Is it really possible that President-elect Barack Obama intends to break his campaign promise to “end the war” in Iraq, and keep US troops in that country well beyond the sixteen month timetable for withdrawal he advocated during the campaign?
The answer, according to the New York Times, is a fairly certain yes:
“On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama offered a pledge that electrified and motivated his liberal base, vowing to “end the war” in Iraq.
“But as he moves closer to the White House, President-elect Obama is making clearer than ever that tens of thousands of American troops will be left behind in Iraq, even if he can make good on his campaign promise to pull all combat forces out within 16 months.
“‘I said that I would remove our combat troops from Iraq in 16 months, with the understanding that it might be necessary — likely to be necessary — to maintain a residual force to provide potential training, logistical support, to protect our civilians in Iraq,’ Mr. Obama said this week as he introduced his national security team.”
Tens of thousands — a prime target for terrorists, a “residual force” that, in any other context, would be seen as an army of occupation, and a reminder to the Iraqis that they still aren’t free of us, nor we of them. That “residual” force, we are told, could number as high as 70,000 troops “for a substantial time even beyond 2011.” At a cost of billions, to be sure.
This is not “ending” the war.
The retention of Gates, the appointment of Hillary the Hawk, the “team of rivals” gambit that is supposed to inoculate Obama against criticism from the pro-war right — this pre-inaugural political drama is a dress rehearsal for betrayal. Antiwar voters, who put Obama in office, are about to get screwed — and their alleged spokespersons, at least amongst the left-wing punditariat, are bending over with alacrity. Somebody please tell Rachel Maddow to drop the “quackitude,” and reorient her own attitude — because she soon won’t have George W. Bush to kick around anymore. The ball is in her court — and in Keith Olbermann‘s, if he can only remember to take his meds.
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.