THIS WEEK’S SYNDICATED COLUMN: Obama’s Weasel Words

On Iraq, Antiwar Candidate Delivers More Carnage

Obama won the Democratic nomination and the presidency by speaking out against the Iraq War. Now that he’s packing for Washington, however, the old Chicago lawyer is using Harvard Law weasel words to make sure the war goes on for years.
Germans are organized. The French are snotty. Americans have a national character trait, too: inattention. It’s now obvious that Obama exploited our hard-wired inability to read between the lines to lay the groundwork for what many of his supporters will soon view as a terrible betrayal.

Right there, in a July 14th op/ed, is Obama’s triumph of plausible deniability: “The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep,” he wrote in The New York Times. “Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president.”

Seems clear. End means end. Finito. No more. But there’s an interesting phrase in Obama’s promises to pull out, repeated throughout the campaign”: “combat troops.” “We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated,” he wrote in his op/ed. “We can safely redeploy our combat brigades.”

“It’s time to end this war,” Obama concluded. Ending the war would mean following the political cartoonist Matt Bors’ prescription: The troops would go to the airport. They would board planes. They would fly away.

But Obama doesn’t want to end the war.

Obama will classify some units as “combat troops” and send them to Afghanistan, which he wants to expand into an even bigger war. But tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of troops, will remain in Iraq, killing and getting killed.

“Even though the [U.S.] agreement with the Iraq government calls for all American combat troops to be out of the cities by the end of June [2009],” reported the Times on December 22nd, military planners are “now quietly acknowledging that many will stay behind as renamed ‘trainers’ and ‘advisers’ in what are effectively combat roles. In other words, they will still be engaged in combat, just called something else.”

Obama isn’t just recycling Clinton’s staff. He’s also into his aphorisms: It depends on what the meaning of “combat troop” is.

How many non-combat combat troops will still be shooting and bombing Iraqis after 2011? “My guess is that you’re looking at perhaps several tens of thousands of American troops,” says Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a Bush appointee who has been asked by Obama to stay on—presumably because he approves of the superb job the Bush Administration has done in Iraq. Obama’s military advisors, reports The Los Angeles Times, “have said that residual force could consist of as many as 50,000 troops.”

When Americans hear about military advisers helping to train foreign forces, they think of JFK, who sent a skeleton crew of 1,400 advisers to South Vietnam in 1961. (Let’s not dwell on how that turned out.)

50,000 troops—this being the Pentagon, you know it’ll be more—is a full-scale war. Indeed, when President George H.W. Bush invaded Panama and overthrew its government in 1989, he used 57,000 troops.

Of course, we should have seen this coming. Obama talked and talked and talked about his opposition to the Iraq War. He’s good at that. But whenever he had a chance to put his vote where his mouth was, he chumped out. Time after time, he voted for Bush’s requests to send billions of taxpayer dollars to Halliburton and other war profiteers. He never voted no.

“I have been very clear even as a candidate that, once we were in, that we were going to have some responsibility to make it work as best we could, and more importantly that our troops had the best resources they needed to get home safely,” Obama said during the campaign. “So I don’t think there is any contradiction there.” But the money isn’t provided to get our troops home safely. It’s to keep them in Iraq, fighting and killing and being killed. As Obama well knew.

With Detroit automakers and three million jobs teetering on the brink of disaster for lack of a $25 billion bailout, you’d think Obama would want to end a war that wastes that much in 12 weeks. Yet, even in a depression, Barack Obama is no less devoted to the pit of blood and treasure that is Iraq than George W. Bush.

Forget preemptive war. How about preemptive impeachment?

COPYRIGHT 2008 TED RALL

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23 Responses to “THIS WEEK’S SYNDICATED COLUMN: Obama’s Weasel Words”

  1. Aggie Dude Says:

    From the forest herself, comes the handle for the axe.

  2. vote DECEPTICON 2012 for change Says:

    Can someone, just one reporter, just one of the people within the fifty-mile military cordon of Him ask him what the fuck he sees happening in Afghanistan?

    The movie’s already been made. Go pirate “9th company” and see how the Russians feel about their endless voina in afghan. SPOILER ALERT: EVERYONE DIES IN THE MUD FOR NOTHING

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Impeachment?

    For mere words where actions cannot yet even be legally accomplished (lack of inauguration and all)?

    Can you please explain yourself Mr Rall?

    Y_S
    Pakistan

  4. Orville Says:

    US Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 47, § 1001

    (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
    (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
    (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
    (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
    shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both. If the matter relates to an offense under chapter 109A, 109B, 110, or 117, or section 1591, then the term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be not more than 8 years.
    (b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a party to a judicial proceeding, or that party’s counsel, for statements, representations, writings or documents submitted by such party or counsel to a judge or magistrate in that proceeding.
    (c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to—
    (1) administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch; or
    (2) any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate.

    Obama, as President or Senator is covered under this. (So, for that matter, are Bush, Clinton, Cheney, Powell, Rice, Albright, Biden, Kerry and anyone else who lied about the attacks on Iraq (1998 and 2003-).) Hence, they are all subject to prosecution. To the best of my knowledge, there is no statute of limitations on this. The only question should be, do we send them to FCI Marion or to ADMAX Florence?

    (My source can be found at: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00001001—-000-.html
    You may want to help make a donation to cover the cost of this service…)

  5. Orville Says:

    US Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 47, § 1001

    (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
    (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
    (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
    (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
    shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both. If the matter relates to an offense under chapter 109A, 109B, 110, or 117, or section 1591, then the term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be not more than 8 years.
    (b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a party to a judicial proceeding, or that party’s counsel, for statements, representations, writings or documents submitted by such party or counsel to a judge or magistrate in that proceeding.
    (c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to—
    (1) administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch; or
    (2) any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate.

    Obama, as President or Senator is covered under this. (So, for that matter, are Bush, Clinton, Cheney, Powell, Rice, Albright, Biden, Kerry and anyone else who lied about the attacks on Iraq (1998 and 2003-).) Hence, they are all subject to prosecution. To the best of my knowledge, there is no statute of limitations on this. The only question should be, do we send them to FCI Marion or to ADMAX Florence?

    (My source can be found at: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00001001—-000-.html
    You may want to help make a donation to cover the cost of this service…)

  6. Always Right Says:

    To the kids on the left it doesn’t matter what He says. It only matters that He sounds intellectual and shows of his abs like an MTV rockstar. His election is the result of years of dumbing down American kids in k-12 and filling their heads with liberal feel-goodism on University campuses from Marxist professors who only have a job thanks to tenure; for they cannot function in “the real world”.

  7. Always Right Says:

    To the kids on the left it doesn’t matter what He says. It only matters that He sounds intellectual and shows of his abs like an MTV rockstar. His election is the result of years of dumbing down American kids in k-12 and filling their heads with liberal feel-goodism on University campuses from Marxist professors who only have a job thanks to tenure; for they cannot function in “the real world”.

  8. Clownstotheleftjokerstotheright Says:

    Though I like this column very much, I will say this:

    BUSH: Slammed by the left, adored by the right.

    OBAMA: Slammed by the right, slammed by the left.

    Maybe he’s onto something after all.

  9. Always Right Says:

    BUSH: Slammed by the left, adored by the right.

    Bush is hardly adored by the right. Conservatives disagree with him on the bailouts, border enforcement, his propensity to spend.

  10. Always Right Says:

    BUSH: Slammed by the left, adored by the right.

    Bush is hardly adored by the right. Conservatives disagree with him on the bailouts, border enforcement, his propensity to spend.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    like JFK with the Viet Nam, baby! this-all was just the beginning.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    like JFK with the Viet Nam, baby! this-all was just the beginning.

  13. Aggie Dude Says:

    RE: Always Right:

    “His election is the result of years of dumbing down American kids in k-12 and filling their heads with liberal feel-goodism on University campuses from Marxist professors who only have a job thanks to tenure; for they cannot function in “the real world”.”

    Get a new line….’the real world’? Get a clue, and a new line, that’s probably the same shit you’ve been saying for decades. I know, I grew up listening to that shit constantly.

    “Bush is hardly adored by the right. Conservatives disagree with him on the bailouts, border enforcement, his propensity to spend.”

    Give me a frackin’ BREAK from this self-important nonsense. YOU PEOPLE turned out for him in 2004. You can ‘disagree’ all you want….you can suppose, assume, suspect, blah blah blah til you’re blue in the GD face. At the end of the line when Dick Cheney and Co. tell you to get in line and shut your mouth, you do exactly that. You do so because you’re trained to do so. Why don’t you go brush the dandruff of your pleated black shirt, fascist storm trooper.

    You’re the one who doesn’t live in the real world dude. Your world has been meticulously fabricated to achieve the exact responses from you necessary.

  14. Orville Says:

    I would differ with Aggie Dude slightly. A FEW real conservatives voted third-party or didn’t vote. Most of them chucked their principles and went with Bush.
    A few others changed their views.

    I’m not sure which side Always Right is on. Of course, I’d fit into either the first or third category, depending on how you consider me…but either way, I didn’t support Bush.

  15. Always Right Says:

    Really Aggie, you should learn to watch that temper of yours.

    The fact is that University professors are largely leftist. My fulltime professors fell into two categories:

    Hard core leftists teaching most of the GE courses. It wasn’t hared to pick them out, all one had to do was walk down the hall where their offices were and their doors will filled with Marxist slogans, cartoons and bumper stickers. I can’t say I ever saw even one conservative posting.

    The category, were professors who could barely manage to dress themselves or keep an office that wasn’t possibly the most disorganized room I’ve ever seen. These professors could barely hold a conversation and were obviously social misfits.

    The only professors that seemed to have a grasp on reality were those that taught part-time, and had “real jobs” in ” the real world”.

    From the tone of your hot temper I’d say you fit into both the categories of full time professors.

    God Bless

  16. Always Right Says:

    Really Aggie, you should learn to watch that temper of yours.

    The fact is that University professors are largely leftist. My fulltime professors fell into two categories:

    Hard core leftists teaching most of the GE courses. It wasn’t hared to pick them out, all one had to do was walk down the hall where their offices were and their doors will filled with Marxist slogans, cartoons and bumper stickers. I can’t say I ever saw even one conservative posting.

    The category, were professors who could barely manage to dress themselves or keep an office that wasn’t possibly the most disorganized room I’ve ever seen. These professors could barely hold a conversation and were obviously social misfits.

    The only professors that seemed to have a grasp on reality were those that taught part-time, and had “real jobs” in ” the real world”.

    From the tone of your hot temper I’d say you fit into both the categories of full time professors.

    God Bless

  17. David Says:

    It just seems that way, AR, ’cause you fixate on them. Most University personnel are centrist establishmentarians. There are righties and lefties, but since you didn’t hang out in business skewl, you didn’t see the righties.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    To “Always Right”

    You might find some “leftist” professors, may be, in history
    , sociology and literature departments. And not many.
    In economics, political science,
    political economy and anything else
    you find pure “capitalist” professors.
    Keep in mind that all professors
    regardless of their political orientation and college trustees
    depend heavily on grants and endownments from “rich capatilists”
    individuals and foundations.
    So any professor or college that
    veers to far to the left will be
    in deep trouble.
    With the ingorance you are displaying and the shit you are
    writing I doubt you went to college at all.

  19. Always Right Says:

    Dear Anonymous 1200:PM

    A Rothman-Lichter-Nevitte study, which found that 72 percent of full-time faculty identified as liberal while 15 percent considered themselves conservative and the rest middle of the road

    A 2001 Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA found that about 5 percent of faculty members called themselves far left, 42 percent were liberal, 34 percent considered themselves middle of the road, less than 18 percent were conservative, and 0.3 percent placed themselves on the far right. (One likely reason for the difference between the two surveys is that the HERI study included two-year colleges in its sample.)

    And I graduate from a 4 year university in California in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Your apology is accepted.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    To Always Right,

    May be the discrepancy stems from that the so called “liberals” are just “neo-liberals” like the DLC Democratic party now aka Bill Clinton and Obama and company.
    Those “liberals” do not care about
    social justice and the rights of the average Joe against big business. They support foreign
    interventions, militarism,
    globalization and “free trade”.
    You do not call those people leftists or liberals, they are not.
    I am myself retired “67 years old” Electronic engineer and I admit that engineers are the most
    politically naive and ignorant “smart people”. They are
    even oblivious to their own interests. They think being a “professional” means sacrificing
    themselves for the company and
    working gazillions hours of overtime for free.
    Give them computers and scopes and
    they will not even notice if the whole world came crashing around them.
    B.T.W. I am sorry.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Always Right,

    As self-described old Bolshevik (others call me a Khrushchevite) and someone who has technical as well as practical knowledge of Marxism; I have yet to meet a professor who understands Marxism at all. Frankly, it was the right wing professors who understood it best. Simply because most fail to remember that Marxism is liberal economics with a almost ultra conservative society.

    I guarantee you most of the professors you met would fly in the face of reality and probably refuse to acknowledge this dichotomy. Even though the word and the practice stand behind it.

    Frankly, I don’t consider any of the neo-liberal professors Marxists at all. For example you can be a Satanist but you can’t exactly preach from the Bible.

    By the way, most universities I have attended the professors in the Engineering department were conservatives. Frankly, they all liked me and we shared a lot of hobbies and ideas together.

  22. Always Right Says:

    I am myself retired “67 years old” Electronic engineer and I admit that engineers are the most
    politically naive and ignorant “smart people”. They are
    even oblivious to their own interests. They think being a “professional” means sacrificing
    themselves for the company and
    working gazillions hours of overtime for free.
    Give them computers and scopes and
    they will not even notice if the whole world came crashing around them.
    B.T.W. I am sorry.

    I agree with you completely. That is why I quit engineering five years ago and took a stab at starting my own business providing financial services to other businesses. . In my experience, the small business owners I’ve met are largely conservative or libertarian.

  23. Always Right Says:

    I am myself retired “67 years old” Electronic engineer and I admit that engineers are the most
    politically naive and ignorant “smart people”. They are
    even oblivious to their own interests. They think being a “professional” means sacrificing
    themselves for the company and
    working gazillions hours of overtime for free.
    Give them computers and scopes and
    they will not even notice if the whole world came crashing around them.
    B.T.W. I am sorry.

    I agree with you completely. That is why I quit engineering five years ago and took a stab at starting my own business providing financial services to other businesses. . In my experience, the small business owners I’ve met are largely conservative or libertarian.

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