Posted by Wordsmith on 17 September, 2010 at 12:04 pm. 26 comments already!


Cpl. Michael Klipp, left, and Pfc. Brandon Ingram, 25, of Karoll, Ohio, right, load their weapons before heading out.
Max Becherer-Polaris

Andrew Lebovich’s The Legal War on Terror news brief:

In remarks last Friday President Barack Obama conceded that his failure to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay was a “rare unfulfilled campaign promise” (Miami Herald).

Obama also promised to end the war in Iraq within 16 months of being put in office. I recall a liberal friend in 2008 who told me “Obama is going to end the war in Iraq.” (President Obama didn’t “end” the war in Iraq; he’s merely riding on the coattail conditions and decisions set under his predecessor)

It’s now mid-September, and although “Mission Accomplished” has been declared, we still have 50,000 troops in harm’s way. As Thomas Ricks wrote after President Obama’s August 31st speech to the American people,

he was fulfilling a campaign pledge to get all combat troops out of Iraq by today. Unfortunately, it was a phony pledge — the mission of the U.S. troops still in Iraq is, if anything, more dangerous today than it was yesterday. And so the core of the speech was hollow.

And of course, a number of those leaving/diverted from Iraq are still in theater, in Afghanistan.

Col. Andrew Berdy:

Can you explain to me how, or why, the myth of “all combat troops out of Iraq” is allowed to be perpetuated by the press, much less our senior military leadership? Yes, the mission has changed. But units like my son’s Stryker Brigade (not the one that just left!) are, and always will be, combat infantry units.

This is fiction pure and simple. I just don’t get how the nation has swallowed this and why members of the media are not reporting facts the way they are rather than the political PR message the Administration wants portrayed. Does anyone not think that the likelihood of continued combat operations is a reality? When casualties are taken by these “non-combat forces” will those casualties be characterized as “non-combat” as well? Does the public not understand that the secondary mission of our remaining forces is to be prepared to conduct combat operations either to defend themselves or to support Iraqi forces if requested? And when these train and assist “non-combat” units have to engage in, dare I say, combat operations, what will the Administration say then?

I can tell you, as a former brigade commander responsible for securing and helping to rebuild Port-au-Prince, Haiti, while we went in prepared for battle, and quickly transitioned to peacekeeping/nation building, there was never a moment that my infantry brigade was not prepared to conduct combat operations (which did occur late in the deployment) and there was never a moment when we were anything but a combat force. I suspect if you ask those troopers on the ground now they would agree with me and take incredible umbrage with what is being trumpeted on TV and in the press.

Randy, 12 days ago:

This came from a friend who has a son in Iraq. Think there was another political spin on the troop withdrawl from Iraq?

Hey, everybody! I just wanted to send a quick update and give y’all the REAL story on what’s going on over here with the troop withdrawal. The picture is of my crew and I on a break during a mission. The guy to the far left is my gunner (Burks) and the guy in the middle is my driver (Mizell). They go with me on every mission and are great guys. The reason I’m sending this out is because I have had a few people ask if I left Iraq early because all of the combat troops are out of Iraq and I wanted to let everyone know the real deal. It’s kind of ridiculous how the news is saying that the last of the “combat” troops are out of Iraq because of Pres Obama. He says that it was his campaign promise. Take our Brigade for example. We were originally called a HBCT (Heavy Brigade Combat Team). Well, since Obama said he would pull all of the “combat” troops out by Aug, all they did before we left was change our name from a HBCT to a AAB (Advise and Assist Brigade). We have the same personnel/equipment layout as before and are doing the same missions. The ONLY difference is that they changed our name from a HBCT to an AAB and that’s how he is getting away with saying that he has pulled all of the “combat” troops out. It is really ridiculous what he’s doing and he has ticked a lot of people off. And it’s funny how the media is buying all of it, too. So no the last combat troops are not out of Iraq . We are still here. There are other Brigades just like ours that are doing the same missions that are still over here. Sorry for going on about it but we are just sitting over here watching it and are like “You’ve got to be kidding me!” So anyway now you know the REAL story, so that’s why I’m not coming back early. You have to watch those liberals, they’re sneaky!

Anyways I hope everyone is doing well and I’ll see you soon!

Peter Feaver:

President Obama’s speech a few weeks ago on Iraq left me a bit queasy. I had urged him to make a strong case for why 50,000 American soldiers should remain in the line of fire in Iraq. I wanted him to be as compelling in speaking to the soldiers who remained as I expected him to be in speaking about the soldiers who left. And in my opinion, his speech did not hit that mark as well as it could have.

My concern was that without a stronger line of communication between the commander-in-chief and the troops in the field, we would start to see reports about disconnect and alienation. And so we have. Now a single article quoting one or two disgruntled grunts is hardly an indicator of a budding mutiny. But it could be an indicator of a more widely held sense that the president is losing interest in what the troops are doing over there. The consensus interpretation of Obama’s speech — fairly or unfairly — was that his call for America to turn the page was a signal that he would be turning his attention elsewhere. That may play well with Obama’s political base, but as the Reuters account suggests, it may not play as well to the troops in the field.

Let’s not forget the 50,000 U.S. soldiers who are still in harm’s way, serving in theater. Let’s not allow the American people to be fooled by this political shell game.

Members of Charlie Company, Second Platoon, listen as 1st Lt. Michael Makrucki, 27, of Pittsburgh gives them a “ramp brief” before heading out on a mission. Soldiers with the 25th Division, 1-21 Infantry Battalion, arrived in Iraq in early July as the deadline for President Obama’s deadline for the drawdown of U.S. combat forces in Iraq loomed.
Max Becherer-Polaris

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