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Numerous pundits and politicians on the right (otherwise known as chickenhawks) have been making the argument that what is happening in Iraq is what President Obama should have expected when he "cut and ran" from that country.

Never mind for the moment it was President Geo W Bush's administration's status of forces agreement that called for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, approved by the Iraqi government on 4 Dec 2008 (before President Obama was inaugurated).

More beneath the orange flames from naval guns below.

Aside from the patently absurd reasons that were advanced for initiating that war, what was never advanced was our victory conditions. What was our goal (besides the removal of Saddam Hussein and the Baathist Party)?

"Cut and run" as a military strategy has a long history of employment. It is used when the perceived gains in a battle or combat are outweighed by the cost or risk. In the case of President Bush's treaty, it was his administration, for whatever reason, that decided that pulling troops from Iraq outweighed either the military or political risk or gains.

Cut-and-run has been used as a political strategy before by our politicians and military.

George Washington cut-and-ran from White Marsh to Valley Forge, as it was more secure. The Union Army cut-and-ran from General "Stonewall" Jackson in the Battle of Bull Run, seeking the relative safety of Washington.

General Custer should have cut-and-run from the Battle of Little Bighorn. We know how that turned out.

One can make arguments whether supporting South Vietnam was a good or bad thing. (My avatar is the Gold Star Family Lapel Button, awarded for the loss my father in that war when I was seven years old. The Gold Star service banner is displayed from my south window, toward the village church.)

But it was the Nixon Administration that decided to end American involvement in Indochina. When South Vietnam was being overrun by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army and President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu begged for US help, US President Gerald Ford declared that the Vietnam War was over, and shortly thereafter the final evacuations from Saigon began.

On a very personal note: In 1983, I was stationed aboard USS John F Kennedy (CV-67), on a training mission with our task force, looking forward to a port visit in St. Thomas. On October 23, around the world in Beirut, two truck bombers attacked US Marines and French paratroopers stationed as part of the multinational peacekeeping force.

President Ronald Reagan call the acts despicable, and vowed we would stay (and exact revenge). The USS JFK was ordered from its training station in the Caribbean Sea with its task force at best speed to the Mediterranean, to cover for the USS Independence (CV-62), then the only aircraft carrier in the Med.

Vice-President Geo HW Bush toured the damage in Beirut and vowed the USA would not be cowed by terrorists.

Along with the battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) attacking Druze and Syrian positions in the Bekaa Valley with its 16" naval guns were aircraft from the JFK and Independence. We gave up any pretense of neutrality at that point.

France attacked alleged Iranian positions in the Bekaa Valley with its air force.

President Reagan quickly changed his position though, and ordered the withdrawal of our Marines while the carriers, battleship, and task force ships provided covering fire.

For that particular cut-and-run operation (in which I'd been looking forward to liberty in St. Thomas, not a trip to Lebanon), the John F Kennedy's crew and embarked squadrons were awarded the Navy Expeditionary Medal. (As the name implies, that medal is awarded for special combat expeditions by the Navy.)

My membership in the Veterans of Foreign Wars is based on receipt of that medal, awarded for a mission to facilitate cutting-and-running.

Which brings me back to Iraq: there is no shame in cutting-and-running; it is also known as a strategic withdrawal.

President Obama was following the law by withdrawing troops, as agreed by President Bush's administration. Following the law is not the same as "cutting and running" no matter how the chickenhawks that smuggled us into the last war in Iraq want to spin it.

In my little conservative village I stand as a witness to those who argue against the value of cutting-and-running when there is nothing to be gained by staying-and-dying. We have had enough General Custers.

Originally posted to Village Vet on Sat Jul 05, 2014 at 09:36 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.


Since we broke Iraq, should we return to "fix" it?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Obama should do what George W did: (7+ / 0-)

    Obama, wearing a military flyboy costume, should land on an aircraft carrier and say something really fucking stupid like "Mission Accomplished."  

    That would throw Fox News off its tracks for a day or so.

    •  I don't think . . . (7+ / 0-)

      . . . that President Obama is such a narcissist.

      On the other hand, FOX News Channel probably doesn't even know where the tracks are.

      I could imagine how The Five would try to unskew it though.


      "A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'"—William F. Buckley, Jr.—Founder of the conservative policy magazine "National Review"

      by Village Vet on Sat Jul 05, 2014 at 11:10:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Great diary, by the way, Village Vet (8+ / 0-)

        You make some solid points that most of us probably haven't considered before.

        •  Thank you. (9+ / 0-)

          Please also note that all the presidents mentioned are Republicans.

          When they were in charge they saw no shame in cutting losses when that was the prudent thing to do.

          With folk saying things such as "Obama lost all our gains" I cannot for the life of me figure out what those gains were.

          "A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'"—William F. Buckley, Jr.—Founder of the conservative policy magazine "National Review"

          by Village Vet on Sat Jul 05, 2014 at 11:22:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Three trillion dollars spent on (6+ / 0-)

            a wide variety of defense contractors?  Can't take those away...

            I think that most of the bitching is coming from people who see the possibility of another few trillion being spent on them slipping away.

            •  Hopefully you are referring to the vets' (4+ / 0-)


              the possibility of another few trillion being spent on them
              IOW - Pottery Barn Rule: You break 'em, you buy 'em.

              These wars broke our vets. Fix 'em.

              "I did not have sex with that bridge"

              by Scottsdalian on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 11:27:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I wish I were - I could support spending whatever (2+ / 0-)

                it takes on that in an instant.  I think that they're mostly wanting to be paid to fight another war.

                •  kinda o/t, but fwiw: (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mad Season

                  Perhaps VA should privatize its basic medical services by allowing GI Health Insurance anywhere, but bring the Vets to VA for special warfare/military maladies: PTSD, brain injuries, orthopedic, etc.

                  Vets really don't need VA doctors sticking tongue-depressors into mouths and saying AHHHHHH. Daily medical care - sniffles, coughs, etc., can be handled by your local doctor on your VA health insurance, which is gladly accepted by your doctor (optional/mandatory?).

                  Focus the VA medical care on the needs of the soldiers. His  local doctor can take care of his general health.

                  "I did not have sex with that bridge"

                  by Scottsdalian on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 02:08:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That works . . . (6+ / 0-)

                    . . . in cities where you have local doctors.

                    In rural areas, there are very few doctors, as general medicine does not pay as much as specialities, but getting that degree and license costs just as much.

                    Around here (and many places around the USA) it is very difficult to attract physicians or nurses.

                    It is a sixty-mile drive for me just to see a Veterans Administration nurse practitioner.

                    The VA itself is one hundred thirty miles.

                    The government long ago contracted out Tricare (the military/VA self-insurance plan) to insurance corporations (to save money on CHAMPUS/CHAMPVA). The only time I used it since I have moved here, I was required to go to the emergency room (the most expensive method), then locked in a two year battle to get the insurance company to pay the hospital for needed care (pleurisy).

                    I would rather the oligarchs quit privatising the VA. Here in this area I am required to go to the Cheyenne VA (because the one I would normally be assigned to, Hot Springs ND) cannot provide for my treatment (epilepsy).

                    The government is seeking to close the Hot Springs VA and move its operations to Rapid City (three hundred further miles away). There was a public meeting in Chadron for veterans to weigh in on the plan, and the meeting was overflowing with those opposed to the idea.

                    The idea is being mooted that closing Hot Springs will actually be more convenient for veterans.

                    The real problem is that the VA represents what is good about socialised medicine. (Despite what you hear in the media about under the table waiting lists and such, the VA is by far the best healthcare delivery system in the USA. Compare its death rates to the rates in civilian hospitals.


                    But that goes against the meme of "socialism is bad, capitalism is good."

                    "A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'"—William F. Buckley, Jr.—Founder of the conservative policy magazine "National Review"

                    by Village Vet on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 02:36:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Vet, these are the kind of issues that must be (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Calamity Jean, Mad Season


                      My proposal is not a "one-size fits all" program. Hardly.

                      But if the VA can use private resources wherever possible (urban areas, for example), it reduces the stress on the entire system.

                      In cases like yours where it is not possible, then I'm good with the VA staffing UP those rural 'outposts' (no disrespect intended). Mighty fine example of bringing medical care to rural areas, too.

                      Fix 'em, wherever they are located.

                      "I did not have sex with that bridge"

                      by Scottsdalian on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 05:38:38 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  And yet . . . (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Orinoco, Mad Season

                        . . . even in urban areas, private fee-for-service hospitals and doctors cost far more than the VA.

                        Diverting VA funding from urban VA hospitals to urban fee-for-service providers impacts the entire VA, not just the urban VA centres.

                        "A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'"—William F. Buckley, Jr.—Founder of the conservative policy magazine "National Review"

                        by Village Vet on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 08:23:03 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  No, Just No! (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Village Vet, Orinoco, aseth

                    Properly fund and operate the VA and let it do its job, which, by the way, it's quite good at.

                    We can't think our way into a better way of living. We have to live our way into a better way of thinking. Claude AnShin Thomas

                    by DaNang65 on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 05:59:35 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  The Cut and Run terminology has been demonized (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Even as it's the same thing, it gets a better response when it's called a "strategic withdrawal" or some other thing.

            While a agree with most of the diary, the term "chickenhawks" is not political. A chicken hawks is someone who now cheers for wars but who earlier avoided serving his/her country when they could have in a time of war.

            Chickenhawks can be Democrats--many cheered for the war on the people of Iraq. In the US Senate, 29 of 50 Democrats voted for war on the people of Iraq. Those who had served in war and who voted for that war were not chickenhawks. However, the did a very poor job of representing the voters who had voted for them.

            In Connecticut (my state) the vast majority of rank-and-file Democrats opposed war on Iraq without UN approval, yet, both of our scumbag Democratic Senators voted for war.

            War is costly. Peace is priceless!

            by frostbite on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 02:36:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunately, that wouldn't work - (3+ / 0-)

      it would take all those idiots less than 60 seconds to begin condemning President Obama for "grandstanding", and doing it with a straight face.

  •  Agreed but the stated goal was WMD which (8+ / 0-)

    Was a lie.

    Getting rid of Hussein & breaking the country to profitize it was the goal.

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 04:35:18 AM PDT

  •  After the fall (3+ / 0-)

    The cut-and-run idea is great. Every national boundary in the Middle East is the result of British and French politicians after the end of the Ottoman Empire. I say let the inhabitants of the area divvy up the place according to their religious peculiarities. The ensuing upheavals will give American "journalists" something to rail against besides Miley Cyrus' latest crotch-shot!

    Of course the result would be not unlike declaring a state of the United States to be officially Lutheran (WELS) or Lutheran (Missouri), and there will be problems, because there are way more than fifty flavors of religion in the United States. What about the heretics, apostates, and heathens? Where do they go?

    •  Figures vary . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      . . . but estimates range as high as 20% for atheists and agnostics. (We also have the lion's share of scientists and engineers.)

      I suspect we could do well with whatever part we got.

      "A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'"—William F. Buckley, Jr.—Founder of the conservative policy magazine "National Review"

      by Village Vet on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 01:55:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  we shouldn’t return to fix it because (7+ / 0-)

    we do not have the wherewithal to fix it.

    we never had the wherewithal to do anything in Iraq except what we did - make money for DICK Cheney’s cronies like Halliburton etc.

    DICK Cheney et al sacrificed the people who serve in our armed forces to “defend the constitution” and “preserve and protect” - he sacrificed them for his demented view of what should be.

    He sacrificed those who were serving this country when he made decisions to not stabilize and unify Iraq but to “protect and preserve" the oil field installations while Halliburton was killing our people with shoddy electrified showers and rotten meat lying on kitchen food locker floors.

    And Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the chicken hawks sacrificed those who do their best to serve honorably but were sent to attack a country of civilians where they became targets of incendiary  devices and had their souls crushed by a mission that was all wrong from start to finish.

    There is no way that the people who serve in our military can be expected to go to Iraq and live the lives of the Iraqi people within the Iraqi civilization to try to unite the sectarian hatred that Cheney Rumsfeld, and the rest of them ignited with their immoral and illegal war.

    The known knowns that we all know - is that Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and the rest of that gruesome batch of worthless scumbags had no right and should have had no authority to impose their delusional nightmares on innocent people - our soldiers and Iraqis alike.

    How does this happen in a democracy?

    The delusions and fears that are drummed into peoples’ heads from those who profit by it go a long way to stripping away our will to say “no” before the horror starts.

    I knew it had to be wrong from the beginning as did a lot of people here on this board.

    There should be some kind of pledge that our elected officials must sign - “I will not take our military men and women in vain. They serve to to protect the people of this country from “clear and present danger”. They will not be asked to risk their lives except to protect this country from a real threat.

    And Iraq was never a real threat.

    Finally people have gotten sick and tired of being had and taken for idiots. Mikhail Gorbachev

    by eve on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 08:07:32 AM PDT

  •  We were KICKED OUT of Iraq (6+ / 0-)

    No - the right message is Obama tried to negotiate a SOFA renewal & the Iraqi parliament voted not to renew it.

    PM Maliki then teamed up with al Sadr who had threatened war against us if we stayed anyway past the end of Bush's 2011 SOFA agreement.

    Without a SOFA agreement renewal, we would be in Iraq in violation of UN law and our troops subjected to Iraq's courts without immunity.

    These facts do not constitute a 'cut and run' - it means we were KICKED OUT.

    Your diary only feeds into the false conservative meme that Obama somehow had a choice to stay, enabling the right wing to make all kinds of false arguments and make Obama look weak.

    •  2011-"US Troop Withdrawal Rests on Iraq... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Village Vet, thanatokephaloides


      Naval Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Iraq this week to meet with troops and with Iraqi leaders, whose government continues to weigh a continued U.S. military presence in the country. His message to Iraq's government: We're willing to stick around, but you had better make a decision soon. "Time is quickly running out for us to be able to consider any other course," said Mullen at a press briefing in Baghdad on Tuesday. "My government has made clear that we would entertain a request for some troops to stay. ... In the meantime, we will continue withdrawing our troops on schedule."

      According to a security agreement between the United States and Iraq made in 2008, U.S. troops have legal immunity within the country only until Dec. 31, 2011. So, for U.S. troops to stay, they will need a formal request from the Iraqi government, led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki...

      (Friday, Oct. 21, 2011) Iraq rejects US request to maintain bases after troop withdrawal
      ...The US suffered a major diplomatic and military rebuff on Friday when Iraq finally rejected its pleas to maintain bases in the country beyond this year...

      One of the sticking points in the negotiations with Iraq was a US demand that American forces remaining in the country after December would enjoy the same immunity from prosecution as they do now. The Iraqi government, conscious of public anger over many controversial incidents involving US troops and defence contractors over the last decade, refused...

      Though John McCain & his fellow warmongers and chickenhawks whined about the "inability" of the US to "negotiate" with the Iraqis, the reality is that Iraq wanted US troops to leave.
  •  Coulda, woulda, shoulda,.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bronx59, thanatokephaloides

    While the cut and run meme, (strategic, tactical withdrawal) aspect of the diary, and pointing out where the chickens Should Be coming home to roost, aspects of the diary are fine,.....

    Discussing ways to make sure that the chickens get sent to the correct roost,

    Or that the "running" portion gets turned from running from into running to, (tactical withdrawal)

    Would help. "They" have all these snappy one liners that boil down complex, complicated and convoluted issues, developed by Brain Trusts, into simplistic dogma, that is easy to remember, because their base is not the sharpest bunch of crayons in the box,......

    Some snappy comebacks in a similar vein, Turning their meme on it's head, would be handy now that BBQ season is here,....

    Discussing "fixing" Iraq, is a waste of time. The US Plutocracy has no interest in fixing Iraq, they like it just fine broken.

  •  With respect to this one: (5+ / 0-)
    One can make arguments whether supporting South Vietnam was a good or bad thing.
    I can't think of a single disadvantage to the United States that leaving the Vietnamese to settle their own affairs would have caused.

    I can think of 58,000+ advantages to the United States that would have accrued had we done so.

    Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

    by ZedMont on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 11:00:21 AM PDT

    •  Not to mention . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      . . . the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of Vietnamese that would have had said-same advantages as well (life).

      "A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'"—William F. Buckley, Jr.—Founder of the conservative policy magazine "National Review"

      by Village Vet on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 08:31:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hate to think where we would be with (5+ / 0-)

    a fucking twit like Romney or an imbecile like McCain making the calls that Obama is making.  Lets hope that continues, Iraq is a wreck that we helped cause and it will have to be up to Iraq and its neighbors to fix our fuckup.  Thanks for you diary.

    •  As I recall . . . (0+ / 0-)

      . . . but correct me if I am wrong, Senator John McCain said something about having to stay in Iraq for a hundred years.

      "A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'"—William F. Buckley, Jr.—Founder of the conservative policy magazine "National Review"

      by Village Vet on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 08:32:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Considering what Obama did to Libya, Pakistan, (0+ / 0-)

      Yemen, Africa, Central America, Ukraine, ad nauseum….

      exactly what is your point?

      Insane would have sent more drones to murder?
      crushed more govenments?
      Sent more troops to Afghanistan than Obama?
      Enlarged the NSA even more?
      prosecuted more whistleblowers?

      Hard to imagine, but I suppose its possible.

      I think Obama is doing just fine as a republican president.

  •   Marcus Licinius Crassus should have cut and run (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides, Village Vet

    from Iraq.

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 11:40:57 AM PDT

    •  Crassus (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Village Vet
      Marcus Licinius Crassus should have cut and run from Iraq.
      Molten gold, yummmy!!


      "It's high time (and then some) that we put an end to the exceptionalistic nonsense floating around in our culture and face the fact that either the economy works for all, or it doesn't work AT all." -- Sean McCullough (DailyKos user thanatokephaloides)

      by thanatokephaloides on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 04:24:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cut and Run? (2+ / 0-)

    The aggravating part of this whole scenario is the media is allowing the same boneheads that lied us into this mess to attempt to spin us back in now that were out .

    Just bad mouth President Obama and that should be reason enough to restart a war we never should have been in to begin with.

    •  As I said . . . (0+ / 0-)

      . . . the same folk are trying to smuggle us back into another war.

      "A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'"—William F. Buckley, Jr.—Founder of the conservative policy magazine "National Review"

      by Village Vet on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 08:33:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  He who fights and runs away... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... has troops that get to fight another day.

    As long as we're at the schoolyard taunt level, we might as well have an intelligent one.

    I've lost my faith in nihilism

    by grumpynerd on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 02:08:14 PM PDT

  •  We should get testimony from Bremer at least (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Village Vet

    Iraq's purely sectarian government is the government we encouraged under Bush. Paul Bremer's "de-Baathification" was as monstrous in its effects as it was stupid in its design. The Ba'ath Party was not the Nazi Party (and the Allies kept a load of Nazis).

    Governments in the region, where ethnic populations are forced into arbitrary nations from colonialism, either go with monarchies, theocracies, or dictatorships. The US replaced a quasi-socialist dictator with "anything but those people."

    Guess what happened when it got to vote? It voted along ethnic lines. Guess what that brought? It brought ethnic groups wanting to eliminate power and money from other ethnic groups. Guess what that brought? It brought those other ethnic groups welcoming theocrats as a way of regaining position.

    The U.S. sure broke it. The Libyan "socialist" model and the Ba'athist socialist model were awful, but they were secular and not ethnic. We can keep away and call it freedom, but given the realities of the region, it simply isn't possible to keep away from these dangerous options and an unsteered oxcart careening down the path.

    "for all the murders, rapes, and thefts,/ Committed in the horrid lust of war,/ He that unjustly caus'd it first proceed,/ Shall find it in his grave and in his seed." -- Webster, "The White Devil," IV i 8-12.

    by The Geogre on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 06:46:53 PM PDT

  •  Few (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's interesting to me how few posts there are on Kos about Iraq. It used to be a subject Kossacks cared about.

    "If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal."--Emma Goldman

    by ebgill on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 04:34:13 AM PDT

  •  Bush & Co. knew once it started, bets were off (0+ / 0-)

    The key was getting in. Once that was accomplished, by  hook and crook, all future actions and dialogue would be based upon their "War". I saw this clearly before the invasion. They were lying. Nothing made sense. All one had to do was to look around for the people who care about truth and read what they were saying. The liars said Bush was the "War" President. He was the "Decider". He told the enemy to "Bring it on" Iraq and future such invasions for oil are not to be confused with the American Revolution or WWII. Neither Bush nor Cheney are to be compared to George Washington. This is the mistake some people make, that our leaders are automatically noble, by way of stealing their way into the White House. Once that's done, they have it made. It stinks. Hell yes get out and stay out, and one more thing. How about spending that money on the people here who pay the taxes?  

  •  We had no business ever going there (0+ / 0-)

    Going back in is going to make things better?  Hah!

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 04:38:47 PM PDT

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