tomdispatch.com — It was to be the war that would establish empire as an American fact. And then, of course, it wasn’t. And then, almost nine dismal years later, it was over (sorta). "It" was the Iraq war. It’s true that, if you were looking for low-rent victories in a near trillion-dollar war, this time, U.S. diplomats weren’t rushing for the last helicopter off an embassy roof. In other words, it wasn’t Vietnam and, as everyone knew, that was a defeat. If, however, you did happen to be looking for a word or two to capture the whole affair, something less polite than those presently circulating, “debacle” and “defeat” might fit the bill. The military of the self-proclaimed single greatest power of planet Earth had been sent packing. That should have been considered little short of stunning. Face what happened in Iraq directly and you know that you’re on a new planet.
I heard one of my favorite holiday songs on the radio yesterday — John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." I've always loved it, but this year it holds special meaning for me — especially the children of the Harlem Community Choir singing "War is over, if you want it." on the chorus .
This holiday season, I'm getting something that — as a progressive — I have wanted for years: an end of the war in Iraq. As it happens, this "gift" is like many given and received this time of year. You never really know what you're getting until you unwrap it. Once unwrapped, it's not to be quite what you thought or hoped it would be. And, even with price tag removed, you know it cost way too much.
newamericamedia.org — American wars used to end decisively. When Americans came back from defeating the Germans after World War II, there were ticker-tape parades. When the last U.S. helicopter lifted off from Saigon, Vietnam on April 30, 1975, the image seared deep into the American psyche; it spelled an ignominious end. For the first time in its history, America had been defeated. Its ally, South Vietnam, fell to communist hands. Several generations grappled with their nation’s foreign policies and the meaning of such “hell in a small place,” reexamining their role in the war, whether as participants and supporters, or dissenters and protesters. Vietnam changed the nation’s outlook on the world and its place in it. Since then we have been trying to kick the Vietnam syndrome. We have been searching for victory. Fast forward to Dec 15, 2011.
washingtonmonthly.com — When President Obama announced that all U.S. troops would be out of Iraq by the end of the year — a promise that came to fruition last week — the response from Republican presidential candidates was immediate: they were outraged. What’s more, the usual suspects, including John McCain and Lindsey Graham, made the rounds, telling the broadcast networks that the end of the war is a terrible development. It appears that the GOP’s pushback against the end of the war hasn’t proven persuasive.
ft.com — For half a decade the war in Iraq was the most controversial and important issue in international politics. But when the American military slipped out of the country last week, the world hardly noticed. There is something strange and unseemly about this lack of reflection on the end of the Iraq war. More than 100,000 Iraqi civilians died as a result of the conflict — according to the probably conservative estimate of the Iraq Body Count, an NGO. Millions of Iraqis became refugees. Thousands of American and allied troops were killed and maimed. Was it all worth it? President Barack Obama, once a stern critic of the war, did his best to accentuate the positive in a speech to U.S. troops last week. But the verdict of candidate Obama – that Iraq was a “dumb war” – is more convincing.
The Strengthen Social Security Campaign has created a guide evaluating the “friendliness” of six Republican candidates, “Among Republican Candidates, Not a Single Friend of Social Security.” The Campaign has also produced longer individual profiles of more »
politics.salon.com — In a speech at Fort Bragg, N.C., Wednesday, President Obama declared that the war in Iraq is over. “I’ve come to speak to you about the end of the war in Iraq,” he told gathered troops. “Over the last few months, the final work of leaving Iraq has been done. Dozens of bases with American names that housed thousands of American troops have been closed down or turned over to the Iraqis. Thousands of tons of equipment have been packed up and shipped out. Tomorrow, the colors of United States Forces-Iraq — the colors you fought under — will be formally cased in a ceremony in Baghdad.” All the specifics were true. But what about Obama’s claim that the war has come to a end? The truth is more complicated. It turns out the Obama administration is leaving behind a huge contingent from the State Department along with thousands of armed private contractors. The possibility for violence between Americans and Iraqis is very real.
washingtonmonthly.com — The United States War in Iraq is finally officially over today. It’s an occasion well worth marking. Why did it end? Certainly not because the matter was settled on the battlefield, either with a clear win or a clear loss. Anyone who has any confidence that the goals Americans were fighting for from 2004 on have now been secured is nuts. On the other hand, it’s not a “defeat” in the sense of being driven off the battlefield. All of which means that leaving is a real choice. Yes, the Iraqi government had some say in the question, but had the US been seriously committed over the last several years to staying, I think it’s pretty clear there could easily still be 100,000 or more troops there, indefinitely, no matter what the Iraqis wanted. No, the United States ended its war in Iraq by choice, just as it got in by choice.
foreignpolicy.com — Once upon a time, there were two Republican presidential candidates. One was the former governor of a conservative state and ambassador to a growing world power. He was smart, disciplined, well-versed in the ways of the world and the complexity of international affairs. The other was a former speaker of the House; a bombastic, ethically challenged, former historian enamored with big ideas for "radical transformation" but little sense of how to accomplish such grandiose goals. I am speaking of course of Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich — the latter the GOP frontrunner, the former an also-ran in the race for the Republican nomination. But on Monday afternoon, the two men sat down for a debate on U.S. foreign policy. It was a fascinating glimpse into the nature of the GOP nomination process to date; and the extent to which Republican voters are clearly valuing style over substance in choosing their standard bearer to take on Barack Obama.
huffingtonpost.com — Sometime in the next 15 days, the last American troops will leave Iraq — and the War that began almost nine years ago will finally come to an end. The end of the War in Iraq is a major event in American history, since in many ways, that War was the defining historic event for an entire generation of Americans. There are those who would minimize the importance of the final withdrawal of our troops from Iraq by pointing to the unfinished business of the War in Afghanistan, or the use of civilian contractors. Those are important issues, but they should not diminish the extraordinary significance of the fact that the Iraq War has come to an end. Most importantly, Progressives — and all of those who fought for a decade to prevent and then to end the Iraq War — should take a moment to celebrate the fact that they have won a critical, historic battle.