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Obama’s wars

Anne Penketh

It’s election season in America. President Obama should therefore expect that anything he does is going to be criticised by the Republican opposition. But even on foreign policy, the president can’t win for losing. Only the killing of Osama bin Laden got him a grudging credit from across the aisle – and his bump in public opinion was shortlived in a country mired in economic crisis. He must be wondering whether he actually has to walk on water to get his approval rating back up.

   Take Libya for example. Obama talked up the death of Muammar Gaddafi as an example of “the strength of American leadership across the world”, that had brought down al Qai’da, wound down the war in Iraq and started a transition in Afghanistan. The Republicans objected that a) the Libyan intervention was down to Britain and France, b) Obama’s dithering at the outset meant that the war took longer than it would have if he had been more resolute from the outset, and c) chaos could still ensue.

   There was more to come after Obama announced the withdrawal of all the remaining 39,000 US troops from Iraq in time for Christmas. The Republicans charged that the decision was a) forced upon Obama by the failure of negotiations with the Iraqi government on maintaining a residual force and b)storing up trouble for the future. Naturally, the Republicans neglected to mention that it was George W. Bush who had signed an agreement with Iraq providing for the troop withdrawal deadline in the first place. 

   Of course Obama’s own presentation in each case is carefully crafted in the electoral context, highlighting his leadership, and his reliability in fulfilling his own election promises. But it goes to show that even in an area like foreign policy and national security where he appeared unassailable, he remains vulnerable to attack from Mitt Romney and the other Republican presidential contenders. As we saw last week with the bizarre plot in which, according to the Obama administration, elements of the Iranian government approached a Mexican drugs cartel with a view to assassinating the Saudi ambassador to the US, there will be plenty more foreign policy challenges for the president in the next 12 months. Including some that you couldn’t even make up.

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  • angelica

    So by “unassailable”, then, you mean unassailably right wing? He’s vulnerable to attack even though he’s shown that he’s really, really good at killing people?

  • http://www.yahoo.co.uk/ Firozali A.Mulla

    ·         What do we have early Monday morning If you are awake? Scepticism about the U.S. allegation of an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador has focused on doubts that high-level Iranian officials would have used someone like used car salesman Monssor Arbabsiar to carry out the mission. But when the scanty evidence in the FBI account about what Arbabsiar actually proposed is interpreted in the context of Iran’s past strategy for deterring external attack, it suggests that Arbabsiar’s mission may have been to arrange for surveillance of and contingency plans for targets to be hit in the event that Iran is attacked by the United States or Israel. Nothing but about Middle East. Why Why Why We cannot sleep well? My son enlisted in the Army a few years before 9/11 and right after the attack, his unit was told, LONG BEFORE WE EVER PUBLICALLY ADMITTED IT, that they (The 3rdID) would be leading the attack into Iraq……..LONG BEFORE WE ADMITTED WE WERE GOING TO INVADE my son was training and being brought up to speed on the plan of attack….They were among the first into Iraq and the race to Bagdad…..On numerous occasions they found themselves in fights where certain targets were essentially declared off limits…..They could be taking fire from an Iriaqi artillery positin next to a Mosque, or near homes, and they weren’t allowed to take it out….PEOPLE DIED trying to operate under these insane rules of engagement…On his second tour, he found the rules of engagement even more insane, and on that tour two guys in his company were actually killed because of those restrictions, plus it became evident that we weren’t really fighting to win…….That was enough for him. He had about 6 months left on his enlistment when he was told he would probably have to go back for part of a third deployment even with his short time remaining. He told them to shove that remaining time where the sun didn’t shine and was initally threatened with a court marshal and possible bad conduct or dishonorable discharge……I got our Senator involved and it all quietly faded away. He served his remaining time at his base and was discharged no stigmas attached……He remains so bitter about all the crap he went through in the two tours he served, that I doubt he would ever allow himself to be called back for service, even if the enemy was landing on our beaches…….Now that we’re essentially getting out of another war we didin’t win, he’s even more outraged over what he endured (He has two purple hearts and numerous citations for barvery during combat) for essentially nothing. Not to mention several friends he served with who died in this stupid war…..
    I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

  • http://www.yahoo.co.uk/ Firozali A.Mulla

    Anna, What do we have early Monday morning If you are awake? Scepticism about the U.S. allegation of an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador has focused on doubts that high-level Iranian officials would have used someone like used car salesman Monssor Arbabsiar to carry out the mission. But when the scanty evidence in the FBI account about what Arbabsiar actually proposed is interpreted in the context of Iran’s past strategy for deterring external attack, it suggests that Arbabsiar’s mission may have been to arrange for surveillance of and contingency plans for targets to be hit in the event that Iran is attacked by the United States or Israel. Nothing but about Middle East. Why Why Why We cannot sleep well? My son enlisted in the Army a few years before 9/11 and right after the attack, his unit was told, LONG BEFORE WE EVER PUBLICALLY ADMITTED IT, that they (The 3rdID) would be leading the attack into Iraq……..LONG BEFORE WE ADMITTED WE WERE GOING TO INVADE my son was training and being brought up to speed on the plan of attack….They were among the first into Iraq and the race to Bagdad…..On numerous occasions they found themselves in fights where certain targets were essentially declared off limits…..They could be taking fire from an Iraqi artillery position next to a Mosque, or near homes, and they weren’t allowed to take it out….PEOPLE DIED trying to operate under these insane rules of engagement…On his second tour, he found the rules of engagement even more insane, and on that tour two guys in his company were actually killed because of those restrictions, plus it became evident that we weren’t really fighting to win…….That was enough for him. He had about 6 months left on his enlistment when he was told he would probably have to go back for part of a third deployment even with his short time remaining. He told them to shove that remaining time where the sun didn’t shine and was initially threatened with a court marshal and possible bad conduct or dishonorable discharge……I got our Senator involved and it all quietly faded away. He served his remaining time at his base and was discharged no stigmas attached……He remains so bitter about all the crap he went through in the two tours he served, that I doubt he would ever allow himself to be called back for service, even if the enemy was landing on our beaches…….Now that we’re essentially getting out of another war we didn’t win, he’s even more outraged over what he endured (He has two purple hearts and numerous citations for bravery during combat) for essentially nothing. Not to mention several friends he served with who died in this stupid war….. FREE TRADE, WE DON’T NEED FREE TRADE WE NEED FAIR TRADE! Free trade is killing our jobs and our Economy, We need to stop the free trade nonsense! NAFTA IS KILLING US! They all laughed at Ross Perot when he said “you will hear a Giant sucking sound and that will be the Jobs leaving the US if NAFTA is Passed! Sad but Presidential Candidate Ross Perot was absolutely right, who’s laughing now? As soon as NAFTA passed the Tariffs came down and our Plants and Mills Closed down and moved to Mexico! They use to say look for the union label, good luck with that you can’t even find anything made in the USA!UNTIL THE TARIFFS GO BACK UP OUR WORKERS & ECONOMY ARE DOOMED! Let him He need soil peanuts potatoes bananas cabbages. Malthus was right We have shortage of food. Oil we have from Libya but we cannot eat or drink this can we. I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA
    ·          
    I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA
     

  • james deeney

    “All politics are local” and Obama was elected to reverse trickle down economics and taxing the rich and to tell the banks what Not to do. 
    QE is about serious infrastructure investment and training and job creation and NOT about bailing out banks.  If credit lines are a problem re. job creation, then bypass the banks and set up new facilities.
    Obama can’t loose if he listens to Ordinary Decent Americans and uses common sense.

  • spring2

    Anne and Independent editors:

    There is another Obama supported war and perhaps crime –in Kurdistan (in Turkey) that has been totally ignored by the Independent and other newspapers and in fact one can talk about “an international media blackout” over this.

    The Turkish military has been killing Kurdish rebels and their supporters struggling for basic cultural and civil rights, which they have none. This crime against Kurds is fully supported by Obama and his administration. The US government has been providing the Turkish military with all the sophisticated war machinery and most importantly military intelligence used to kill Kurds. In this case Obama is clearly participating in big crime on behalf of American people, who have not been told about this. The Turkish prisons are full of Kurdish political dissidents or ordinary people arrested on false charges, e.g. “aiding terrorism,” or simply writing in Kurdish. Presently they count more than 10 thousand Kurds. The oppression and killing of Kurds became intensified after the ruling Islamist AKP won a landslide election in June this year.

    I think the Independent should report on this most neglected war on Kurds in Turkey too.


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