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Iraq war a “success”

Written By: - Date published: 8:20 am, December 16th, 2011 - 36 comments
Categories: iraq, us politics - Tags: ,

Not with a bang but a whimper. On Wednesday President Obama marked the end of the war in Iraq:

Barack Obama declares Iraq war a success

President told an audience of soldiers at Fort Bragg that the final pullout after nearly nine years of conflict is an ‘historic’ moment

Barack Obama marked an end to a war he once described as “dumb” by declaring the conflict in Iraq a success and saying the last US troops will leave in the coming days with their “heads held high”.

The president told an audience of soldiers at Fort Bragg that the final pullout from Iraq after nearly nine years of war is an “historic” moment and that the country they leave behind is “an extraordinary achievement”. … But the president, who came to power promising to end the war, said that for all the suffering, the result was success.

“We knew this day would come. We’ve known it for some time. But still there is something profound about the end of a war that has lasted so long,” said Obama. “It’s harder to end a war than begin one. Everything that American troops have done in Iraq – all the fighting, all the dying, the bleeding and the building and the training and the partnering, all of it has landed to this moment of success.” …

“Iraq’s not a perfect place. It has many challenges ahead. But we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self reliant Iraq with a representative government that was elected by its people. We’re building a new partnership between our nations and we are ending a war not with a final battle but with a final march toward home. This is an extraordinary achievement,” he said.

That interpretation is strongly disputed by critics of the way who say the conflict has destabilised the region, strengthened Iran and exposed US military shortcomings which may encourage future conflict. It is also claimed by critics that the war has strengthened hostility to the US and fueled not deterred terrorism.

This was a war waged on lies. It has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, and the death of over 4,000 American soldiers. It has left Iraq poisoned by depleted uranium and other toxins. The cost to America is estimated at $1 trillion – “an expense that has contributed significantly to America’s economic decline”. And for what? A shameful chapter.

36 comments on “Iraq war a “success””

  1. Roy 1

    Iraq is anything but stable. The average Iraqi was far better off under Saddam Hussein, nasty bastard that he was. Obama is lying through his teeth, and he knows it.

    • Vicky32 1.1

      The average Iraqi was far better off under Saddam Hussein, nasty bastard that he was.

      That’s true, although I’ve found that if you say that, people think you’re a supporter of Saddam Hussein!
      A ‘success’, hey? In what way, exactly?

    • millsy 1.2

      Roy is somewhat correct. Iraqis had very high living standards under the reign of Saddam and his predessors, and women could walk though the streets of Baghdad in western clothing on the way to university (same with Afghanistan up to 1979).

      Though I would imagine that the best jobs, houses, uni places, etc would have been reserved for members and officials of the ruling party, as is always the case in such countries.

  2. ianmac 2

    As a politician I suppose he can’t say that the war was a disaster. He can’t say that 4,000 American lives, 100s of thousands of Iraqi lives and lifelong trauma for all parties, was anything but noble. That would be to admit catastrophic error and Americans do not make mistakes.

  3. queenstfarmer 3

    Based only on the reported quotes, I’m don’t think the Guardian’s headline is fair. He is not saying “the conflict was a success”. I credit him with considerably more intelligence than that. He appears to be referring to the “success” of the withdrawl, ie being able to carry out an orderly withdrawal in non-combat conditions.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      lol, the retreat was a success

      • queenstfarmer 3.1.1

        Well that is about the best spin he can put on it. And some of the great military moments do involve retreats, or “strategic withdrawals”. Dunkirk and the successful ANZAC evacuation from Greece come to mind.

        • McFlock 3.1.1.1

          True enough.

          But sadly, this ain’t one of ‘em. Although it is a marginal improvement on Nixon’s “peace with honour”.

  4. [deleted]

    [lprent: Not even links damnit!.

    I'm adding you to auto-spam and will be trashing all your comments until they stop looking like comment spam. Stop being so damn lazy and in love with paste functions. Start editing them to something acceptable for the site - you have been told before.

    BTW: Arguing or doing any of the usual activist support tricks will simply result in wholesale permanent bannings. I'm sick to death of these cut'n'paste. You either clean up your act or you're out. Are you quite clear on the choices? ]

  5. Bored 5

    Hoorah, we won!!!!!!!!! (Posted on behalf of Haliburton, Bechtel, and the oil companies).

    PS RIP all those US jarheads and Iraqis whose lifes contributed to the corporate profits.

    • Gosman 5.1

      This should actually put paid to all those Blood for Oil mantras lefties used to parrot on a regular basis. Given the fact that it was the Iraqi government that requested the US leave and the US complied when they didn’t want to leave completely how can it be stated that the Oil is somehow under the control of the US corporations?

      • McFlock 5.1.1

        seriously?

        Have all the contracts authorised by the US provincial governor and the favoured Iraqi leadership expired yet?

      • Bored 5.1.2

        More fairy tales Gos,always the left to blame….this “lefty” Sadam…you know the right wing dictator favoured for years by the West and the oil companies, got a bit uppity….had to get rid of him said some other righties (George Bush and crew), so 000s deaths later, voila, Sadam dead, puppet government installed, gee whizz, you can go now say the Iraqi puppets, we will honour corporate oil contracts because we dont want the jarheads back…..

        Where were the lefties Gos? You are so full of shit.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    The attack on Iraq. A bleak twist on the old “unfortunately the patient died, but the operation was a great success” and we know who for.

  7. Spratwax 7

    Barack Obama- liar and hypocrate…. yes, he’s a politician.

  8. He’s their Commander in Chief – he can hardly get up there and tell them they’ve been risking their lives for a war crime, even if that’s exactly what they’ve been doing. Same principle on which the Brits put up a statue of Bomber Harris: admit the truth of the matter publicly and you open a big can of worms to no good purpose.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Although true, I think the men and women who have been serving on the ground know the best out of anyone what has been going on in reality as opposed to in Faux News world.

  9. RobertM 9

    Although the left would not see it that way, in part the ground war in Iraq and Afghanistan was and is an extension of the whole peacemaking , peacekeeping strategy wanted by the left the Helen Clark, Petra Kelly’s and Hagers and Hackwells.
    The move to rely on armies as the basis of western defence and to move back to ground intervention was disastorous.
    Most of the historical writing and books on NZ defence and indeed academic studies overwhelmingly concentrate on the NZ Army and generally only cover the RNZN and RNZAF with cynicism and contempt. This is a distortion because in the period of Anzus and Anzuk, New Zealands real contribution was Royalist, Type 12 and Leander frigates and the Canberra’s and Orions. NZ’s Army was always too small to be viable or relevant while in the 1950 to 1980 the Navy and AirForce was largely compatible with the standard of major second line US, UK, Aus and Canadian units.
    Essentially my view of Iraq and Afghanistan is that there should have been no ground intervention and they should have been hit only by bomber and tomahawks. Useful future defence of Western interests will mainly be by air, sea and briefly landed elite marines in my view. I believe this is the useful way to develop NZ’s military with a serious Orion replacements and High Endurance corvettes and OPVs carrying NH90s and small SAS units.
    Modern western armies are too unintelligent and based on male tribal prole pact loyalty to be effective pacification, destruction and elimination units. They are loyal to themselves and their prole class and male interest not to the West or western aims. The dumbing down of the military and its proletarisation of its its units is part of the decline of the west. Elite praetorian guards are essential to preserve any form of western civilisation.

    Few things annoy me more than Historian colonel Christopher Pugsley’s views that the military are a legitimate conservative interest in society and a power base for working class interests. The truth is the NZ military is only legitimate as long as it serves Western interests. Whether is any genuine NZ identity and nationhood and indeed whether there is a real independent Maori identity is doubtful and probably worng. My view of NZ is that it is only valid as long as it’s aim is to defend the west, regardless of its own long term fate.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Why do we need to project power?

    • Colonial Viper 9.2

      Essentially my view of Iraq and Afghanistan is that there should have been no ground intervention and they should have been hit only by bomber and tomahawks.

      This is so ridiculous its not even funny.

      Its the belief that you can sit in a bunker somewhere in Virginia, and win a war in the middle east by pressing lots of red buttons, getting the desired strategic result by bombing middle east countries back to the stone age.

      What the hell.

      For starters you can’t secure any oil fields this way, so what’s the point, duh.

    • Colonial Viper 9.3

      My view of NZ is that it is only valid as long as it’s aim is to defend the west, regardless of its own long term fate.

      You’ve grown up during a time that “the west” was imperial rulers of the world

      Time for a new paradigm. The pendulum is returning to the mean. China, India and Russia will be holding sway now.

  10. Gosman 10

    When was Russia ever in a position of global significance beyond just advancing into largely under populated areas of the planet?

    • McFlock 10.1

      Given that Russia was the dominant state in the Soviet Union, and before then controlled extensive areas of Eastern Europe and Asia (including Korea), allow me to retort with a “lolwhut?”.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        Do Russian atomic and hydrogen weapons help it to have “global significance”?

        And if not those, how about some of the largest fossil fuel reserves in the world? Where do these Right Wingers crawl out from.

    • Bored 10.2

      The day their tanks rolled into Berlin and squashed Hitler for a starter. Or maybe today when they control European fuel supplies.

  11. joe90 11

    With $662 billion in defence spending, because Iran has the US surrounded, the installation of a new dictator and the presence of 5500 mercenaries to protect an embassy the size of the Vatican city the evil empire ain’t going nowhere.

  12. lostinsurburbia 12

    The war wasn’t a total failure. It gave western weapon manufacturers a chance to demonstrate their latest products to the world and was also good practice for when the US military decides to attack Iran.

  13. millsy 13

    One of the legacies of this conflict would be the use of private military contractors, or, as the politcally incorrect and proud would call them, mercenaries.

    The privatisation of war is an issue which we should all be concerned about.

  14. I am happy that the war in Iraq is finally over. It has been 9 long years for Americans and their families. We have lost so many soliders for a war that we never should have even been a part of. The U.S. has a thing about trying to fix everyone except their own land. Now maybe we can focus on what is really the issue here. That being our hungry, homeless, uneducated americans.

  15. ropata 15

    All I want for Christmas is Global American Hegemony
    To sum up the above link: The US plans a massive expansionist drive around the world (and indeed even in outer space). In this it plans to take full advantage of its overwhelming military supremacy, including hitherto impermissible means, with inevitably terrible effects on the targeted populations. Not only inconvenient regimes but even certain US client regimes (such as Saudi Arabia) may be targeted. These countries are slated for direct rule by the American military, or rule under close and detailed direction by US monitors—encompassing not only foreign policy and economic policy, but political, social and cultural institutions as well. Direct control of oil will pass into American hands. Importantly, this drive is intended to prevent the emergence of rivals to American worldwide hegemony.

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  • Time for Ryall to fix mistakes and help families
    Families who won a long and lengthy Court battle for financial help to support their disabled daughters and sons are now facing a new battle with health system bureaucracy and need the Health Minister's help, Labour's Disability Issues spokesperson Ruth...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Time for greater ministerial accountability
    The Green Party has today released a proposal to introduce a ministerial disclosure regime in New Zealand to improve the transparency and accountability of government.The proposal, based on the system used in the United Kingdom since 2010, would require all...
    Greens | 18-04
  • Power prices soar on the eve of winter
    On the eve of winter as New Zealanders are turning on their heaters, power prices have soared sky high, Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer says. “Energy Minster Simon Bridges claimed in Parliament that prices were estimated to rise 2.4 per...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Workers can kiss goodbye to Easter Sunday off
    The Government’s decision to “reprioritise” scarce labour inspector resources by abandoning the enforcement of Easter Sunday Shop Trading laws means workers can kiss goodbye to a guaranteed day off, says Labour’s Associate Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton. “The Labour Minister...
    Labour | 18-04
  • Businesses need to respect workers this Easter
    Businesses intent on flouting Easter shopping laws should face stiff penalties, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today. This Easter, at least one major garden centre chain intends to open on Good Friday despite this being in breach...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney's Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members' ballot. “It’s time the Government acted in the interests of families,” Sue Moroney says. “National has tried every...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the price for Genesis far too low in a desperate attempt to beef up demand....
    Labour | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Associate Immigration spokesperson. “In the past 12 months, temporary...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Since 2009 resignation rates among sworn staff have...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand to revisit its decision to evict an essential community organisation in Christchurch with only eight weeks notice.Yesterday at the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence support services the organisation...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Auckland Council has implemented a by-law banning the use of psychoactive...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination after revelations that three out of seven properties sold in Wanganui tested positive for methamphetamine,...
    Labour | 17-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra