Thursday, March 05, 2009

Now Obama Goes to War

The day Obama played his Get Out Of Iraq Card, it was reported that the US GNP fell over a record six percent. Not that this declining economic indicator was caused by Obama's Iraq War plan, but it illustrated how low the tolerance exists for any policy, war or peace, that augers for continued spending without more job creation or an expanding economy.

By now, let us hope that Obama reads the conditions in the country correctly. If he does not understand how the US got into trouble, there is little hope he will fix it. Apart from legalized looting by the banks, mortgage brokers, financial rating organizations, all without oversight, GW Bush's two wars aided in the bankruptcy of the nation. Obama's recent stimulus and bailout policies are at best a shot in the dark. Most experts agree, even with this enormous dollar deluge, chances of recovery are at best even.

Despite Administration spin to the opposite, Obama blinked on Iraq. Is it a case of the job making the man? Before he moved into the White House, he thought straight on the Iraq war. GET OUT SOONEST AND SAFEST. Now he has a muddled plan that is essentially conditions-driven; it has as many as 50,000 troops remaining in country to secure American contractors and train Iraqi forces. Who is kidding whom? To make Obama's stance even more awkward, his Secretary of Defense Gates now publicly envisions US troops in Iraq beyond ending the occupation in 2012.

Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, adds to the fog of departure from Iraq by indicating that the US troops are positioned in Baghdad to have the Iraqis take control. Mullen further indicated that he does not think in terms of victory or defeat in Iraq. If that is the case, he better get out sooner than later since the results in the end will be the same: an end result between low or high grade chaos. If Mullen thinks this is realistic – i.e.: war without victory – he does not deserve to be of flag rank. The ground forces generals are not much better as they blame political factors for their failure to hold and win decisively in the field. Perhaps Mullen should arrange to have the slogan BORN TO LOSE chiseled into the limestone facade of the Pentagon River entrance.

Building reliable Iraqi security forces smacks of pie in the sky. US command has annually reported for several years great strides in the readiness of these forces. Yet, when it comes to their test under fire, these local forces usually flop, unless there is a backbone of US forces that can call in American combat air and fire support. This explains why US commanders are so reluctant to withdraw; to end the occupation. Iraqi force development is a work in progress without serious progress.

Right now Obama is girding for a budget battle in the US. Concurrently, the Iraqis are doing the same. Basically a one resource oil economy, Iraq is projecting a budget based on income at 50 USD a barrel, but few expect this price; it is realistically more between 40 - 45 USD a barrel. This shortfall will slow and stagnate Iraq reconstruction and the equipping of security forces.

Back in Washington, US Defense officials are biting their fingernails over having their budget seriously slashed by the Obama and lisping Congressman Barney Frank. So there will not be much help from the US Defense Department for Iraqi projects and programs. As pet US defense weapons development comes under threat, it will be every service and military aid-seeking country for itself.

Democratic Alpha dogs Speaker of the House Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid are barking their dissatisfaction at Obama's Iraqi withdrawal plan; bravo dogs MSNBC liberal pundits Olbermann and Maddow are publicly distraught over the plan. But conservative lap dog, Bomb Bomb McCain is wagging his tail with joy over Obama's plan..... The President is not dancing with those who brung him. He will pay a price for this betrayal of his signature issue. Colonel Robert E. Bartos USA Ret


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