Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Iraq Pullout: Mission Accomplished or Strategic Retreat?

Iraq Pullout: Mission Accomplished or Strategic Retreat? - by Stephen Lendman

In an August 2 speech to disabled veterans, Obama touted his planned withdrawal, saying:

"As a candidate for president, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end....Shortly after taking office, I announced our new strategy....for a transition to full Iraqi responsibility. And I made it clear that by August 31, 2010, America's combat mission in Iraq would end. And that is exactly what we are doing - as promised, on schedule."

At two or more recent fundraisers, he repeated the "pledge:"

"We are keeping the promise I made when I began my campaign for the presidency: by the end of this month, we will have removed 100,000 troops from Iraq, and our combat mission will be over."

Unmentioned was combat readiness remaining, paramilitary army additions replacing those leaving, shifting Iraq forces to Afghanistan, increasing hostilities against Pakistan, committing daily war crimes throughout the region, planning more conflicts ahead, continuing America's permanent war agenda, glorifying them in the name of peace, destroying generations of US youths by a never-ending cycle of imperial wars, not liberating ones.

No matter. US cable channels hailed the Iraq pullout like VJ day, none more cloyingly one-sided than MSNBC, devoting an entire evening for "embedded" coverage - "in bed with" for Studs Terkel (1912 - 2008), to report propaganda, not truths, regular media fare, round the clock on cable TV, MSNBC reporter Richard Engel exiting with troops in a specially equipped "Bloom-mobile" (named for NBC's late correspondent David Bloom), host Rachael Maddow in Baghdad, and Keith Olbermann anchoring coverage in New York, a trio doing what they do best - deceiving, not informing viewers, defending imperial wars, not condemning them.

According to MSNBC news executive Phil Griffin, the decision to go wall-to-wall was a "no-brainer," saying "We've got something unique and it's an important story. We said, 'Let's go for it,' " so they did in embarrassing overload, misrepresenting and suppressing the real Iraq story. More on it below.

On August 19, New York Times writer Steven Myers hailed the wind down "even though Baghdad remains without the permanent government" that Obama's strategy envisions, the "stalemate" casting a shadow over the 50,000 troops remaining in an "advise and assist" role.

A supposed "agreement" plans their withdrawal by end of 2011, the State Department then taking over in charge of an army of contractors, including thousands of paramilitaries for private security, hired assassins like Blackwater USA, rebranded as Xe Services LLC to hide the company's dark past, continuing unabated under its new name.

Doubling or tripling them won't matter. Daily violence rages, in July at the highest level in the past two years, media reports downplaying or suppressing the facts, pretending a liberated Iraq is now healing, enhanced by our presence and commitment to "democracy," what's not tolerated at home or anywhere abroad, especially in countries we attack, destroy, and occupy.

Saddam's Iraq no longer exists, the country divided into the Basra south, Kurdish north and Baghdad center, a puppet government serving US interests. In addition, two decades of war and sanctions killed, maimed or otherwise harmed or displaced millions, causing horrific depravation and an epidemic of cancers, typhoid, dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, other diseases, and newborn deformities from scores of pollutants, including depleted uranium (DU), chemicals, toxic metals, oil, bacteria, and other poisons, America's deadly legacy.

Twenty years of war, sanctions, and occupation demolished Iraq. The Gulf War was an economic and environmental disaster, destroying power and chemical plants; factories; dams; water purification facilities; sewage treatment and disposal systems; oil wells, pipelines, refineries, and storage tanks besides ravishing the entire country and its people, the result of gratuitous destruction and slaughter.

In 2003, it was repeated, a "shock and awe" blitzkrieg intermittently continued even with US forces withdrawing. Throughout the country, thousands remain on super-bases, equipped with sophisticated weapons to reign death and destruction from land, sea or air, leaving rubble and a deadly cocktail of oil, gasoline, heavy metals, DU, pesticides, benzene, and other chemicals and pollutants. Also, a GMO-contaminated food supply; water too unsafe to drink; sanitation, electricity, and decent housing in short supply; and most Iraqis deprived of adequate medical, education and other essential services.

Today's Iraq is nightmarish, portrayed as democratically liberated, Obama's bravado as stage-managed as Bush's declared victory on the US carrier Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, a captive audience assembled to cheer failure and imperial war crimes.

Iraqis live them daily, devastated by one of history's greatest ever crimes, ongoing for two decades, what the major media won't touch, instead delivering "in bed with" "mission accomplished" reports, inventing their own version of reality.

Nightmarish human depravation and suffering prove otherwise. Most Iraqis are unemployed or underemployed, impoverished, and without basic services. Under permanent occupation, the country is being strip-mined for profit, its resources stolen, its people exploited and abused, compounded by a poisoned environment, daily violence, major media suppressed crimes, thousands detained, tortured and ill-treated without charge under horrific conditions.

Obama's promise to withdraw all US forces by December 2011 will also be broken. As long as the region's oil rich and strategically important, America's there to stay, Iraqis to be used, abused, and cheated until they succeed in driving us out.

The hated occupation motivates them to resist, cleric Moqtada al-Sadr vowing to "rise up and fight to the death," Abu Mohammed (in charge of the Sadrist cemetery) saying if US forces aren't out by end of 2011, "we will fight and give our blood. This will be our solution," one they expect will be needed knowing Washington came to stay, a status millions of Iraqis won't tolerate nor should they.

Some Final Thoughts

Echoed by shameless major media trumpeting, Obama's bravado is brazenly bogus, the staged-managed Iraq pullout more retreat than success.

The occupation's now rebranded, yet US combat readiness remains, accompanied by daily violence, atrocities, and depravation. They plague Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and US-financed proxy wars in Somalia, Yemen, Colombia, and elsewhere, realities the major media suppress, as well as the war at home on human need, not addressed or discussed.

Since 2001 alone, trillions of dollars have been wasted on militarism and war making, badly needed funds domestically at a time of deepening depression.

As a result, growing millions of Americans are hemorrhaging - suffering from unemployment, lost savings, homelessness, ill health, hunger, hopelessness and despair, another unreported story, media stooges hailing a "recovery" for Wall Street, not Main Street.

Unsurprisingly, US workers are experiencing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, perhaps surpassing its severity before it ends because US leaders don't give a damn, mindless of human suffering, their audacity of power corrupted, brutal and uncaring, Obama as bad as the rest.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.