President Obama’s plan to leave 50,000 troops in Iraq has come under criticism from the nation’s leading anti-war veteran’s organization, Veterans for Peace. The group said that Obama’s policies in Iraq and Afghanistan will put the final nail in the coffin of the American economy.
“I really believe President Obama wants to do good things for the country,” said VFP president, Mike Ferner, “but if he continues on this course he’s charted, his hopes are guaranteed to founder on the shoals of war. This way lies disaster. For all our sakes, I hope he reconsiders. Besides the suffering and death caused by prolonging these wars, America simply can no longer afford the cost of empire. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what these policies do. Their purpose is to control an entire region of the world and its resources. If you look at history, it’s clear the long term outlook for empires is not very pleasant.”
Ferner called Obama’s policies nothing more than sleight of hand, “Barack Obama became president in part because millions of voters were sick of these wars and wanted them stopped, period. Saying that only ‘non-combat’ troops will be left after 19 months is just sleight of hand so we can keep tens of thousands of soldiers in Iraq and send thousands more to Afghanistan.” Much of the most stinging criticism that Obama has faced so far has not been from the right. It is the left that has been disappointed by Obama’s performance.
I respectfully disagree with the Veterans for Peace on this issue. By all accounts, Iraq still isn’t able to handle its own training of soldiers and police. I think having non-combat troops there is an improvement, and while I share their concerns that 50,000 troops will stay there forever, I think that it is an unrealistic goal to go from 142,000 to 0 troops in Iraq. It is critical that everyone who wants the troops out of Iraq keeps the pressure on the Obama administration, to make sure that all the troops come home.
It would be easy for those on the left to be content with the fact that over 2/3 of the troops are out of Iraq, but unless all of the troops come out, Iraq will become the latest global U.S. military global outpost. Usually, once American troops go in, they never completely come out. American troops don’t belong in Iraq, but unless Democrats hold the Obama administration accountable, the Pentagon will turn Iraq into the Middle Eastern outpost that they have always dreamed of.