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November 19, 2008

Real “Change” in Iraq

Quotes of the Day:

“You can’t walk around unless you’ve got flak jackets, helmets on all the time, no matter where you are. It’s always struck me it’s almost like a Fellini movie, kind of unreal. The American people are told things are stable and secure, and violence is down. No American would walk outside there without a convoy!” — Chuck Hagel, upon returning from Baghdad

“At long last, the fragile state of Somalia seems to be slowly resurfacing from a searing bout of violence and humanitarian crisis. Interestingly, the light at the end of this decades-long tunnel is not burning at the behest of the United States or the United Nations; rather, it burns because Somali leaders, both within the government and without, have banded together. Frustrated by failed foreign interventions, they are now seeking sustainable Somali-based solutions. The key to success, going forward, is to keep it Somali-led. Further intervention from neighboring Ethiopia or the United States will be ruinous.” — Michael Shank, Communications Director, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, Senior Analyst at Foreign Policy In Focus

Subject: Real “Change” in Iraq

Many people think the U.S. occupation of Iraq has become a non-issue, for two reasons . . .

1. Violence is down
2. The U.S. government signed an agreement with the Iraqi government to continue the occupation

We feel differently. We think the occupation is still an issue, because . . .

* American soldiers continue to die
* The factions in Iraq haven’t reached a settlement, and have no incentive to do so as long as we remain there
* Somalia and Lebanon show that stable societies are grown from within, not engineered from without
* The “agreement” to continue the occupation was signed by a U.S. government that has now been repudiated
* The public legitimacy of the Iraqi government is also highly questionable
* The dollars being spent in Iraq belong in the pockets of struggling U.S. taxpayers

This is why we think the occupation is still an issue. We still want the occupation to end. We want change.

Barack Obama won election by promising change. He distinguished himself from Hillary Clinton and John McCain by having always opposed the Iraq invasion, and by promising to leave Iraq sooner rather than later. Iraq was a key issue to millions of Obama voters. Will they get the change they sought? Consider these points . . .

* Pro-war Congressman Rahm Emmanuel will be Obama’s Chief of Staff
* Pro-war Senator Clinton may become his Secretary of State
* Robert Gates, who favors an indefinite occupation, may remain as Secretary of Defense

With top advisers like these, who needs neo-con bogeymen? Perhaps in DC-speak, “change” means “let’s fool the yokels who think elections matter, and give them more of the same.”

Are we being too harsh on Obama too soon? We think not. We think our skepticism is justified. Remember . . .

We now know that George W. Bush was already scheming to invade Iraq when he promised us a “humble foreign policy,” and “no nation-building.” He also stocked his cabinet with aggressive interventionists, just like Obama has started to do.

This is how politicians behave. They promise one thing and do another. Obama is a politician, therefore . . .

We assume the worst.

And remember, Senator Obama voted to “legalize” warrantless spying. This, all by itself, is enough to justify extreme skepticism about our incoming president, no matter how much we may like him as a person.

If we want real change we’re going to have to demand it, constantly. Eternal vigilance!

The main argument for the occupation has been, “We broke it, so we must fix it.” But what if the Iraqi people don’t want us to “fix” them? What if they don’t want us there?

We think Congress should pass a resolution asking the Iraqi government to hold a public referendum on the U.S. occupation. This resolution would . . . 

* Show respect to the Iraqi people
* Potentially legitimize the occupation, or end it
* Tell the President-elect that the American people still want what he promised — to leave Iraq

If you don’t buy the argument that Iraq has become a non-issue, and you do buy our argument that the Iraqi people must . . .

A. Settle their own differences
B. Be allowed to say yes or no to the U.S. occupation

And if you want to . . .

* Save American lives
* Save your tax dollars

Then . . .

Please tell Congress to pass a resolution requesting an Iraqi referendum on the occupation. You can do so using our quick-and-easy Educate the Powerful System.

Please also . . .

* Forward this message to others or re-post it on your own blog
* Digg this message on our blog.

Thank you for being part of our growing Downsize DC army.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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