T Nation

Top-Ten to Get Out of Iraq.

  1. The U.S. military has absolutely no right, whether legal or moral, to be killing people who live in Iraq. It has no right to even be in Iraq. Why is this? Because neither the Iraqi government nor the Iraqi people ever attacked the United States. This fact makes the war in Iraq an optional one, not a necessary one.

To reiterate what should be obvious, the fact that the U.S. was attacked in 2001 does not give this country the right to attack and kill people who had nothing to do with those crimes. It is morally acceptable to go after criminals, but it is a crime to kill their families, their friends, their neighbors, or anyone else not criminally complicit.

  1. Both political parties have pursued a foreign policy of aggression for decades, and where has that gotten us?

Our military is based in over 120 countries around the world. The U.S. government has spent billions and billions of dollars of our tax money to prop up dictators and despotic regimes. It has armed people such as Osama bin Laden and the “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein, and Manuel Noriega, only to use military force to oust them later on. This type of foreign policy has driven people all over the world to hate us. Don’t we have enough enemies yet? Isn’t it time to say enough is enough?

  1. Since this war began back in 1991, millions of people have been driven from their homes, injured, or killed. Considering this fact, I cannot be convinced that the Iraqi people are better off in any way.

  2. In a free country, aggressive war should never be used as a tool of foreign policy. Using force to impose what American politicians consider to be a proper government for Iraq violates every principle of freedom which this country is supposed to stand for. This is not freedom for Iraqis

  3. No one can convince me that kindness and charity are the primary motives in a war where hundreds of billions of dollars are forcibly redistributed from American citizens to the military-industrial complex; especially the weapons-manufacturers. Maybe something else motivates the war-makers. Could it be greed?

  4. Like virtually every war, this war is being funded through the coercive method of taxation. The wealth of the American people is being forcibly transferred to the government and their corporate partners; the merchants of death. Just considering this one point, the war in Iraq is just as immoral and illegal as stealing from one person to give to another.

On top of this, taxation, deficit-spending, and the printing of money gives the government an almost unlimited source of funding. Thus, there is no incentive for the government to spend the money wisely, because it can always get more - from us. Conversely, the access to such vast wealth is actually an incentive to continue the war perpetually. The ability to grow in wealth and power is something that not many politicians have had the strength to resist throughout history. American politicians are no different.

  1. The Iraq War is the polar opposite of any proper concept of self-defense. The United States is the aggressor and Iraq is the defender; plain and simple. This fact brings up some very difficult moral and legal issues for everyone involved. Thomas Paine may have summed it up best:

“Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder.”

  1. We fought in Vietnam to stop the “domino effect” of communism, but when the communists took over, the world didn’t come to an end. We “saved” Kuwait from an evil dictator, but it’s still run by a family dynasty that has no interest in liberty for the people. We waged war on Afghanistan to capture Osama bin Laden. Oddly, rights violations are still rampant and Afghani opium production has soared since the invasion. And then, of course, we have all the “good” done in Iraq.

This foreign policy of aggression and intervention, which we have seen grow in preeminence over the last century, just doesn’t work. The politicians promise us peace; they promise us security; they promise us anything to get us to go along with their policies, but what happens? In virtually every situation, the intervention totally fails, or the “enemy” is replaced by another despotic regime. The U.S. government has caused chaos in Iraq, and the time for that to come to an end is now.

  1. You don’t bring freedom to people by waging war on their cities and towns, and you don’t protect innocent people by killing innocent people. It is a crime to aggressively take the life of another person. There is no murder of innocent people that can be justified by claiming that it was necessary for the “greater good.”

If you consider that to be the right way of handling the problems in Iraq, you more closely resemble Joseph Stalin’s way of thinking than that of liberty-lovers like Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine.

And the No. 1 reason to get the U.S. out of Iraq…now…

  1. The warfare state is, hands down, the greatest threat to liberty. In war, the government always claims the need for massive power, and it uses war as an excuse to expand its control over our lives in every way possible.

War, the politicians claim, “changes everything.” They tap our phones, read our emails, monitor our bank accounts, and give us “free speech zones.” They consider torture acceptable and imprison people indefinitely. They take our property, waste our resources, and threaten to spend our economy into oblivion.

Throughout history, even kings and queens have often failed to survive such disastrous governance.

And, just in case that’s not enough, here’s one more “bonus” reason to get out Iraq now:

The Constitution does not give the president the power to wage war without first getting a declaration of war from Congress. Although some try to claim that the 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) fulfilled this requirement, it did not. All it did was transfer a Constitutional power - the power to declare war - from congress to the president. This transfer of power is a violation of the Constitution in and of itself.

Thus, the president violated the Constitution by waging war on Iraq without a declaration of war from congress. And, possibly even more important, everyone in congress who voted for the AUMF in 2002 violated the Constitution as well by illegally transferring their power to declare war to the president.

This is how the U.S. government has handled every war since World War II. By allowing the government to wage undeclared wars, politicians from both political parties have violated their Constitutional oaths repeatedly.

Whether you like it or not, the Constitution is not just a set of loose guidelines, it’s the law. Now is the time to demand that our representatives in government abide by the law. We must stop allowing Presidents to drag us into wars, which they later claim we have to continue for years and years until the “job is done.”

NATIONAL DEFENSE, NOT OFFENSE

If government should be playing any role at all in foreign affairs, it should be only to keep us out of wars. Their sole job is to ensure that this country will not be attacked so you and your family can live in peace.

I’d actually like to see some national defense for once in this country; all we have now is a national offense. Such things as staging coups, backing dictators with billions in foreign aid, basing our military in over 120 nations, and attacking other countries does nothing to keep this country safe. In fact, it does just the opposite, and almost guarantees more war in the future.

To make this country safer, we don’t need to increase the power of the politicians, and we definitely don’t need more national offense. We don’t need more weapons, a larger military, or wars in more countries.

We need the exact opposite of this. We need to focus on defending the country rather than aggressing against the rest of the world.

The only reason to have a military force at all is to deter and discourage potential invaders; it’s not to be used as a pre-emptive strike force. If the attackers come anyway, it’s the military’s job to repel them at our borders. Nothing more, nothing less. If they’re unable to do that job, maybe we should consider something different.

WHAT NOW?

The path this country is on right now, the path of empire and militarism, will only guarantee us more violence, death, and loss of liberty.

This state of affairs is intolerable.

The right plan, in the short term, is the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq. Now. Not when the violence “subsides.” Not when Iraq has a stable government. Not when more Iraqi forces are trained. Not when the Democrats tell us the war is over, not when the Republicans tell us the war is over, and not when we have a new president.

The time to leave Iraq is now. Not in the fall. Not next year. Not next month or next week. Today, not tomorrow - right now.

Could the entire U.S. Military machine and its associated contractors leave Iraq this very moment? Obviously not. But, we could easily announce an immediate cessation of aggressive hostilities, and start mobilizing all of our resources to transport the troops out right away. It didn’t take all that long to march into Iraq, and it won’t take that long to march right on out.

FOR THE FUTURE

I hope that the painful lessons of the Iraq war will cause the American people to realize that the only solution to our foreign policy problems, including our nation’s security, is not just a withdrawal from Iraq.

These long-term measures should be taken:

* Bring all U.S. troops home. All of them.

* Stop inciting violence against us by backing coups and despotic regimes.

* Stop telling other countries what type of government they should have, who their leaders should be, and what their policies should be. 

* End all foreign aid; both military and economic.  Allow the American people, with their own free will, to decide which charities and movements they want to support with their money and lives.

On top of these essential measures, we must clearly recognize that people in other countries don’t hate us for “being free.” They attack us when our government continually interferes in their lives.

This long-term solution requires a return to our nation’s founding principles of individual liberty. This is quite contrary to America’s current policies of militarism, endless foreign aid, massive standing armies, assassinations, coups, deadly sanctions, and wars.

As a nation, we cannot solve all the problems of the world. We cannot bring peace to the world. And, as the historical record shows, we cannot trust our politicians to do so either. Such has been the arrogance of many of the most murderous tyrants in world history, and such has been the path to their destruction.

We may not be able to stop war and bloodshed in places like Darfur, and we may not be able to bring liberty to places like North Korea. But, by standing up for what we believe in, our voices can make a real difference in what our own government is allowed to do.

When a government that rules in our name engages in torture, killing, and war, the number one question that will be asked of us someday is this: did you rise in opposition to it? Did you speak out against it? Or, did you approve of it by remaining silent?

I, for one, rise in opposition, and will continue to speak out.

by Michael Boldin [click here for more articles], who is a gun-toting, thirty-something technology-inclined city-dweller. He is an avid hiker of the San Gabriel Mountains, and is prone to life in the wilderness. Raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by a politically active family, he developed a distaste for big government early on. Michael is a senior editor and contributing writer for http://www.populistamerica.com and welcomes your feedback at mboldin@populistamerica.com


Here’s another one:

Majority of Iraqi Lawmakers Now Reject Occupation
May 9, 2007
On Tuesday, without note in the U.S. media, more than half of the members of Iraq’s parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition.

It’s a hugely significant development. Lawmakers demanding an end to the occupation now have the upper hand in the Iraqi legislature for the first time; previous attempts at a similar resolution fell just short of the 138 votes needed to pass (there are 275 members of the Iraqi parliament, but many have fled the country’s civil conflict, and at times it’s been difficult to arrive at a quorum)…
http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/51624

[quote]JustTheFacts wrote:
Here’s another one:

Majority of Iraqi Lawmakers Now Reject Occupation
May 9, 2007
On Tuesday, without note in the U.S. media, more than half of the members of Iraq’s parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition.

It’s a hugely significant development. Lawmakers demanding an end to the occupation now have the upper hand in the Iraqi legislature for the first time; previous attempts at a similar resolution fell just short of the 138 votes needed to pass (there are 275 members of the Iraqi parliament, but many have fled the country’s civil conflict, and at times it’s been difficult to arrive at a quorum)…
http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/51624[/quote]

Well, it’s not that simple. While it does petition for a time table, it also would rely on the readiness of Iraqi troops. So, it’s a bit more complicated than, oh let’s say, “US must pull out in 6 mos., no matter what.”

I’m not sure why that point wasn’t raised in the ‘alternet’ article. It’s a rather significant omission.

What I find fascinating is that even Sadr seems to realize that a hasty withdraw, without Iraqi troop readiness in place, would be a disaster.

"A majority of Iraq?s Parliament members have signed a petition for a timetable governing a withdrawal of American troops, several legislators said Friday.

The withdrawal would depend on the growth and maturity of the Iraqi security forces, to ensure that the departure would not create a security vacuum and accelerate the sectarian conflict, the petition?s sponsors said.

?The troop withdrawal would move in parallel with the buildup of Iraqi troops, but their stay should not be for a long time,? said Saleh al-Igili, a member of the parliamentary bloc allied with the anti-American Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, which sponsored the petition.

Officials with Mr. Sadr?s bloc said 144 of Parliament?s 275 members ? including Sunnis, Shiites and at least one Kurd ? had signed. The document is being developed into a draft bill by Parliament?s legal and foreign relations committees, said Bahaa al-Araji, a member of the Sadr bloc and head of the legal committee.

The petition formalizes a widely held sentiment among many legislators ? and among Iraqis in general ? that American troops should withdraw as soon as possible, though not before Iraqi forces are prepared to assume control of the country?s security.

Even Mr. Sadr has cautioned against an immediate withdrawal, although he has been in the vanguard of Iraqi leaders demanding an American departure, and last month withdrew his six ministers from the cabinet in protest over Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki?s resistance to timetables."

The petition echoes elements of the debate in Washington over troop withdrawals from Iraq. Like the petitioners, many Democratic lawmakers have demanded a timetable for a withdrawal, over the opposition of President Bush and Mr. Maliki, though the president has accepted the idea of nonbinding benchmarks.

But in another respect the petition brings the majority of Iraqi legislators into agreement with the Bush administration: both argue that an American withdrawal should depend on the readiness of Iraqi troops."

sigh

Okay, Pete, if you are going to quote founders, try to be consistent. First you talk about how Iraq is illegal because it requires oppressive taxation to fund it.

Then you quote Thomas Paine in the same article. In “Agrarian Justice”, Paine is the first founder to advocate the welfare state and major redistribution of wealth. This of course can only be done through coercion.

Then you refer to the freedom loving Patrick Henry. This is the same Patrick Henry who warned Virginians not to adopt the constitution because, “They [the feds] will take away your slaves!” To Henry, freedom was the right of self-determination.

In other words, so long as the people could vote, if their representatives wanted slavery or shudder an offensive war against Saddam Hussein, then by all means give the people what they voted for.

mike

Yet another study warning of collapse.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/17/AR2007051702112.html?nav=rss_email/components

[quote]Sloth wrote:
Well, it’s not that simple. While it does petition for a time table, it also would rely on the readiness of Iraqi troops. So, it’s a bit more complicated than, oh let’s say, “US must pull out in 6 mos., no matter what.”

I’m not sure why that point wasn’t raised in the ‘alternet’ article. It’s a rather significant omission.

What I find fascinating is that even Sadr seems to realize that a hasty withdraw, without Iraqi troop readiness in place, would be a disaster.
[/quote]

Here’s the conundrum – the longer we stay, the worse it gets. The surge was a flop, and as expected, made things worse – because now even the Green Zone is becoming more unsafe by the day.

lixy just posted the link about the British study of Iraq on the verge of collapse.

And this one…

Contractor Deaths in Iraq Soar to Record
WASHINGTON, May 18 - Casualties among private contractors in Iraq have soared to record levels this year, setting a pace that seems certain to turn 2007 into the bloodiest year yet for the civilians who work alongside the American military in the war zone, according to new government numbers.

But the reasons for staying are just more lies – we never intended to leave…

“The Largest Embassy Ever Run by any Country”
It takes nearly five minutes to drive along just one side of its 104 acres, which will contain 21 buildings
http://www.danielpipes.org/blog_pf.php?id=196

Try to connect events, gents.

Why does Chavez feel he can safely hijack international investments? What’s the connection between what Chavez is doing, and the war?

Now, if we leave Iraq w/o winning, what will all the other bandits-in-chief do? Guess. Well, I’ll tell you: they will do exactly the same thing they did in the 1920’s when Britain could no longer secure international investments — they confiscated them. The reneged on loans. They felt free to attack foreigners, all in the ‘name of the people’.

Capital, of course, retreated to the ‘center’, where it was safer. Stock markets boomed and soared to unheard of heights. What happened next?

We damn well better go all out and win in Iraq or you will see a global depression unlike anything since the collapse of Imperial Spain.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
Why does Chavez feel he can safely hijack international investments? [/quote]

Because he’s acting in the name of the Venezuelan people who are sick and tired of having a few cartels make piles of cash exploiting Venezuelan riches.

Chavez is uniting Latin American because he saw how the US unilaterally terrorizes and invades other countries.

Wow! That’s quite a long shot.

Last I checked, Chavez repaid the World Bank/IMF debt of his country and is helping other countries to do the same. The pair World Bank/IMF being literally subsidiaries of the US treasurery, I understand their haste to get rid of that.

Win what? There are only a few ways to eradicate sectarian violence and terrorist groups in Iraq:

  1. Nuke 'em all.
  2. Install a bloody dictator.
  3. Get the hell out of there, forcing Iraqis to toughen up and defend the unity of their country.
  4. Engage Iran and Syria in the process.

Putting more troops on the grounds only divides the population further and gives more ammo to Al-Qaeda.

Lixy,

You are being myopic. First of all, Chavez is ruining South America. Why? Think like someone running a big pool of capital — if the money gets ‘confiscated’ by someone like Chavez, the guy running the capital pool gets his ass fired, he’ll never work in that field again and investors shun the fund.

The long-term effect of ‘confiscation’ is to make the country that does this a pariah for capital investments. Very few countries have enough wealth to generate their own capital pool and Venezuela ain’t one of 'em. The people become like vultures — feast today but starve when they run out of victims.

Want more proof of this? Despite an economy nearing a recession and oil soaring, our market hits new highs about every day. Why? Why isn’t the money being invested overseas in, say, Venezuela, Columbia, Argentina,…

Secondly, the people of Iraq VOTED for this government. I find it shocking that the ENTIRE WORLD is not in there helping us. What a bunch of stay-at-home cowards! A bunch of terrorists want to destroy a government voted into power and they don’t care.

BTW: Chavez was voted in and you support him. The Iraqi gov’t was voted in, and you empathize with the insurgents. Hypocritical???

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
Want more proof of this? Despite an economy nearing a recession and oil soaring, our market hits new highs about every day. Why? Why isn’t the money being invested overseas in, say, Venezuela, Columbia, Argentina,… [/quote]

That is untrue. Look at the haste with which the oil companies have folded to his demand. They whined a bit 'cause he cut into their exorbitant profits.

[i]AP’s Natalie Obiko Pearson reported April 26 that “Four major oil companies (stopped whining April 25 and) agreed to cede control of Venezuela’s last remaining (majority-owned) privately run oil projects to President Hugo Chavez’s government” with ConocoPhillips coming around May 1 showing it, too, was all bark and no bite. Those agreeing through signed memorandums of understanding were Chevron,

BP(Amoco) PLC, France’s Total SA, Norway’s Statoil ASA, ConocoPhillips, and with most antagonistic of all to the idea ExxonMobil finally doing it privately as was almost certain to happen and then did.

AP reported ConocoPhillips has the most Orinoco basin exposure in two of four projects, Ameriven and Petrozuata with a (former) 50.1% stake in the latter.

It was inconceivable the company would abandon them, and on May 1 it announced it would stay on. The one remaining issue to be resolved is compensation with foreign investors having until June 26 to negotiate terms for their reduced stakes. Expect more Big Oil whining followed by capitulation again to Venezuelan Energy Ministry’s expected offer of fair and equitable takeover terms.[/i]

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=21&ItemID=12758

I was screaming for the US not to invade prior to 2003. It’s not so much that I empathize with the insurgents; I just like rubbing your nose in it. And since you had no right to be there in the first place, I figure you should get out.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but neither does violence bring peace. If only your administration acknowledged the humongous blunder, I might re-evaluate my position. Until that happens, I’ll keep calling for the troops to be withdrawn because they didn’t belong there in the first place, and let’s face it, some of them did kill and agress a LOT of innocents.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:

Secondly, the people of Iraq VOTED for this government. I find it shocking that the ENTIRE WORLD is not in there helping us. What a bunch of stay-at-home cowards! A bunch of terrorists want to destroy a government voted into power and they don’t care.

BTW: Chavez was voted in and you support him. The Iraqi gov’t was voted in, and you empathize with the insurgents. Hypocritical???[/quote]

Excellent point.