Leaving Iraq: A campaign promise that can’t be kept

The November mid-term elections are viewed as a referendum on George W. Bush’s failed Iraq war. Voters turned out the GOP leadership of Congress because they want America out of Iraq.

So, when are we leaving?

We’re not. Not now. Not anytime soon. Perhaps never.

You might have missed the point amid all the news attention aimed at the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes sham marriage or the Britney Spears-Kevin Federline split but as soon as the election was over, anyone with a "lets get out of Iraq" message got shoved into the background.

The new Democratic leadership in Congress is talking about finding "workable solutions" in Iraq, which is Washington doublespeak for "we don’t have the slightest damn idea how to get out of this mess."

Bottom line: We’re stuck there, right in the middle of a deepening civil war, and too many more American soldiers will die because nobody in power has a "workable solution" that will get us out of an uncontrollable situation we created.

The one Democrat who spoke out the loudest about the need to get the hell out of Iraq – Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha – got bitch slapped by his own party in his bid for a leadership post. True, Murtha also has some ethical problems but many Democrats admit privately they are uncomfortable with Murtha’s staunch "get out of Iraq quickly" stance.

Whatever message the voters may or may not have sent on Election Day is lost as the new leadership forms and moderation becomes the mantra of the day. Hardcore Democratic activists may want Bush impeached but it won’t happen in the new Congress. Incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and new Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have made that clear.

And even the staunchest, most liberal anti-war Democrats now say "more study" is needed to deal with Iraq.

Problem is, once the election ended and the rhetoric cooled, the new power structure in Congress realized that Iraq is, as it long has been, a no-win scenario with few options.

As the country plunges deeper and deeper into uncontrollable civil war, Pentagon leaders say the only military solution is more troops on the ground. Military solutions, however, are seldom compatible with political ones and few want to send in even more American troops to die in a fruitless cause.

But withdrawal is a tough call because abandoning the country at this point would leave it in worse shape than it was under Saddam – not to mention its growing status as a fertile spawning ground for future terrorists.

So don’t look for any resolutions calling for withdrawal to emerge anytime soon from the new Congress. Don’t expect a timetable because one ain’t coming.

Like it or not, we’re in Iraq for the long haul and we may never be able to leave. The same war that defined the 2006 election will most likely shape the 2008 Presidential year and perhaps even political campaigns into the next decade.


  1. Gerald Sutliff

    Doug, you’re correct but the sooner we (as in the “we the people” realize it the sooner we’ll be out of there. In the mean time all the king’s soldiers and all the kings men will keep trying to put Iraq back together again.

  2. We have gouged Iraq and chizzled America. We have stolen the pot. Why are we still fumbling with the cards?

    When occupiers leave the table, the collaborators and crooks fight it out with gay abandon. So what else is new? Let’s just quit bragging on our cesspool of a country anymore.

  3. It is sadly humorous to watch elections. They are all for the mentally retarded who still believe elected officials govern. They do not. Money governs, and those who control it. The stupid cattle get to vote for their stupid ideas from time to time, but nothing changes, and nothing will change, except that the fire burns hotter and hotter until there is nothing left. America will not let go until they pry Iraq and Iran out of its cold dead hands.

  4. Junious R Stanton

    No disrespect intended, but tell us something we don’t already know. By now most sane and astute folks have figured out the Democratic Party leadership is just as committed to war as the Bu$hites. The permanent US military bases in Iraq, Central Asia and around the world do not bode well for peace or a change in US foreign policy; no matter which political party is in control. The very notion of a Global War Against Terror tells us this is a complete sham, a con game another way to boost defense spending, waste and fraud, wage perpetual wars while expropriating and plundering the resources of nations around the world. Afghanistan and Iraq are not the end, they are the beginning, the Horn of Africa not Iran or North Korea just may be the next “hotspot” in a bogus war on terror being used as a cover to steal resources like oil and water.

  5. Phil

    I guess Fred needs a quick lesson or two. Here goes.

    -The difference between refining uranium for nuclear power and refining it for nuclear weapons is basically like the difference between building a small plastic model and building a fully functioning 747. Iran has the capability to refine at capacity – barely – to produce power. They’re nowhere near weapons grade and won’t be for a decade, assuming they’re even trying.

    -Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (unlike BushCo) is not a liar. He says Iran is refining uranium for peaceful purposes (which they have every legal and moral right to do). There isn’t a single shred of evidence anywhere to show otherwise.

    -Iran has never attacked any of its neighbors in anyone’s lifetime, and doesn’t pose any remote military threat to us. Despite the common lie perpetuated by the media, they have also never made any threat of military action against Israel or anyone else. All Ahmadinejad said was that Israel’s terrorist regime will disappear from the pages of history (as all oppressive warmongering states do).

    Better learn what you’re talking about before spouting off again.

  6. Arturo Adame

    Here’s a guess at what will be a talking point in the 2008 election cycle: “Who lost Iraq?” But pay attention to who will be asking the question. I suspect the same people who proposed and supported the war.

  7. AustinRanter

    Our politicians will lie till they die…and possibly take us with’em.

    It’s oil, always been oil, always will be oil that keeps our country slaves to the Middle East.

    Now who is the slave merchant? To me it looks like our loving, caring, and protective politicians.

    Sad, frickin sad.

  8. James

    “New Congress”?
    Most incumbents were reelected. The Democrat incumbents in my state did not run against the war.

  9. Richard Melvin

    The current Iraq scenario reminds me of the long, financially draining, morally demoralizing, doomed-to-fail, Soviet campaign in Afganistan. The resistance started slowly then, with foreign aid, gained momentum whereby the country was ungovernable and the occupiers had to leave. Then the real bloody civil war commenced with the fiercest group of islamic fundamentalists gaining power.

    But the burning question is: Will this, in conjunction with a 8.47 trillion deficit and the generally (outsourced) shakey economy, be the end of the american empire?

  10. Jeffery Haas

    And when we look back and think of how many solutions we could have implemented with HALF A TRILLION, solutions which would have paid of one trillion times BETTER, we are REALLY going to kick ourselves.

  11. SEAL

    Why does everyone continue to focus on GW Bush? He has never been anything other than a patsy. The neocons found an electable boob and installed their engineer as his running mate. Once in power they created or, at the least, facillitated the incident that gave them carte blanche to carry out their plan. Anyone who has been in the military at the level I was knows the only way two commercial jets slam into the twin towers in NYC is if it is allowed. Bush probably thinks the public version is true.

    Dumbya is just the front man and the fall guy. He was selected because he is incompetent. They got in power, had the run they needed for six years and made multiple fortunes with more to come for years. All Bush had to do was read the scripts handed to him and be the public face. Now that the jig is sort of up he has been abandoned. His vacation is over. His parade leading is over. Now he has to go to work and, of course, he has no clue what to do. What ever he does will only make matters worse. Unfortunately, he actually believes some of the garbage he has been reading for the past few years. He will do what he has always done, fail miserably. He is the fall guy who will take all the blame while Cheney steals away into the night with his bags of money and has a few drinks and laughs with his partner, Rumsfeld. Of course those two are only the imp-limenters for the real power block that rules.

    When will people stop crediting Bush with being smart enough to get us into this mess? He doesn’t have a clue.

  12. The Axidental Turist

    It’s a bit hard to feel sorry for Americans. After all, the greater majority supported this war even though a sincere and patriotic minority warned of the disastrous consequences. Seems to me the only reason why so many have changed their minds is because you are loosing and loosing badly.

    Had you won you would have all rejoiced in the glory of victory and the creation of a democratic garden in the Middle East; fashioned in your own image. Unfortunately as predicted all you have created is a garden of depraved glory, and you are stuck with it.

    Sadly frat boy has finally been given too much rope and this time he has done to a Nation what he has done to everything since blowing a frog to pieces. Now try putting the frog back together; that will be the legacy of the Bush regime.

    My sincere condolences to the minority of decent and reasonable Americans but to all those who so “patriotically” championed this cowardly and ill planned debacle all I have to say is “quite frankly…..” you know the rest.

  13. BJ

    Isn’t it funny that the so called anti-war people are changing their tune now that Congress will be controlled by Democrats. There is a lot less demand that we “pull out yesterday”, now that Democrats would be responsible for the consequences if an immediate withdrawal was forced by them.

    The control of Congress by Democrats was not won by Dems running on an anti-war platform. They were relatively quiet on the issue. The Dems that ran on a “pull out of Iraq now” platform, like Ned Lamont, lost, while Dems that support the continuation of the war in Iraq, like Hillary Clinton and Bill Nelson of Florida, won re-election easily.

    The Democrat Party did a bait and switch on the Iraq war with the American people.

    Now is the time to stop complaining about Bush, and call the newly empowered Democrats and demand they live up to their promises.

  14. Ray

    The Ulluminati control events around the world. They have for hundreds of years. At present, the United States Military is being used as thier force to gain world dominance. All in the name of democracy and freedom. It is a sham. 911 was the latest false flag operation to falsely gain the approval of the citizens to conduct aggression into the middle east. Afganistan and Iraq are just the beginning of this movement. The plan is to eliminate 80% of the world population and to achieve total control of the remaining slaves with big brother technology. Bio Chip everyone and you will have absolute control. We are entering a period of the master plan that is rapidly evolving into a one world government controlled by the Illuminati. A police state. If you don’t see that, you are fooling yourselves. The war on terrorism is a sham to scare people into giving away freedom for an illusion of security. Hitler did it. Is not the same scenerio happening now? If this is not fascism that we are witnessing, what is? The haves want more and they are getting it, while the have nots are getting less and less. Just look what has happened to the Constitution. Read the Bill of Rights and see what is left of that document. The Dems won’t fix anything. Both parties have the same basic agenda and it has nothing to do for the well being of America or the rest of the world. It is a very sad situation for mankind that will only get worse for some time to come. Eliminate the Federal Reserve Banking System and you will have a good start on changing the status quo. Otherwise nothing is going to change the course of world chaos and human misery. Tell Isreal to fuck off and do thier own dirty work, as they are the core of all evil. Recent events pretty much show what evil doers they really are. Check out the lobbying power they have over our congress. Most of the money comes from them, money that sets policy through our crooked lawmakers that run on greed and lies. Name one politician besides Ron Paul who is honest and sincere about representing the people and upholding the constitutional principals that they are sworn to follow. Corruption and scandle are rampant in both parties. Illuminati Corporate Money runs the political agenda in this country. Not the will of the people. Not the morale conscience of the working class.

    We will be in the Middle East and other third world countries, killing and stealing natural resources for a long time to come. Don’t expect any positive outcome, our government is still highjacked and controlled by the Illuminati.

  15. OF COURSE the US is not withdrawing from Iraq! Israel will not allow it. Nothing is going to change until Zionism becomes the major issue in US election campaigns. Candidates for office must show that they are loyal to the US, not Israel. Hopes that Democratic control of Congress would get us out of Iraq were sorely misplaced because Democrats are even more owned by the Israel lobby than the Republicans. Our “representatives” in Congress represent the interests of Israel more than our own.

  16. We built those four new permanent bases and a very large embassy for some reason, which I suspect wasn’t to leave anytime soon. I believe that there are four aircraft carriers in or around the Gulf. So much for the will of the people. We’ll probably see a draft before too much longer, which will include females.

  17. Keith

    Doug is, once again, right on.

    In the days and weeks ahead, we will be hearing about James Baker’s Iraq Study Commission’s recommendations regarding what to do in Iraq. Draft copies of those recommendations have already been circulating and, true to form, having Iraq pick up more of the burden of defending itself is a major tenet of those recommendations.

    But, the basic problem with staying in Iraq until the Iraqis can defend themselves is that Mr. Bush and the ignorant people he has surrounded himself with are now running out of Army to do it with.

    Does anyone remember Mr. Bush’s grand announcement at the start of 2006 that the 145,000 troops currently stationed in Iraq would be cut back to 100,000 by the end of the year? Clearly, with the latest statements from his “Big Kahuna” Generals in Iraq, that isn’t going to happen.

    That’s because, in reality, it’s not the size of the military that matters…it’s what (and when) you call on them to DO what they DO. This President has been trying to wage what I’ve come to call “wars on the cheap”…not in terms of blood or treasure (which have been substantially more than any war since Viet Nam), but simply in trying to fight and win aggressive, expansionist “total” (not to mention ILLEGAL) wars (plural) for which he didn’t have anywhere NEAR the troops to adequately do the job.

    That is, right at the start of the latest war in Iraq, these clowns arrogantly ignored their own senior Generals’ calls to go in with overwhelming force…enough troops on the ground to do the job and to also have a reasonable hope of securing the country BEFORE any insurgency could get started.

    That ignorance was compounded when Mr. Bush put his “good’ old boy” buddy Paul Bremer in charge of running post-invasion Iraq. And what was Mr. Bremer’s first action in that role? He immediately fired the entire standing Iraq Army! So now, there were tens of thousands of unemployed (not to mention hungry and restless) armed combat troops all running around with absolutely nothing to do…except, of course, to be recruited by the insurgents.

    Because Mr. Bush and his arrogant minions lost the initiative at containing the insurgency right at the beginning of their illegal war, they are now hopelessly behind the power curve to the point that they are increasingly relying on Guard and Reserve troops (not to mention openly recruiting 42 year olds into the Army!) to try and stem the tide.

    And, true to form, absolutely NONE of it is working.

    Dwell times (the time “home” between combat tours) for our active duty Army have dropped from nearly 24 months down to, in some cases, little more than 8. Eight months between combat tours simply doesn’t give our people anywhere NEAR enough time to re-train and re-arm (not to mention spending much needed time with family). Is it any wonder that US military recruitment and retention are now plummeting?

    And, even IF Mr. Bush and his clueless band of idiots were to start TODAY to recruit more troops, those troops wouldn’t be anywhere NEAR being combat ready for at least two years.

    The bottom line here is that, in the first Gulf War, and under the able direction of General Colin Powell and President Bush (the Senior) we went into Kuwait with overwhelming force, a clear objective and a clear exit strategy. We went in, did what we said we were going to do, and that “mission” was “accomplished” in a matter of a few months.

    However, this time, our “Chimp-in-Chief” and his ignorant band of warmongers went into Iraq without ANY credible objective (other than his lies about removing WMDs and “liberating Iraqis”) and without the overwhelming force that all of his senior Generals at the time clearly stated they needed to do the job.

    What’s more, and as Bob Woodward so eloquently documented in his latest book, when the initial invasion was being planned, there was nothing even APPROACHING a clear exit strategy nor planning for securing the country once Bush and his Cabal had finished killing people and breaking things.

    So, the result, as Doug has so eloquently stated, is that there are no “good” options in Iraq. That’s because Mr. Bush and his minions have now painted themselves (and by extension our once proud nation) into the proverbial corner.

    ALL of these “textbook-classic” military mistakes are absolutely inexcusable. They are yet more indicators of this crowd’s collective arrogance and complete ignorance of how to effectively fight a war…even an illegal one…. and, by extension, their absolute incompetence to effectively lead our nation.

    Their collective mistakes are the root cause of why the debacle in Iraq now just keeps getting bigger and will continue to do so in the months and years ahead unless both the President AND the Congress finally face the reality that the Iraq war is hopelessly lost.

    We need to cut our losses and bring our long-suffering troops home. To do otherwise… to keep them there indefinitely all the while knowing that the war is hopelessly lost…is to keep killing our troops for no justifiable military purpose.

    Any way you cut it, that’s called murder.

    Unfortunately, stupidity and incompetence in high office aren’t impeachable offences. However, outright fraud and the continued, senseless killing of our troops for no military purpose clearly are.

  18. Nevele Burnem

    As I have staed before, in other blogs, the basic problem is the peak oil and decline crisis, which is, by now, beyond any reasonable dispute (See ASPO onlne). The US and the other G-7 nations will be fightng petro wars in the Levant and other regions of the world for some time to come. The old Kennan doctrine, which has been the bedrock of US foreign policy since the late 1940s (see PPS 23), has been nuanced and somewhat updated to fit changing circumstances, but in its fundamentals it remains unchanged and will not be affected by flip flops in congrssional dominance by either of the two controlling political parties in the US.

  19. David Williams

    How can we even begin to find a way out of this horror when the person most responsible for this disaster cannot even admit that Iraq is in a state of civil war? Bush,in his infinite wisdom wants to argue semantics while the world burns around him.Well,here’s a concept that requires no nuance;dead is dead,period.Iraq was never a threat to the security of the United States,yet I remember public opinion polls back in early 2003 showing fully 87% of Americans supporting Mr. Bush’s invasion plans.Congress overwhelmingly granted everything that Bush asked for.We gave our soldier’s lives and our national treasure to a man who did not even know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite.We sqandered our international standing and our national soul to a group of war proffiteers whose strongest common bond was a complete avoidance of military service.We marched in national lockstep like the sheep we are,and now,when there is no way out,we suddenly expect our leaders to rescue us from these evils that we brought entirely upon ourselves.Doug is right.we are not about to leave Iraq anytime soon.I weep for unbearable sorrow of it all. David Williams

  20. I’m not certain how right on Doug is this time. Not that I think the DLC portoin of the Dems in power aren’t just WaaaNAMBLAcans in a different disguise. However, I believe that the progressive wing of the Dems do want to at least start a deployment, but that won’t even start before Febraury at the earliest. When I consider that many of the retired generals who were calling for Cut-N-Rummy’s retirement are making the radio talk show cicuit broadcasting their ideas, I find it hard to believe that the Dems won’t sit them down and pick their brains, and come up with at least A plan. They have the next month to do so at least, and if I have these thoughts, I’m pretty damn certain many others have had them as well.

  21. Iraq is not a “natural” nation – it was not formed through negotiation – rather it was formed through colonialists who found the geographic borders to be convenient.
    Withdraw the troops, allow Iraq to divide into three or four “natural” states – each with its own government and resources – each free to do as it pleases.
    No – that won’t give the coward in chief a feather in his cap for “nation building” – but it will save many lives – from America, Iraq and many other nations.



  22. Phil

    Doesn’t anyone realize it? The current plan IS the workable one. Destroying Iraq and destabilizing the entire region was the aim in the first place (or rather, a primary step along the path). All the Dems & Reps care about is making it look like they still care about peace/stability, or else turning the war to some ‘noble purpose’ as if there ever could be one. But don’t think for one second that more terrorism & bloodshed isn’t exactly what they want on both sides of the aisle.

    Besides, even Iraq isn’t as much of an issue as Israel. If it were just possible to sever Congress’s puppet strings, cut off US support for Israeli war crimes and have our pols start working for peace for once (y’know, just before the pigs start flying), we’d all be astounded at how much better off the world would be.

  23. Keith

    Phil, you could very well be correct. I, too, have often wondered if the real goal of this crowd all along has been to INCITE such civil wars in Iraq and elsewhere in the Moslem world so as to continue “protecting” Israel.

    I mean, NOBODY could be as stupid as Bush and Company have been in Iraq, both politically or militarily…or could they?

  24. Fred Goepfert

    Will all of you, including Doug, please remember that Iraq is not the problem. Give the Sunni’s, Shiites, & Kurd’s equal shares of all the oil wealth and they’ll find a way to chill out.
    Has anybody been paying attention to President Weasel-Face of Iran?
    He says he will have 100,000 centrifuges by next year, and the first power plant (which won’t be needing more fuel for years) is just about ready to come on line. The permanent US bases in Iraq, and other locations around Iran, are there to provide bases of operations against Iran, who is already declaring eminent victory in the war against us and of course Israel. Iran doen’t really give a rat’s A*s about Israel. Iran wants a “Greater Mid-East Co-Prosperity Sphere” just like the Japanese did in WWII. Iran is ready to use all military options at it’s disposal (including nuclear, which already exist) to achieve this.
    If anybody, including Doug, would like to take a pre-WWII, isolationist position on this, I suggest that your start learning how to do a frog crouch, facing Mecca, (or possibly Tehran), five times a day.