Sunday, October 23, 2011

Home for the Holidays?

President Obama announced this week that all remaining American troops in Iraq would be brought home before the end of the year.

The announcement which had been expected to say that a modest contingent of some 5,000 - 10,000 troops would remain, came about due to an inability of the Iraqi government to permit immunity for any actions of the military forces left as a token presence.

This, coupled with Iraqi leaders' indecision and approach-avoidance discussion of the real issues of a nascent state, led to the matter of fact announcement from the President.

Yet, even though more than 100,000 military forces have already departed and less than 50,000 remain, there was little dancing in the streets by Americans. Possibly this is due to the fact that although one million have served in Iraq over the ten years of this long war, it has passed from the short attention span of most Americans. If it is not in the nightly news -- it must not be happening. With an all-volunteer force, our country is not as vested in this war as the country was in Vietnam or World War II. However there is rejoicing among families who are no longer facing a fifth tour of duty and who may soon stop worrying about suicide bombers and IEDs.

Recently I finished reading an excellent biography of the late Molly Ivins (Molly Ivins -- a Rebel Life by Bill Minutaglio & W. Michael Smith, Public Affairs Books, 2009). Molly died too soon, in early 2007 at the age of 62 from complications of a multi-year battle with breast cancer. I remember that then she was against the war and had supported Howard Dean early on. She thought little of George Bush and his excuses for starting and prolonging the war. Her final column went viral in the liberal blogosphere and included these words:
"We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous.... We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it now!' "
Ref.: (pg. 306) ... and on YouTube.

So now we can bang those pots and pans and watch our military members return home. Soon, I hope we may also see the forces fully return from Afghanistan. Obama said we can now turn our attention to re-building the neglected neighborhoods in our country. He has heard the voices from the streets, listened to the drummers in Wall Street, and seen the signs of growing support across the country from the 99% who are not fat cats.

He is listening to the real deciders, while the Republicans continue to listen to the Tea Party and continue to deny any job creation. While the Senate turned down jobs for teachers and first responders, the House was busy trying to deny emergent care to pregnant women who were miscarrying. Why are these people our representatives, if they cannot work for the people who elected them? The Senate Republicans threatened to filibuster. The vote was tied on whether debate could continue, so it failed. Personally, I say, make the Republicans stay there and filibuster, not just threaten to do so. Keep the Senate in session overnight if need be. Maybe they would finally tire and pass the jobs bill! Typically, the cast of characters running for President on the far right indicated the troop move would cause destabilization and harm the U.S. Romney and, of course, the neo-cons who started the whole war, spoke out against it. Meanwhile, Perry is beginning to discuss a flat tax, courtesy of Steve Forbes. What is next -- revitalization of the flat earth society?

What is your opinion of this anti-climactic end to the Iraq War? Share it here.

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