Iraq: We’re ‘Withdrawing’ – But Not Leaving 

"As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.  Shortly after taking office, I announced our new strategy for Iraq and for a transition to full Iraqi responsibility.  And I made it clear that by August 31st, 2010, America’s combat mission in Iraq would end. And that is exactly what we are doing — as promised and on schedule." 

Barack Obama — Remarks at Disabled Veterans of America Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, August 2, 2010.  

Oh happy day! But, wait – not so fast … 

Like everything else in our oh-so-modern world, things are not quite what they seem: "complexities" get in the way. So let’s look at what is actually happening, not what the President and his amen corner would like us to see, before we throw our hats in the air.  

To begin with, Obama’s original campaign promise was to get all the troops out by May of this year. But I guess we aren’t supposed to remember that, and it would be rude to bring it up.  

Secondly, we aren’t leaving at all – there’s that bothersome "transitional force" (as the  Prez puts it) of up to 50,000 troops. Oh, but these soldiers won’t be "combat troops" (never mind that they’ll be fully armed, and backed up by an equal number of "private" contractors). When up against the intractable reality of Iraq’s chaos, the Obama administration simply redefines "combat troops" as "training and support" troops.  

Presto-change-o! That was easy, now wasn’t it

It’s typical of this President that a declarative statement such as the one cited above is followed by so many caveats, qualifications, and conditional phrases that it is, in the end, turned on its head. As Jason Ditz points out, at first the "transitional" force was slated to be there indefinitely, however now the administration has decided to stick to the terms of the Status of Forces Agreement and pull out the rest by the end of 2011 – except that the White House may try to garner approval from the UN to keep the "transitionals" in place beyond that point. 

And there’s yet another sticking point: it looks like the US State Department is busy assembling its very own military force to deal with the "security challenges" posed by the continuing turmoil in Iraq. At last, Hillary Clinton will be able to do what she’s always dreamed of: cast herself in the role of commander-in-chief, as "Hillary’s Raiders" seek to "duplicate the capabilities of the US military" once the "transitionals" are gone – and we’re back to square one. 

In short, the "withdrawal" from Iraq is completely phony. The US plans to stay, and ensure that Iraq becomes a de facto forward base for the substantial forces that will doubtless remain. That’s why we’re building an "embassy" bigger than Vatican City, which resembles a fortress, at a cost of $1.3 billion. As we ratchet up the pressure on Iran, with draconian economic sanctions and hopped up rhetoric, can there be any doubt that the US intends to use Iraq as a springboard for fresh conquests? Far from letting go, we are consolidating our grip on the region – and getting ready for the second phase of the Great Middle Eastern War. 

What this tells us about the present occupier of the White House is that he is far more duplicitous – and dangerous – than his predecessor. At least with George W. Bush, you knew what you were getting: his style was fairly direct. Sure, he and his neocon confreres lied us into war, but there was no doubt about where they stood. With the Obamaites, however, we’re dealing with weasel words, straight out of the mouths of some really first class weasels.  

How and why America’s self-styled "progressives" and liberals can stand to listen to his doubletalk, never mind allow themselves to be taken in by it, is beyond me.  


Sorry for the rather abbreviated column this time around, but I’m busy writing the copy for our upcoming fundraising drive – and by "upcoming," I mean starting this Monday! Yes, it’s that time again – a time of over-the-top anxiety, at least on my part. This fundraiser, however, occurs just as we’re making new breakthroughs, not only in expanding the size of our audience, but in achieving the kind of publicity that we only used to dream about. Our new communications director, Wendy Honett, has been getting us a lot of publicity through her dogged efforts: op eds by our columnistsincluding myself, and lots of mentions in news stories. Not to mention television … 

I’ll be on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s "Freedom Watch" program yet again, this Tuesday: the Judge is getting a daily show starting Monday, and a new prime-time slot on Fox Business News. I’m honored to be among his first guests.

I always face our quarterly fundraising drive with trepidation, but especially this time around. We have our hands full, what with two wars and a third in the making — and a liberal/progressive "antiwar" contingent that’s deliberately dragging its feet, and in doing so is quite literally letting Obama get away with murder. It’s a disgrace, and a blot on the record of what passes for the "left" today. A lot of these people have fallen away from our group of regular supporters, but I’m hoping the rest of you will make up the difference. Just to show them, you see: or, perhaps, to make a statement of the sort that’s sorely needed today.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].