Right now our Congress is once again discussing a bill that would provide President Bush
with additional funds to continue the War in Iraq.
I wring my hands knowing that the discussion most likely focuses how to supply the military
operations and operatives rather than how to bring our operations and operatives home- and
how we will fund their care for decades to come. But the climate in the world this time is a
little bit different while our congress deliberates.
Last year, Tony Blair, who had been the most popular Prime Minister in Great Britain’s
istory, also became the least popular - because of his close alliance with George W. Bush
and the Iraq War Fiasco. Tony Blair resigned and was succeeded by Gordon Brown.
Last November, John Howard in Australia was unseated by their new Prime Minister,
Kevin Rudd. Rudd’s campaign promise was to end Australia’s participation in the Iraq
War and bring their 550 combat troops home by the middle of 2008.
Last Sunday, Australia ended combat operations in Iraq, and the first troops actually arrived
at their mainland. In the course of the next few weeks the rest of the Australian combat troops
will go home. No grand chaos erupted, just grand homecomings for those 550 military families.
Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon declared the mission a success, saying it had allowed Iraq’s
own security forces to successfully take control.
Last Monday, Prime Minister Rudd publicly told his Parliament that his predecessor, John
Howard, had abused intelligence to lead his country into a war that has only served to
increase global terrorism. Rudd has said the Iraq deployment made Australia more of a
target for terrorism.
Last Tuesday, the Canadian House of Commons passed a non-binding resolution in
response to widespread opposition to the war in Iraq throughout their country. It calls on
their government to stop the deportation of Iraq war resisters who came to Canada seeking
refuge from participating in a war not sanctioned by the United Nations and recognized that
those resisters view the war as illegal and immoral.
Also last Tuesday, Barack Obama clinched the delegate count for a Democratic nomination
and became our presumptive nominee. His campaign promise has been to end the war in Iraq
altogether and bring our troops home in an orderly manner.
This has been a big week.
Thursday, our own Senate Intelligence Committee declared that the Bush administration “led
the nation to war on false premises.” The committee chairman is John Rockefeller of West
Virginia. Rockefeller has now personally declared his support for Barack Obama. Some
Republicans on the committee voted to support its conclusions, some Republicans immediately
published a dissent document calling it partisan gamesmanship. Hello? That, my friends, is
why we elected a Democratic majority.
The media tells us that the results of this fall’s election is likely to be the result of economic woes
and issues. I don’t think so.
I continue to wring my hands, but within their clasp is a glimmer of hope. Here is my prediction
of what CHANGE is going to look like. THIS is the change I believe in:
Next November we elect Barack president and celebrate a historic record in terms of citizen
participation across the country. Before New Years’ Day, President Obama announces an end
to U.S. combat operations in Iraq and our flag is calmly and respectably taken down from
combat camps there. “The focus of our military operations is now finding bin Laden in
The Democratic Secretary of Defense can officially claim that Iraqi Freedom was a success.
Fine. Whatever. The March issue of Time Magazine has a cover picture of grand homecomings.
Pride of service and valor is all the wave. Patriotism surges beyond the levels of September 12,
Next June, President Obama publicly tells Congress that his predecessor had abused intelligence
to lead our country into a war that has resulted in less Iraqi freedom, not more. Less security in
America, not more. If anybody can deliver a speech that validates the servicemen and women,
and validates theirservice while at the same time denouncing the decisions to both begin and
maintain war in Iraq… (well, Kevin Rudd did it in Australia this week.) If anybody can deliver
that speech here in the U.S. and pull it off with style and grace, that would be Barack Obama.
I am looking forward to the day.
Back to current events in Australia:
Rudd's predecessor, former Prime Minister John Howard, said he was "baffled" by the decision
to withdraw the troops. The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Howard in an interview published
Monday,"If I had been returned at the last election we would not have been bringing (troops)
home, we would
have been looking at transitioning them from their soon-to-be terminated role to a training role."
Can’t you just picture McCain being interviewed in the wings next year saying he was “baffled”
by the decision to withdraw troops?
“The Arizona Daily Star will quote Senator McCain’s response to President Obama’s latest
speech, ‘If I had been elected president last November, we would not be bringing troops home
or sending them to Afghanistan, we would have been looking at transitioning them from their
soon-to-be terminated roles in Iraq to training roles. And what about Iran?’ – AP.”
June 6, 2008