What are the terms of withdrawal from Iraq?

August 22, 2008

I have not been able to find anything but the briefest description of the terms of American withdrawal that are being presented to the Iraqi parliament. Apparently it involves the removal of U.S. troops from cities and towns by next summer. I presume they will retire to the bases in Iraq. A couple of years after that there apparently will be a complete withdrawal. This all subject to conditions that are unclear to me.

By all reports there has been a frenzied effort by th U.S. to get withdrawal terms approved by Iraq. I’m not clear why this u-turn in American policy occurred. It apparently has more to do with an attempt to create a positive legacy for Bush, as its impact on the election appears to be ambiguous. McCain claims that it proves that the surge worked and Obama would have sacrificed victory in Iraq and Obama notes that the withdrawal is very close to what he has been advocating all along.

I guess that McCain is claiming that we won. His claim of victory in Iraq seems to me very much like Bush’s “mission accomplished” celebration some years ago.

But why are the details of this being kept from the American public? If this is not being kept from us, it at least is not readily accessible.

Here are a few questions in my mind. Are we abandoning the bases in Iraq? Bush was absolutely against this and Obama stridently for it. I believe that this is a significant question insofar as it was the bases in Saudi Arabia were a cause of anti-American sentiment in the region and a motivating factor for Al Qaeda’s activity.

What are the conditions for withdrawal? As every contract lawyer knows an agreement’s conditions can render an agreement virtually meaningless or so ambiguous as to be unenforceable or enforceable at will.

In my mind the accord in Iraq is bigger than whatever effect it has on politics here. I’d like to know what is going on.


McCain’s Military Record

August 22, 2008

I’ve heard McCain’s military experience both extolled and ridiculed. It appears that his military record was far less than exemplary, apart from his POW experience. Contrary to what some critics are saying, he appears to have comported himself well as a POW. Here is an article by a fellow POW which confirms this conclusion but takes umbrage at the attempt to politicize the experience.


Democratic Convention

August 22, 2008

There has already been a lot said and written about the Democratic Party’s efforts to hide Denver’s 4000 homeless people during the convention that is coming up.  They are getting tickets to movies and the zoo and free transportation to these distant venues.  To show that they are not trying to further disenfranchise this group, televisions have been provided to shelters that are sufficiently distant from the convention that people at those shelters are unlikely to appear on the screen.

I listen to Rush Limbaugh and he can hardly control his delight with this situation. Radio station 1090 that runs liberal programming does not seem to feature much discussion of this.

The thing about this that strikes me is that an important part of Obama’s campaign involves calling attention to poverty in America.  It seems to me that this program hurts Obama by making him appear to be a hypocrite.  He has cast two very important votes against what he has said that he stands for and many people are struggling to understand this.  These votes were on the Energy Bill and FISA.  This program to hide the homeless does nothing to help people resolve the appearance of ambiguity with respect to Obama’s positions.

At the same time the chairman of the Democratic Leadership Committee is campaigning to minimize the influence of the anti-war people with respect to the Democratic Party’s political stance.

Obama’s emergence as a party leader has been something to behold.  The enthusiasm and breadth of support that he created were a rarity.  It was in some respects a populist political movement.  The Democratic Party’s embrace of this candidate however threatens to douse the fire of the movement.