Monday, 24 October 2011

THE WITHDRAWAL FROM IRAQ

Ken Berwitz

To hear some benighted (at best) media people tell it, President Obama's sudden announcement that all US troops would be out of Iraq by the end of the year is a sterling victory for him, and for the United States.

Is it?

Read this excerpt from today's excellent editorial in the Washington Times and decide for yourself:

During the 2008 campaign, Mr. Obama proposed a withdrawal timeline with all troops out by the summer of 2010. As Ive said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in, he wrote in the New York Times. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 - two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. That promised timeline went by the wayside, and the plan Mr. Obama wound up executing was not his own but George W. Bushs. The end-of-2011 withdrawal deadline was established in the Status of Forces Agreement agreed to by America and Iraq in November 2008, before Mr. Obama took office.

 

The Obama administration tried to extend the U.S. commitment beyond the deadline. The White House pressed Baghdad to allow about 6,000 American troops to stay in the country for training, intelligence and air-support missions, but Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pushed back against U.S. negotiators and demanded that the original timeline be honored. Mr. Obama got none of the things he was negotiating for. It wasnt a foreign-policy triumph but a comprehensive diplomatic failure. It is a strange way to declare victory, a Defense Department official told The Washington Times, after negotiating for months and getting nothing.

 

Retired Army Gen. John M. Keane warned that the pullout plan is an absolute disaster that chiefly benefits Iran. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said, No one, most particularly Iran, should miscalculate about our continuing commitment to and with the Iraqis going forward. Iran, however, cannot be blamed for seeking to fill the vacuum left by failed U.S. diplomacy. In any case, it is the Iraqis who lack commitment. It all seems ignoble, an Iraq combat veteran told The Times. Really, we just leave? No advisory role, no friendship? Its like the Iraqis said, Dont let the door hit you on the way out, and were letting them do that. Many members of the military are concerned that this rush for the exit will endanger the progress they sacrificed so much to achieve.

Let's review:

-President Obama did not fulfill his pledge on troop withdrawal from Iraq.  He blew that by over a year.  The pledge he fulfilled was from President Bush - who indicated the withdrawal would not be unilateral, it would be contingent on circumstances at that time;

-President Obama's negotiations with the government of Iraq were a complete bust.  We got nothing we asked for;

-We are leaving in a way that will give Iran maximum opportunity to take advantage of the situation and strengthen its hand in that region.

Maybe in the magical, mystical world of Obama that is a victory.  But not in my world.

How about yours?

Zeke .... .... 1) US troops presently are NOT subject to Iraqi civil law --- without that in place, our military would be subject to lawfare -- spurious charges made by unfriendly officials, or those in the pay of Iran. ... 2) Iran is Shi'a, and so is 2/3 of Iraq (Saddam was Sunni, and as was most of his government). Iran is already backing anti-government forces in Iraq. 3) Sayyid Muqtadā al-Ṣadr, the Shi'a cleric who spent several years in Iran after the fall of Saddam, is an influential leader with a large militia behind him and a major bloc of votes in the Iraqi parliament. al Sadr sees Turkey and Iran as friends and the US, UK, Israel as enemies. ......... 4) When the US leaves Iraq, the Iranians will take over, probably through puppets such as al Sadr. (10/24/11)

Zeke .... ..... .... Withdrawal is something Obama's father should have done, 50 years ago. ..... .... (10/25/11)

free` The end-of-2011 withdrawal deadline was established in the Status of Forces Agreement agreed to by America and Iraq in November 2008, before Mr. Obama took office. ----------------------------- I don't know if you all remember, but Obama while a U.S. Senator running for POTUS, contacted the Iraqi government at the time and tried to talk them out of signing the agreement with President Bush. Obama was a disgrace then and has continued to this day. (10/24/11)


THE WORLD'S NEWEST DICTATOR

Ken Berwitz

The world has a new dictator - one who has decided he knows what is right and therefore it is irrelevant'n'immaterial to go through the elected legislative bodies that are supposed to be writing the laws he intends to unilaterally create and enforce.

From Reuters - and please pay special attention to the last two paragraphs, which I have put in bold print:

President Barack Obama this week will announce a series of actions to help the economy that will not require congressional approval, including an initiative to make it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages, according to a White House official.

The actions come as Obama is facing resistance from Republicans to a $447 billion jobs package he has urged Congress to pass.

The first of the initiatives will be unveiled during Obama's three-day trip to western states beginning Monday.

He will discuss the changes in mortgage rules at a stop in Nevada, which has one of the hardest-hit housing markets in the country.

The Obama administration has been working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to find ways to make it easier for borrowers to switch to cheaper loans even if they have little to no equity in their homes.

The FHFA intends to loosen the terms of the two-year-old Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which helps borrowers who have been making mortgage payments on time but who have not been able to refinance as their home values have dropped.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the changes should boost refinancing because they will let banks avoid the risk of any "buy-back" on a HARP mortgage as long as borrowers have made their last six mortgage payments and they prove that they have a job or another source of passive income.

They are also set to reduce loan fees that Fannie and Freddie charge and waive fees on borrowers that refinance into loans with shorter terms, the Journal said.

Pricing details won't be published until mid-November, and lenders could begin refinancing loans under the retooled program as soon as December 1, the newspaper reported, citing federal officials. Loans that exceed the current limit of 125 percent of the property's value won't be able to participate until early next year, the report said.

In Denver Wednesday, Obama will announce a student loan initiative.

"The only way we can truly attack our economic challenges is with bold, bipartisan action in Congress," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told The New York Times.

"The president will continue to pressure Congressional Republicans to put country before party and pass the American Jobs Act, but he believes we cannot wait, so he will act where they won't."

Translation:  President Obama has decided that he does not like the way congress - not one or another of his unvetted, unelected "czars", but the elected congress - is doing things.  So he is simply going to circumvent congress and run the country himself. 

It is hard to know whether to laugh or cringe when reading those last two paragraphs, which tell us we need bipartisan action in congress, but if President Obama doesn't like what congress is doing he will just ignore it and do whatever he wants. 

This is the Obama concept of bipartisanship, folks.  How do you like it? 

To those who like what President Obama is doing:  how will you like it when the next President, maybe someone whose positions are unacceptable to you, decides to use this as a precedent to ignore the elected congress and act on his/her agenda?  Will that be ok with you too?  Remember; what goes around comes around.

And you may not even have to wait that long.  If our "Accomplice Media" let Mr. Obama get away with this - which, based on past experience, would not surprise me in the least - I suggest you sit back and think about what other powers Barack Obama is going to usurp, if he is allowed to, and whether the new elements of his dictatorship will be as palatable to you as these are. 

Remember when media used to rail about the horrors of an "imperial presidency"?  Well, where are they now?

free' I was just telling a friend last week that the 2 months between the election and the seating of the new POTUS will be very worrisome. With what Obama is now, can you imagine what he may do when he has nothing to lose? (10/24/11)


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