This is first good news of our military posture
that Americans have heard for a decade or more. It is also justification --
finally -- for those of us who have fought so long for this end game, begging a
question. Why did it take the government so long to arrive at the same
conclusion many of us knew years ago?
Many Americans would like to see the American military removed from the Mideast region entirely. That is not going to happen anytime soon. Such is reality. Another reality is the Carter Doctrine. The Carter Doctrine was a policy proclaimed by President of the United States Jimmy Carter in his State of the Union Address on January 23, 1980, which stated that the United States would use military force if necessary to defend its national interests in the Persian Gulf region. Presidents have followed that doctrine since its inception. Since our presence in the Mideast will exist for an undetermined amount of time -- meaning until the oil runs out -- logic suggests we do so in the strongest possible position.
Environmental issues notwithstanding the fact remains that currently and for years to come Western economies along with other strong economies -- China and India come to mind -- will rely upon oil. It stands to reason that if the oil spigot in the Mideast was shut down the world would face an economic calamity that would make the Great Depression seem like child's play; thus the necessity, whether we like it or not, of a strong American military presence in the Mideast. That is reality, and reality trumps wishful thinking every time.
Recently, the New York Times News Service reported, "The Obama administration plans to bolster the American military presence in the Persian Gulf after it withdraws the remaining troops from Iraq this year, according to officials and diplomats. That repositioning could include new combat forces in Kuwait able to respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran." The news service added, "After unsuccessfully pressing both the Obama administration and the Iraqi government to permit as many as 20,000 American troops to remain in Iraq beyond 2011, the Pentagon is now drawing up an alternative."
With a wary eye on the threat of a belligerent Iran, Obama sought to expand military ties with the six nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council -- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. While the United States has close bilateral military relationships with each, the administration and the military decided to foster a new "security architecture" for the Persian Gulf that would integrate air and naval patrols and missile defense.
While in Tajikistan Secretary of State Clinton stated after Obama's announcement, "We will have a robust continuing presence throughout the region, which is proof of our ongoing commitment to Iraq and to the future of that region, which holds such promise and should be freed from outside interference to continue on a pathway to democracy."
According to the Times, "Iran, as it has been for more than three decades, remains the most worrisome threat to many of those nations, as well as to Iraq itself, where it has re-established political, cultural and economic ties, even as it provided covert support for Shiite insurgents who have battled American forces."
The point of the matter is the removal of our troops from Iraq improves our military positioning in the Mideast. Privately, Iranian leaders did not want these troops removed. They would have preferred that America remain bogged down in a never-ending conflict in Iran's backyard. Also, if there were an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, those troops and their bases would be vulnerable, being within range of Iranian gun-sights.
The principles mentioned above also apply to ours and other NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, Central Command in an effort to "seek more efficient ways to deploy forces and maximize cooperation with regional partners" considers it necessary to steeply decrease the number of intelligent analysts in the region. This is a mistake. Sound intelligence can save lives and maximize accuracy of target acquisition in a hostile environment. Prove of that logic is our foolhardy invasion of Iraq. How many lives would have been saved had our intelligence been more accurate, negating the invasion itself? No one knows for sure, but the ultimate tally could reach into the hundreds of thousands.
Despite the brilliance of Obama's initiatives the Republicans found it necessary to berate him. Twelve Republican Senators demanded hearings on the administration's ending of negotiations with the Iraqis on the continuation of American training and on counterterrorism efforts in Iraq, entirely forgetting that it was a Republican President that set that deadline.
"As you know, the complete withdrawal of our forces from Iraq is likely to be viewed as a strategic victory by our enemies in the Middle East, especially the Iranian regime," the senators wrote recently in a letter to the chairman of the Senate's Armed Services Committee. As mentioned above Iranian leaders are not pleased with the American withdrawal because the resulting strategy and agreements with the Gulf Cooperation Council places those nations and our own in a far stronger position.
Not to mention American lives will be saved. Beats me why Republicans don't like all this. Guess it must be based on the premise that Obama can do no right.