The American people did not elect the Pentagon. They elected Barack Obama based a good deal on his promise to get US troops out of Iraq sooner rather than later. Since he was elected, Mr. Obama has hedged on this promise. Since he was inaugurated, the Pentagon and its civilian boss Robert Gates have hedged even more.
BY RON JACOBS
Posted by Bulatlat
The American people did not elect the Pentagon. They elected Barack Obama based a good deal on his promise to get US troops out of Iraq sooner rather than later. Since he was elected, Mr. Obama has hedged on this promise. Since he was inaugurated, the Pentagon and its civilian boss Robert Gates have hedged even more. Now, they insist, US troops should remain until the Iraqis hold a national election that is as of today not even scheduled. Then, even after that election is held, the departure of some US troops should depend on the outcome of the election. In other words, the Pentagon and Defense Department are telling Mr. Obama that no US troops should leave Iraq unless the election results meet the expectations of Washington.
This is exactly why Robert Gates should be removed from his position. Just like the American voters did not elect any of the generals pushing for a continued occupation of Iraq, neither did they elect Mr. Gates. His continued presence in the halls of official Washington is an ugly reminder of the destructive, disastrous and disavowed policies of the Bush and Cheney regime now in exile. It is bad enough that even if Barack Obama overrides the Pentagon and Mr. Gates and sticks to his sixteen month withdrawal plan there will still be around fifty thousand US troops in Iraq. This is because Obama’s call to bring all troops home from Iraq that began his campaign somehow morphed into a call to bring home only those troops determined to be “combat troops.” This categorization involves a constantly changing number of troops and is a definition that seems to fluctuate at the whim of Generals Petraeus and Odierno.
No matter what, it is not what millions of US voters voted for on November 4, 2008. It is also why those millions have no reason to give Mr. Obama an inch of slack on this issue. If he won’t stand up to those men and women that insist on carrying out the policies of his predecessor, then Mr. Obama deserves to hear that from those voters. Democracy in the United States didn’t end with Obama’s inauguration. Indeed, the time to exercise one’s voice and raise it in opposition to the actions and policies of the elected government is when it actually starts to govern. Unless the Obama administration is held to the fire on its promise to end the Iraq war and occupation within 16 months, it is unlikely that it will end then. Furthermore, the likelihood of all troops being out of Iraq by 2011 as promised in the Status of Forces Agreement signed in 2008 diminishes, also. After all, what motive would there be to end the occupation in 2011 if there is no demand from the American people that the Obama administration stick to its promises regarding Iraq?