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I've been pretty hard of President Obama, mainly for running up trillions of dollars in debt every year he's been in office, and for jacking up federal spending at a time we didn't have a plan in place to pay for our existing spending. Obama also blew a trillion bucks on a failed stimulus plan that didn't bring down unemployment, and implemented a major new entitlement program when we didn't have plans for how to pay for our existing entitlements. He also has the irritating habit of blaming everything on anyone other than himself. His slogan should be 'the buck stops there'. Frankly, his act has worn very thin.
But at least Obama is ending the wars. Our troops will be out of Iraq by the end of 2011, and out of Afghanistan by 2014, according to the President. He deserves at least a little credit for this.
Or does he ?
Here's the Iraq status:
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Iraq’s government has agreed to extend the U.S. military presence in the country beyond 2011 — but Iraq quickly rejected the claim.
The word from Panetta, during an interview with Stars & Stripes, was the first official indication that any of the 46,000 American troops will remain in Iraq beyond the country’s Dec. 31 deadline for U.S. forces to leave. The U.S. and Iraq reached a security agreement in 2008 that the entire American military would be out of the country by the end of 2011...Panetta said the Pentagon has already begun planning for the continued presence in Iraq.
That's odd. Perhaps the Iraqis have asked us to stay longer ??? Nope. It's the USA who has been pressuring Iraq to keep our forces there, not vice versa:
Under intense U.S. pressure, Iraqi leaders announced early Wednesday they had agreed to start negotiations on keeping some American soldiers in the country after the current Dec. 31 deadline for all U.S. troops to have left Iraq.
President Barack Obama made withdrawing all U.S. forces from Iraq a campaign pledge but in recent months, U.S. officials have raised a variety of reasons, including threats from Iran, for why both the U.S. and Iraq would benefit from a continued American military presence.
Interesting. The Bush administration reached an agreement with the Iraqis to withdraw our forces from Iraq by the end of 2011, but now the Obama administration is pressuring the Iraqis for us to stay there. My, how things change. I guess Obama no longer believes Iraq is a "dumb war", as he did in 2008 when he ran for President as the anti-Iraq war candidate. If you remember, he pledged to have us out of Iraq by May 2010 when he was a candidate. Like so many of his campaign promises, that one expired the moment he took office.
Let's turn to the other war, the one Obama liked, in Afghanistan. We're supposed to be out of there by 2014, right ? Here's the new status on Afghanistan:
America and Afghanistan are close to signing a strategic pact which would allow thousands of United States troops to remain in the country until at least 2024, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
The agreement would allow not only military trainers to stay to build up the Afghan army and police, but also American special forces soldiers and air power to remain.
A withdrawal of American troops has already begun following an agreement to hand over security for the country to Kabul by the end of 2014.
But Afghans wary of being abandoned are keen to lock America into a longer partnership after the deadline. Many analysts also believe the American military would like to retain a presence close to Pakistan, Iran and China.
Both Afghan and American officials said that they hoped to sign the pact before the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan in December. Barack Obama and Hamid Karzai agreed last week to escalate the negotiations and their national security advisers will meet in Washington in September.
Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Mr Karzai’s top security adviser, told The Daily Telegraph that “remarkable progress” had been made. US officials have said they would be disappointed if a deal could not be reached by December and that the majority of small print had been agreed.
Dr Spanta said a longer-term presence was crucial not only to build Afghan forces, but also to fight terrorism.
“If [the Americans] provide us weapons and equipment, they need facilities to bring that equipment,” he said. “If they train our police and soldiers, then those trainers will not be 10 or 20, they will be thousands.
“We know we will be confronted with international terrorists. 2014, is not the end of international terrorist networks and we have a common commitment to fight them. For this purpose also, the US needs facilities.”
Afghan forces would still need support from US fighter aircraft and helicopters, he predicted. In the past, Washington officials have estimated a total of 25,000 troops may be needed.
So there you have it. As Obama said, our troops will be out of Iraq and Afghanistan...except for the troops that will stay there. It's a bit strange when our idea of moving out looks quite a bit like we're moving in. Then again, we still have troops in Germany and Japan, and that war ended in 1945. It's a good thing we don't have any economic problems. If we did, placing our soldiers all over the globe could get rather expensive. Do you know what I mean, Mr. President ? Do you know what I mean, Republicans ? I was always under the impression that the country our Constitution mandates our government to protect was THIS ONE, not all of them.
P.S. - Has anyone heard any liberals call Obama a "fascist warmongering chickenhawk" yet ? I'm just curious. It's seems like the anti-war crowd got a whole lot quieter since Obama became President. Weird, huh ?