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Obama Praises Iraq War

By       Message William Boardman     Permalink
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Is America Ready For Another "Dumb War" Over Crimea?   

By William Boardman -- Reader Supported News

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"I don't oppose all wars".

"What I am opposed to is a dumb war.

"What I am opposed to is a rash war.

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"What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne."

Barack Obama said that at an anti-war rally in Chicago on October 2, 2002 , when he was still an Illinois state senator. Obama told the gathering that he favored going after al Qaeda in Afghanistan, but opposed going to war to remove Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Reading that 2002 speech more than eleven years later creates some dissonance: what happened to that guy who was challenging President Bush to finish the fight with bin Laden, to shut down banks that handle  terrorists' funding, to let the U.N. do its work in Iraq, to safeguard nuclear weapons material around the world, to push countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt to stop oppressing their own people, to control American arms merchants, to have "an energy policy that doesn't simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil," to fight against ignorance and intolerance, corruption and greed, poverty and despair. 

It's all in that speech, and more. What happened to that guy? He got elected and he inherited Bush's wars, and he chose not to act on the near-certainty that the Iraq War had been illegal and its perpetrators war criminals. There's a clue at the end of that Chicago protest speech where, as an outsider, he seeks to prevent a war in which Americans would die and "make such an awful sacrifice in vain." Now, with 4,486 Americans dead and probably more than a million Iraqi civilians dead, with more dying almost daily from the murderous liberation Americans inflicted on a once stable, prosperous, educated, ancient country just because its dictator "tried to kill my dad" -- what president contemplating all that blood and loss would want to tell his fellow citizens that their sons and daughters died in vain, died for the vanity of a handful of war criminals and profiteers? 

"That's part of what makes us special as Americans.

Unlike the old empires, we don't make these sacrifices for territory or for resources.

We do it because it's right.

There can be no fuller expression of America's support for self-determination than our leaving Iraq to its people.

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That says something about who we are." 

By late 2011, when he offered that re-assessment of the Iraq War (and implied that we're a "new" empire), Barack Obama was a president facing re-election and trying to wind the Iraq War down and out and irrelevant as a campaign issue and a sure way NOT to do that would be to tell the country the truth, that the Iraq War had been a disaster from beginning to end, probably, although the end was nowhere near in sight then any more than it is now, but at least we were getting American troops out of harm's way, away from the harm American policy had unleashed and exacerbated. He knew we didn't do it because it was right, he'd already said we did it for the ideological agendas of weekend warriors.  

Addressing those troops at Fort Bragg, NC, on December 14, 2011 , President Obama wasn't about to cop to the blood on American hands, even if the actual killers in the field were only following orders that most of them probably believed in, at least at the start. Why wouldn't they prefer to be praised for a selfless mission of mercy rather than confront their own complicity in their nation's guilt? It is very strange to watch a president embracing a criminal war and all the war crimes it precipitated, especially since he predicted such a result.

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Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)

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