Tuesday, June 21, 2011

DON'T BE FOOLED: Obama to announce another symbolic "drawdown" in the Middle East

The LA Times reports: "President Obama plans to announce a troop reduction in Afghanistan that Pentagon and other administration officials say is expected to bring home about 10,000 personnel by the end of the year." (hat tip: Memeorandum)

But don't haul out the "Mission Accomplished" banners just yet-- The Cato Institute's Christopher Preble takes the announcement with a grain of salt, as every critical thinker should take any announcement from any politician, especially Barack Obama:

"...we should not allow this speculation over troop numbers to distract us from the bigger picture. Even if by the end of 2012 the size of the U.S. military presence is reduced by 30,000 (and I’m not holding my breath), that would still leave more than twice as many troops as were there in January 2009 when Obama took office."

In fact, even after withdrawing 30,000 troops, which is the most aggressive option Obama is likely to announce, there will still be nearly 70,000 troops left in Afghanistan in 2013-- and the criminally uncritical mainstream media is already laughably daring to call this an Afghanistan "pull out" and "drawdown" in its headlines. Here's your new president, same as the old president.

Glenn Greenwald correctly notes (h/t: m) the Orwellian lie in calling this a withdrawal: "That's what 'withdrawal' means in American political parlance: doubling the number of troops fighting a foreign war over the course of four years." Remember, comrade: "WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. [OBAMA IS CHANGE.]"

And can any observer not see parallels to grand fiscal policy pronouncements about drastic budget cuts, using numbers that seem really big, but are dwarfed by the amount of money still being spent in excess of what we can afford to spend? Contrary to the prevailing politicalspeak, overspending your budget by a little less is not "saving" money.

Likewise, bringing home some troops after sending in so many tens of thousands as Obama has done for two years now should not qualify the president for any amount praise from an honest antiwar movement, nor does it rectify the Nobel Prize Committee's pitiful gaffe in awarding Barack Obama a peace prize. It looks like their experiment in preemptive peace was about as successful as Bush's experiment in preemptive war.


Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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