Sen. Obama mythbusts Amb. Ryan Crocker, but doesn't bring the boon all the way Home. What makes us think 20-30 years of imperial rule will actually help?
If he had gone on to say, "...you can give the People the Goering treatment," that would have vaulted him up a quantum level, in my cosmos. Imagine that! Isn't that what a temple of democracy is for?
Even Gareth Porter, and many of the Left, seem to think going to war in Afghanistan or Pakistan against our "real" enemies is a our "true" path. Do we increase light by gathering up and "doing away with" darkness? Whence comes this absolute faith in war?
From our mythology, silly! Our fundamental beliefs conceive of life as a holy war. We beget War, then seem to think it will just love being at our beck and call. And only ours. Forever and ever, aMEN.
Two faces; one war. It's what we do.
[Emphasis added @ dn2008-0409 22:20-22:50]
AMY GOODMAN: Senator Obama also had an opportunity to question General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker later Tuesday afternoon, when they testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He called for a timetable for withdrawal and talks with Iran while questioning Ambassador Crocker.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA: I think what happened in Basra is an example of Shia versus Shia jockeying for power that underscores how complicated the political situation is there and how we still have to continue to work vigorously to resolve it. I believe that we are more likely to resolve it, in your own words, Ambassador, if we are applying increased pressure in a measured way. I think that increased pressure in a measured way, in my mind—and this is where we disagree—includes a timetable for withdrawal. Nobody’s asking for a precipitous withdrawal, but I do think that it has to be a measured but increased pressure and a diplomatic surge that includes Iran, because if Maliki can tolerate as normal neighbor-to-neighbor relations in Iran, then we should be talking to them, as well. I do not believe we’re going to be able to stabilize the situation without them.
If we were able to have the status quo in Iraq right now without US troops, would that be a sufficient definition of success? It’s obviously not perfect. There’s still violence. There’s still some traces of al-Qaeda. Iran has influence more than we would like. But if we had the current status quo, and yet our troops had been drawn down to 30,000, would we consider that a success? Would that meet our criteria, or would that not be good enough, and we’d have to devote even more resources to it?
AMBASSADOR RYAN CROCKER: Senator, I can’t imagine the current status quo being sustainable with that kind of precipitous drawdown.
SEN. JOE BIDEN: That wasn’t the question.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA: No, no, that wasn’t the question. I’m not suggesting that we yank all our troops out all the way. I’m trying to get to an endpoint. That’s what all of us have been trying to get to.
And see, the problem I have is if the definition of success is so high—no traces of al-Qaeda and no possibility of reconstitution, a highly-effective Iraqi government, a Democratic multiethnic, multi-sectarian functioning democracy, no Iranian influence, at least not of the kind that we don’t like—then that portends the possibility of us staying for twenty or thirty years.
If, on the other hand, our criteria is a messy, sloppy status quo, but there’s not, you know, huge outbreaks of violence, there’s still corruption, but the country is struggling along, but it’s not a threat to its neighbors and it’s not an al-Qaeda base, that seems to me an achievable goal within a measurable timeframe, and that, I think, is what everybody here on this committee has been trying to drive at, and we haven’t been able to get as clear of an answer as we would like.
AMBASSADOR RYAN CROCKER:And that’s because, Senator, it is a—I mean, I don’t like to sound like a broken record, but this is hard, and this is complicated.
AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Ryan Crocker being questioned by senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama.