Monday, February 12, 2007

Obama's Imperialism

Obama at UIC yesterday from today's Trib.

Then a vocal crowd of anti-war protesters quickly made the issue the central focus of Obama's evening rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion, holding up a sign that read "Cut the Funding" during his address and chanting loudly as he tried to speak.

"I'm glad they were there," Obama said later. "They feel a sense of urgency about a war that should have never been authorized and a war that should have never been fought."

But he said he doesn't want to cut funding for the troops who already are serving in Iraq, saying that could mean they don't get the equipment they need.

"We need to bring this war to an end," he said, "but we need to do it in a way that makes our troops safe."
Terrorist suicide bombers have a sense of urgency far greater than any Obama saw yesterday. It's born from a hate of Liberalism, the West, and the noblest of our beliefs and principles.

Terrorists won't stand-down from the fight in Iraq because we redeploy away from them.

Obama, the African-American, seems strangely full of Kipling's White Man's Burden. A belief that like undisciplined college kids, these messianic Arab rustics will somehow come to their senses if given space to grow from their helicopter parents. (Or perhaps a view Mom and Dad best wash their hands of them.)

No sense on Obama's part that we're allied with Iraqi brothers and sisters in a struggle for freedom and Democracy. No sense of that at all from Obama.

Obama foolishly under estimates Al-Qaeda's resolve. They're resolved to suicide. They mean to butcher us. The say so. They video their slaughter. We can't end a war unilaterally, and it's the grossest Imperial hubris to believe we can.

20 comments:

Anonymous,  8:34 AM  

Al-Qaeda is Empty rhetoric. Only is Boston does this play.

Bill Baar 9:08 AM  

If that's what Sen Obama believes, I'd like to hear him say that. Forget this junk about his youth and the garbage that's been dominating the blogs. If he agrees Al-Aaeda empty rhetoric, I want to hear him say so.

Rich Miller 9:29 AM  

I've seen people read into remarks many, many times in my life, but this is one of the weirdest. I don't see how you make this leap of logic from the comments you posted, to Kipling to terrorists.

Bill Baar 9:40 AM  

Try it this way Rich. Obama's position is completely self-centered, Amercian centric, Imperialist in the sense of Kipling's poem. America can end the war, on its own, unilaterally by just redeploying away.

Our Arab foes just don't have a say in it. It grossly underestimates them as being trival people, not counting, not having a say about keeping up the fight.

It's a horrible mistake to make of an enemy and it's born from arrogance.

NW burbs,  9:52 AM  

Please explain, Bill, whether it will be the Iraqi Shia or Sunnis who "follow us home" (or do you think it will be both)?

Because guess what, the only reason al Qaida is even in Iraq is because Bush invaded under a set of false pretenses. For that matter, it wasn't really the al Qaida of bin Laden fame in Iraq. It was a group that renamed itself and later allied itself to al Qaida -- but it's easy to score cheap political points by conflating that history, isn't it?

So just who is going "follow" our troops?

And PS: prevailing military redeployment strategies call for our brave troops to be repositioned outside of the Iraq Civil War zones in either neighboring or nearby countries. These strategies are endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans in the Congress, recall that the Congress by Constitutional creed has warpowers.

Moreover, we need our troops back in Afghanistan since that nation is slipping back into Taliban control little by little while Bush has his eyes off the ball.

And where is bin Laden? Has he been captured or killed yet?

If you're truly worried about terrorists being in the US, you'd demand his head on a platter. We can kill or imprison all the low-level street fighters and 'lieutenants' you want -- they'll just recruit more (like every other insurgent war that's ever been fought in the history of mankind).

Until we eliminate the masterminds at the top, they'll keep looking for ways to "butcher" us (not that they're recruitment posters don't also show us butchering them).

Revenge begets war. War begets revenge.

It's time for one side or the other to grow up (which is what Obama is calling for).

And yes, with a modern-type Marshall Plan adapted to truly rise up the denizens of the Middle East, with responsibilities and accountabilities built in, those al Qaida recruitment posters will become moot.

The regular Muslims of the Middle East don't "hate" our liberalism, freedoms, etc (sure, there are some strident fundamentalists who hate liberalism, just as there are here in the US politically). What they hate is the fact that their leadership allows women to be raped at random and we stand silently by. What they hate is that our economic policies benefit the wealthy Middle Eastern elite while leaving the majorities ("the street") in poverty. what they hate is that we bomb and shoot indiscriminately and kill their fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters. And what they really hate is seeing a bunch of US military personnel torturing and degrading their fellow Muslims.

They want it ended, one way or another.

What don't you understand?

Bill Baar 9:53 AM  

Here, Bernard Lewis described what I describe as Obama's position best.

...you will find two views common in the United States and Europe. One of them holds that Islamic peoples are incapable of decent, civilized government. Whatever the West does, Muslims will be ruled by corrupt tyrants. Therefore the aim of our foreign policy should be to insure that they are our tyrants rather than someone else's--friendly rather than hostile tyrants. This point of view is very much favored in departments of state and foreign offices and is generally known, rather surprisingly, as the "pro-Arab" view. It is, of course, in no sense pro-Arab. It shows ignorance of the Arab past, contempt for the Arab present, and unconcern for the Arab future.

Obama thinks overthrowing Saddam the wrong thing to do. America would have been better off with Iraqi's left under the tyrant. Ignorant, contemptous, unconcerning about Islamic peoples is how I'd put that stand. Kipling had more sympathy.

Robbie C. 10:03 AM  

BB - good to see you are back making senseless and baseless accusations of democrats that you don't like.

Maybe you should digest NW Burbs comment a little more. Perhaps the part about Iraq being terrorist free until we invaded. We have created the terror front in Iraq and we can end it. We are making things worse every day we are there. Every day we cause more young muslims to join in the cause.

Sure the 9/11 attacks were a tragic loss of 3000 americans. But has this war not been a tragic and PREVENTABLE loss of 3000 american lives? Not to mention the thousands upon thousands of dead Iraqi's.

Can you not comprehend that the attacks every day in Iraq aren't a result of hating liberalism and the west? The attacks are a result of us invading their country and destabilizing an entire region. This has nothing to do with their hate of rap music or Brittany Spears. It has to do with their hate for us meddling in their business. How about we let Pakistan come liberate Florida because of the oppresive American treatment of hispanics in Miami. I bet that would make you happy.

I so much want to resort to childish name calling because thats really all you deserve.

Bill Baar 10:05 AM  

Revenge begets war. War begets revenge.

It's time for one side or the other to grow up (which is what Obama is calling for).

So Obama thinks Americans just need to grow up. America just nees to stop fighting in Iraq and terrorists all over stand down? It's an Imperialist way of thinking. America the world's shot caller. America withdraws, and peace prevails. Terrorists without a say, aims, or goals. They're just going to stop.

Al-Qaeda's Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi broadcasts Victory from Allah, Victory is Near".

"We [hereby] inform the Sunnis of a [new] plan called the Plan of Honor, which is more comprehensive and more perfect [than the existing plan] and includes not only Baghdad but all parts of the Islamic State [of Iraq]... [This plan] will end with Bush announcing the failure of his [security] plan and signing an agreement of defeat... The goals of the plan are: to defend our people and our honor; to rout out the invaders and eradicate the remaining pockets and bases of heresy; to butcher the wounded Crusader tyrant and take advantage of the collapse of morale among [the Crusader] soldiers and commanders; to unite the ranks of the mujahideen and to strengthen the foundations of the Islamic State [of Iraq].

This is seriouis enemy. These people aren't jokes, and they're not stopping with Iraq.

Bill Baar 10:27 AM  

Can you not comprehend that the attacks every day in Iraq aren't a result of hating liberalism and the west? The attacks are a result of us invading their country and destabilizing an entire region. This has nothing to do with their hate of rap music or Brittany Spears. It has to do with their hate for us meddling in their business.

They have names Robbie, and it's Imperialist condecension I see when Iraqis lumped together as theys.

Mithal al-Alusi, Abdullah Muhsin, Hadi Saleh, and the enemy too: Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi who's very articulate about who and why he hates. (see earlier comment for link)

A million Iraqis are estimated to have joined Muhsin's Iragi Federation of Trade Unions since liberation despite terror and sectarianism. This isn't a nameless mass of Arabs we should redeploy from.

NW burbs,  10:31 AM  

You didn't read my post (or you did but are unwilling to try and understand it).

This is the problem with American politics these days, people aren't willing to actually listen (not just hear, but listen) to each other.

...Bottom line Bill -- you can't kill every Muslim on the planet. It's a zero-sum game Bush has put us in.

--

For the record, please cite where Obama said "overthrowing Saddam the wrong thing to do" as you state. I won't hold my breath.

Obama has said, many times over, that lying your nation into war is wrong... that invading another country based on false pretenses is wrong... that alienating your allies and going it alone is wrong...

I don't ever recall him sympathizing with Saddam (or bin Laden, as P.M. Howard suggests).

So Bill, why don't you try to stop shoveling bull-puckey and debate honestly.

Anonymous,  10:45 AM  

There are some good ideas out there about how the US should approach Iraq, Ken Pollack's "Things Fall Apart" available on the Web being one of them. Pollack was in favor of the war but now believe the US needs to plan for the worst. And he's a former Clinton administration employee, not one of those nasty Republicans.

Yet Hill and Obama continue to waffle around with suggestions that are irrelevant at this point, with Clinton continuing to sound defensive about her war vote and Obama proposing impossible or irrelevant solutions like starting to leave in 2 and 1/2 months or stopping the surge (it's already well into execution). And this despite the fact that numerous experts have testified that Congress does have the power to stop the war. Why aren't Clinton and/or Obama leading the charge to stop it. They are Senators, after all.

A terrible dilemma for Hill and Obama. What if the surge works? Or what if there is another major terrorist attack in the US or Europe before the election. Americans want out of Iraq but they are scared of Al Qaeda. They'll vote for Rudy over the ever-vague and ever-changing Hill or Obama.

Bill Baar 10:53 AM  

Obama said, They feel a sense of urgency about a war that should have never been authorized and a war that should have never been fought.

I take that to mean the United States Senate should never have authorized invasion and overthrow of Saddam's Baathist regime.

...that alienating your allies and going it alone is wrong...

The ally who's sacrificed the most have been the Iraqis who fight with us.

I'd like to see Obama shake hands with Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim, Leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and get his reaction to redeployment.

I don't think Obama can look Al-Hakim in the face and tell him this all never should have happened because Senators were wrong to vote for way,

Quoting Hakim,

We have gone a long way to establish a democratic and pluralistic society in Iraq. We have given a great deal of sacrifice to achieving the objective. We cherish all the sacrifices that took place for the liberation and the freedom of Iraq, sacrifices by the Iraqi people, as well as friendly nations, and on top of that list, sacrifices by the Americans. We have now an elected government in Iraq, a government that is so determined to combat both violence and terror, a government that it is -- strongly believes in the unity of that government and of that country and the society, a government that deals and will deal with all the sources of terrorism regardless where they come from.

We will work very hard and seek all forms of cooperation at the international level and the regional level in order to defeat terrorism that it is trying to use Iraq as a base in order to sabotage the future of that nation.

Thank you very much, Mr. President, for allowing me this opportunity to meet with you. I would like to take this opportunity also to thank the American people and their sympathy toward Iraq, those who helped Iraq to get rid of a brutal dictatorship and to enjoy freedom and liberties.

John Howard, another staunch ally, not much of an Obama fan at the moment.

As for the lies, I voted for Gore-Lieberman because I was appalled at Bush's criticism of our tragically late intervention in Bosnia. I remember the Senate passing the Iraqi Liberation Act, and I remember Clinton's Speech to the Joint Chiefs on Iraq.

It was Clinton Democrats and shame at US in action in Bosnia and Rwanda that made an interventionist out of me.

Joe Lieberman the only consistent guy over the years. I wish it had been Lieberman-Gore in 2000 with a few extra votes in Florida.

NW burbs,  11:56 AM  

Anonymous,

Sen. Obama is leading the way toward an end in Iraq. Why do you think P.M. Howard attacked him?

FYI, Al Qaida is based in Pakistan, not Iraq (it was formerly in Afghanistan, and is fighting it's way back in). Iraq is just a recruiting and training ground for al Qaida at this point. Their new recruits learn tactics on the ground in Iraq and then head to Afghanistan to help the Taliban. (Note that they're not "following our troops home".)

Bush needs approximately 500,000 troops for his surge to work. He's only sending about 20,000 for a total of under 200,000, give or take.

We all want to be able to wave a magic wand and have Iraq turn out swimmingly, but we can't. And seeing as how Bush and other conservatives are not willing to actually commit the sacrifices we must to implement a succesful war plan, it makes no sense sending more of our brave troops into the Iraqi Civil War.

"Bippity-boppity-boo" only works in fantasies.

NW burbs,  12:03 PM  

Bill,

With all due respect, if you want to be a Wilsonian interventionist then demand actual war plans that will work -- not these not-quite-half measures that Bush, McCain and other conservatives keep proposing.

Til they grow the spine to actually implement for Lieberman's war tax and the military strategists' calls for half a million troops in Iraq (and don't forget Afghanistan and all our other worldwide commitments)... the conservatives are simply blowing hot air and getting our GIs killed and maimed in meat grinders.

Bill Baar 1:03 PM  

There were two plans after Iraq's liberation.

A DoD plan backing Chalabi and calling for a rapid turnover to Iraqis, and a State / CIA plan based on Powell's dictum if you break it you own it; calling for an occupation similar to that in Germany.

Bush picked the State/CIA over Rumsfeld's DoD and brought Bremer.

Bremer relied heavily on the Sunni Adnan Pachachi and appointmented Chicago's own (and Rezko friend) Ahim Alsammarae to boot as a key Minister in the Government.

There was a plan. I'd wager we picked the wrong one; but hindsight always 20/20.

Obama should call for hearings because what Waxman gave us with the first ever appearance of Bremer before Congress was pretty sorry. Read Iraqslogger: What you won't see at Waxman's show.

Bill Baar 1:05 PM  

Sen. Obama is leading the way toward an end in Iraq. Why do you think P.M. Howard attacked him?

"The quickest way to end a war is to lose it."
~George Orwell~

Anonymous,  1:46 PM  

nw,

It doesn't matter what I or you think, what do a substantial percentage of Americans think. If the vast majority
agreed that Iraq had nothing to do with Al Qaeda, and that the Iraq issue is unrelated to any issues important to the United States, the national Legislature, including Hillary and Obama, wouldn't be tying themselves into knots trying to predict the future and take a stance that won't come back to haunt them. There are anti-war activists.
But the anti-war movement overall is simply not that strong yet. For examples, calls for impeachment of Bush and Cheney have been relatively muted, although that is practically likely the only way to end the war, other than Congressional action far stronger than a non-binding resolution....and they can't even get that through the Congress.

In particular, I would point out that Obama keeps moving along his impossible-to-meet yet widely publicized troop withdrawal deadlines in the hopes that nobody will notice that although a Senator, he hasn't done anything substantive to end the war, such as starting a credible move to cut off funding, not to our soldiers, but even to the Iraquis, who have soaked up billions of dollars of our taxpayer monies that I, for one, would like to see going to our own citizens.

It's still controversial. And Hill and Obama, again, given Americans' overall uncertainty about national security issues, are currently at the political mercy of one major terrorist attack anywhere in the world, but particularly in the US or Europe. And they know it.

NW burbs,  3:01 PM  

Bill,

As for Plan 1, Chalabi was an Iranian spy (and a Bush friend).

As for Plan 2 (the one you think was implemented) if Bush indeed chose an occupation-based plan, please explain how you think he planned to occupy the country because whatever that plan was it clearly hasn't ever worked.

So there are your "two plans". Nice quote from Orwell by the way given that both of your "two plans" would've led us directly to the same point we are at now.


--

Anonymous 1:46pm, I advise you to think about the points you make before you post them.

1. The vast majority of Americans now realize they were lied to about al Qaida being in Iraq. Some Americans are still under the false impression that bin Laden's organization was intertwined with Saddam Hussein.

2a. The "National Legislature" (I take that to mean Congress) is too involved in navel-gazing for its own good. Had Democrats in 2001 had the guts to stand up to the Bush lies instead of swallowing them nearly wholesale (not every Dem voted for force authorization) we probably wouldn't be in such a mess.

Sen. Clinton can answer for herself why she voted for the resolution.

Sen. Obama has the strength of his convictions (not "tied up in knots") and has been at the forefront of moving the debate away from how to debate about the war (as Republicans showed themselves to be more interested in doing last week). He and Sens. Feingold, Levin, Warner, Hagel and even Kerry have been at the lead in discussing how to end this war.

2b. There is a substantial difference between those like Sens. Obama, Hagel and Warner who are against dumb wars and those like ... actually, I don't think there is a single Senator who is a blanket "anti-war" citizen.

Sen. Obama, as he said from before the time Congress voted to approve force authorization, is against being lied into war, he is not against war when justified.

3. Republicans should be the ones to call for impeachment. They were the ones who supported the lies (and still repeat them from time to time). You may be correct that Bush, with his odd interpretation of the Constitution, might just believe that the Congress' only recourse is impeachment despite the fact the Constitution gives Congress the war-making powers (the Commander-in-Chief has war-fighting powers, big difference). And if Congress has war-making powers then it has war-ending powers by default (and this has borne itself out throughout our nation's history).

4. Obama's goals are not "impossible" to meet, our national leaders simply need to have the will to do so. The Kerry Amendment for withdrawal was similar.

5. And cutting off reconstruction funds would do as much to recruit al Qaida thugs as the entire Iraq War has. We don't need 'cold turkey'. We need a modern-day Marshall Plan.

6. Your theory on "one major terrorist attack" also applies to our current Commander-in-Chief as well as his staunch supporters such as John McCain and Joe Lieberman.

President Nixon 3:48 PM  

Bill,

You still don't get it I see.

Rich Miller 11:54 PM  

Bill, in the future, please find another outlet for posts like this.

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