a dictator how control over a commodity that literally can decide the fate of the global economies is the last thing we need. How about you start paying $10 dollars a gallon and then we'll see how you feel about the "corporate" interests. Btw, it is called corporate AMERICA for a reason, we all benefit idiot.

        September 6, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
      • Rimmer

        I seem to remember the IED's that I dodged in 2003 as coming from Iran, but you were there too right ?

        September 7, 2011 at 12:44 am |
      • Huh?

        You are just looking stupider and stupider with each comment. Give up now.

        September 7, 2011 at 8:28 am |
  82. Mixer

    Let's just let the Jews clean there back yard. You want to see peace in the middle east, let the Jews do what they need to do. They're not afraid to kill. They need to kill just to survive. Free the Jews and we all will be safe in this world. Well it won't hurt anyways.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Reply
    • mudbone9

      Yeah free the Jews so they can start a nuclear holocaust! Those people are tarnished by the same cycle of hatred that every other azz backward middle easterner. They are the biggest reason we are in the two wars we are in now. They are far from being the solution.

      September 6, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Reply
    • Sueezedtight

      Israel doesn't need to fight countries that the Jewish lobby can get congress to attack..... Remember Saddam's scud missile attacks? US Marines to the rescue! It is all part of the plan to take the heat off of Israel and to enrich the conglomerate defense industry while sapping the financial reserves of the US.

      September 6, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Reply
      • mudbone9

        Agreed. The plan was to drain all of our social security accounts to fatten up the power minds running DC. Basically all Americans were robbed of their retirement funds....legally.

        September 6, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • Robin Bray

      "Their" Learn English.

      September 6, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Reply
    • reality

      Israel is cancer in middle and it should be removed as soon as possible because if cancer spreads than it destroys whole body.

      September 7, 2011 at 12:15 am | Reply
  83. George

    Do not leave any guys of ours behind. It is a backward land of backward people who are delusional about religion and they will never change. Let them sort out their own lives, they hate us anyway.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Reply
    • Sueezedtight

      Despite the fact that the various Iraqi factions hate each other, they are willing to hate the infidel invader even more. The Kurds were denied their state when the Balfour Declaration was scotched by Turkish interests. The Sunni and Shia will never agree so let them slug it out and name their own winner. It will last forever but one will be far enough in front to be able to sell the country down the river to corporate interests. I guess that the bankers are anxious to get their profits and just can't wait...

      September 6, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Reply
      • Rimmer

        Nope you are completely wrong, Iran will roll over them within 3 years. Mark my words.

        September 7, 2011 at 12:46 am |
  84. Mixer

    Why are we still there? Who can answer that. We got saddam. And yes bush was right to go after him. Her surrendered in the first conflict back in 91. He was to do certain things and didn't he was a bad guy. And Americans died in that shit hole country the first time. If we let him play with us the way he was, it would be spiting on our dead soldiers. So good job president Bush for doing what Clinton should have done in the first place. But now we don't need to be there, get us out. And if we are going to stay then fight the war like a war! Not a political game. Kill them like we did in ww2 the enemy is the guy trying to kill us. Or those who just want Americans dead dead. So bring them home or kill them all. Stop playing with our soldiers lives cuz u don't have the guts for killing.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Reply
    • mudbone9

      You mean what Bush Senior should have done in the first place. And we can thank ole GW for mission accomplished and taking 10 years to kill Osama. Yea he was the man alright.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Reply
    • Sueezedtight

      Well, if the US stopped spending on Iraq/Afghanistan, they would have about $1 trillion/year to help those soldiers become useful US citizens. But then, the CIA would lose all of its heroin drug money needed for covert ops (to get more money for covert ops...). Also, the corporate bosses of the US politicians would lose out on all those lucrative, taxpayer-funded contracts and that is not to be allowed!

      September 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Reply
  85. mudbone9

    What would be the friggin point!!!! Leaving three thousand targets there is totally useless. If we have to go back then we start the invasion all over again. Just wait till it gets that bad then bomb the hell out of them...I mean the Iranians cause its their fault.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  86. Guy Fawkes

    "Change," my tuchas.
    CHANGE - in 2012.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  87. Onikeh Abisodu

    This is good news for the US, pulling out all troops and leaving only 3,000. Iraq has an entrenched IDEOLOGY within its people. No matter what good the US does to sow civility, modern way of thinking and lifestyles, those people will never change for their own good. Ideological entrenchment can be very good sometimes and extremely dangerous in other instances. In the case of IRAQ, they will never change. As soon as the US leaves IRAQ all hell is going to break lose. The Kurdish people are going to secede and fight for autonomy self rule, and the Shiites and Sunny,s are going to duke it out for hell at last. Of course I place my bets on the Sunny people. They have long time accepted western education and some culture from the west. Eventually, Iraq will become a 3 country with different flags.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Reply
    • Allocer

      Its always the idiots that have to make a statement... about everything!

      September 6, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Reply
    • Rimmer

      Nope you are wrong too, they will be under the Iranian Flag within 2 years.

      September 7, 2011 at 12:48 am | Reply
  88. Sagebrush Shorty

    Get our troops out, get all of them out and do it soon.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Reply
  89. nutley

    leave 3000? what kind of joke is that? there are over 500000 troops and support personnel, they're talking about withdrawing 3000, and this sorry article is talking about leaving 3k? First you have to remove 497,000, get it? What a crock, thanks for bankrupting America DICK cheney and his lackey George W.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Reply
    • read much

      Did you not read the article? There are 40,000 there not 500,000. We need to leave and let them deal with their problems. And we need to leave Afghanistan too

      September 6, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Reply
      • kagurazaka

        Had we went in there with 500,000 we wouldn't have had the damn insurgency in the first place.

        September 7, 2011 at 12:39 am |
  90. RON PAUL 2012!

    I thought Odumbass was going to end the wars and decrease the deficit? Shall I hope for change?

    September 6, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Reply
  91. howard

    GET THE HELL OUTTA THAT BLOOD SUCKIN PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 6, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Reply
  92. Babak from LA

    Let's face it regardless of when we pull out, they will go back their old ways. How about we save a few American lives and get them all out ... No one gets left behind....

    September 6, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Reply
    • Huh?

      Do you have a crystal ball? Hey everyone, this guy can predict the future!! Please, tell us tomorrow's lottery ticket numbers!

      September 7, 2011 at 8:24 am | Reply
  93. Sueezedtight

    No surprise that Cheney has no regrets about sending so many good, young people to their deaths.....he made a bundle for his buddies in Halliburton and his masters in the Carlyle Group (going public soon, at a stock market near you, so it can milk even more money from the public...).
    Typical foreign policy action. Set up a CIA stooge, strongman in a country and rip it off until the strongman starts to get uppity and insist on controlling his country's resources and repudiating the US $ for oil contracts. Mess with the IMF and the World Bank and you get taken out....are you listening Gadhaffi? Just like the last 150 years of US history. Some things never change.....until we make them change.

    September 6, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Reply
    • Babak from LA

      @Sueezedtight : I know you are talking about Iraq / Sadom ... But your comment could very easily applu to Iran ... I lived through that as a teenager ... Isn't it amazing how we turn on our so called allies as soon as they grow a pair ... Have a good night.

      September 6, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Reply
      • Sueezedtight

        This is because the foreign policy is not based on human values of respect and reciprocity but rather on exploitation and the exercise of control. All imperialistic, expansionist nations have employed this strategy since the time of Alexander the Great.
        Corporations and their political control is just the latest incarnation of the plutocracy running the masses through the aegis of organized governmental structures.
        Thanks for the comment, it is appreciated and cherished as an example of sane and rational exchange, something that is not always available in venues such as this. You have a great night as well.

        September 6, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  94. mac58

    Don't do it !!!! Pull out all as leaving them behind to me is the same as sacrificing them. No Soldier to be left behind ,PERIOD, Mr.President.

    September 6, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Reply

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