President Obama walks with Canada’s first black Governor General; Her Excellency Michaelle Jean in Ottawa 2/19/09
The Real Reasons for Troop Withdraw
by Chris Stevenson
America’s addiction to Iraq won’t end as quickly as anticipated, but it will come to an end. As in the case of any substance abuse, you must go through withdrawal; the President Obama 19-month treatment program. By 8/31/10 the only American troops left in Iraq should be the 40-50 thousand assigned to stay and help train Iraqi government soldiers to secure their country from terrorism.
The 8/31/10 deadline is longer than originally promised from Obama, and certainly longer than Iraqi officials intended but that’s the timeframe recently handed down by the president to the Marines in Camp Lejeune NC. For my money the wheels of transformation were really set in motion by Iraq a few weeks ago. Back on 1/29 Iraq issued a statement that it was barring Blackwater Worldwide from providing security for US diplomats. The reasons of course are not a surprise, the N.C. contractor is saturated with nothing more than a bunch of stupid US policemen. First and foremost the Iraqis are still incensed over the 9/07 massacre of 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square. Even back in ’07 while the IL Senator, Obama announced plans to place tight restrictions upon Blackwater’s presence in Iraq, they have since taken the initiative and President Obama’s announcement of a pullout makes it official.
The disturbing thing about Blackwater is they are a product of the machinations of the Bush Administration. It was his State Department that extended the BW contract for a year last spring, ignoring calls for their ouster from Iraq. Consider Blackwater to be the tip of the iceberg to the ugly Americanism endured by Iraqi civilians, while Abu-Ghraib and Haditha are well-known US military incidents, another silent undercurrent of the last 6 years of American occupation is the sexual abuse of Iraqi women by some American troops.
One example is the rape of a 15-year-old Iraqi girl-Abeer Qassim Hamza-at the hands of 5 American soldiers in Mahmudiya in March of ’06 (most of whom were sentenced to life without parole in ’07). The 5 eventually murdered the girl, burned her body as if to hide the evidence and then murdered her parents and sister. I know what the Iraqis are thinking, all the damage and chaos caused by a nation that had no business there in the first place. This is part of the mess that seems to point to the mind of George W. Bush, incidents like this are more likely to happen if troops see their Commander-in-Chief sticking his middle finger out at the rest of the world.
Andrew Warren; a CIA Algerian station chief appointed by Bush is now under investigation after 2 women accused him of drugging and raping them while assigned to the Algerian Capitol. Both women’s charges are separate from each other and Warren says it was consensual, but he made their case easier by actually filming it on his cell phone. Both his phone and digital camera were confiscated and there may be more victims involved (he refuses to hand over his PC). Warren’s actual job description was to “establish a relationship with it’s host intelligence service and overseeing agency activities in the country.”
I get the feeling his relationships with those women aren’t what the CIA was looking for, but that’s an example of the morally-flawed people the Bush Administration has been deploying in other countries and it’s safe to assume this is a large reason Iraq is fed up. After 2011 there won’t be a US presence there. This is the untold story behind the US withdraw; in actuality a withdrawal process for the US military and in part a chance for President Obama to go after the real enemy Osama bin Laden in Afghanstan.
Chris Stevenson is a columnist for the Buffalo Challenger, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org