Friday, 15 August 2008

No change

Samantha Power still thinks that a policy of “facilitating ethnic cleansing” (her words) is a vote winner for Obama. Here she is in the current issue of the New York Review of Books:
“He has made clear his concern for Iraqi civilians in mixed neighborhoods who might be more vulnerable following a withdrawal of US combat brigades. He would offer these civilians fair notice of US plans and would be open to relocating those who would feel more secure if they moved.”
Obama’s campaign is of course no longer expressing that idea as clearly as it once did. Powers must have missed the memo - see previous post.

Related: if you thought that Obama’s Iraq policy seemed like a stuck clock, permanently pointing at “withdrawal within 16 months” no matter what, consider the fossilised rhetoric of the Liberal Democrats here in the UK - responding to comments by the outgoing commander of British forces in Iraq that most of the UK troops could be withdrawn by next summer, Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Edward Davey said:
“Even if this latest hint turns out to be true, the timescale seems far too slow. Our troops should be home from Iraq by Christmas at the very latest.

“It must be immensely frustrating for our service men and women on the ground in Iraq to know they are there more as political cover for the Brown-Bush relationship than to provide any real help to the Iraqi people.”
The Lib Dems campaigned in the 2005 election on a policy of withdrawal, the biggest party to do so, and achieved a high water mark of 23% of the vote resulting in 62 seats. Now they’re looking at 18% and 33 seats. In 2005 Iraq was the big issue for all the news media, now it has trouble making the front page. Do the Lib Dems really believe there’s anything to be had by carrying on repeating slogans from 2005?

The sad thing is that there seems to be a portion of truth in Davey’s second paragraph quoted above, going by this post from Iraq the Model, but the apparent failures of the British military mission in Basra are in great part a result of the poisonous opposition politics on Iraq promoted in the UK by the Lib Dems and others, politics which have everything to do with domestic political advantage, and which do nothing to improve the welfare of Iraqis.

Related stories on Basra via the Small Wars Journal.

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