Obama-kins and McCain-a-crats 28 February 2008Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC, U.S. Senate, WAR!.
LOL… that is what Rove is calling ‘em.
We have heard recently about the Obama-kins, the Republicans for Obama. And I would like to point out the McCain-a-crats, the Democrats who are for McCain, outnumber the Republicans for Obama by almost a two to one margin. [well, that is Rove, the oddest looking cheerleader ever born… — Mcat]
I am sticking with NoneOfTheAbove.
Scahill was on Democracy NOW! on endless war under either Obama or HIllary…
JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I started looking at Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s Iraq plans, and one of the things that I discovered is that both of them intend to keep the Green Zone intact. Both of them intend to keep the current US embassy project, which is slated to be the largest embassy in the history of the world. I mean, I think it’s 500 CIA operatives alone, a thousand personnel. And they’re also going to keep open the Baghdad airport indefinitely. And what that means is that even though the rhetoric of withdrawal is everywhere in the Democratic campaign, we’re talking about a pretty substantial level of US forces and personnel remaining in Iraq indefinitely.
In the case of Barack Obama, I wanted to focus in on what his position is on private military contractors, particularly armed ones like those that work for Blackwater. And the reason I focus on Obama instead of Hillary on this is because Barack Obama has actually been at the forefront of addressing the mercenary issue in the Congress. In February of 2007—this was way before the Nisour Square massacre, where Blackwater forces killed seventeen Iraqis and wounded twenty others—in February of 2007, Barack Obama sponsored legislation in the Senate that sought to expand US law so that—
JUAN GONZALEZ: This is just after he got into the Senate, right?
JEREMY SCAHILL: This was in 2007. This was a year ago. And so, this was a major piece of legislation by Obama, and it was done in concert with Representative David Price from North Carolina in the House, a Democrat. And Obama’s legislation basically said we realize that there are loopholes in the law that allow Blackwater and other contractors to essentially get away with murder, and so what we need to do is make it so that US law applies to not only Defense Department contractors, but State Department contractors like Blackwater. If they murder someone in Iraq, we can prosecute them back in the United States.
Now, that legislation hasn’t passed at this point, and it may never pass. I mean, the fact is that the Bush administration actually issued a statement opposing that legislation, and I want to read to you what Bush said. He said that law would have, quote, “intolerable consequences for crucial and necessary national security activities and operations.”
And so, I started to look at this reality. Obama is saying he wants to keep the embassy. Obama is saying he wants to keep the Green Zone. Obama is saying he wants to keep the Baghdad airport. Who’s guarding US diplomats right now at this largest embassy in the history of the world? Well, it’s Blackwater, Triple Canopy and DynCorp; it’s these private security companies.
And so, I started talking to some of the Obama campaign people. And it really took days for them to actually get back to me and provide someone to talk to me on the record. I started doing interviews with some of his people, and they said, “We can’t answer these questions.” And so, finally I talked to a senior foreign policy person, who said, yes, the reality is that we can’t rule out, we won’t rule out, using private security forces.
And I said, well, Senator Obama has identified them as unaccountable, and the reality is, his law may not pass before he takes office, if he wins, and so Obama could potentially be using forces that he himself has identified as both unaccountable and above the law. Long pause. Right.
And so, the situation right now is that Obama seems to have painted himself into a corner on this issue, because the reality is, Obama’s people are saying, well, we’re going to increase funding to the State Department’s Diplomatic Security division. They say, ideally, the people we want to be guarding US diplomats in Iraq will be fully burdened US government employees who are accountable to US law.
But the irony right now is that the war machine is so radically privatized that there are about 1,100 mercenaries doing diplomatic security in Iraq right now. There are only 1,400 diplomatic security agents in the entire world, and only thirty-six of them are in Iraq.
And why are they so tender on the subject?, slow or unable to answer?
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, let me ask you, in terms of this whole issue of mercenaries in general, I mean, are we facing the possibility that a Democratic president would in essence reduce the troops but increase the mercenaries?
JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, Juan, this is a great question, and it was one of the reasons why I started looking at this. I want to read you a quote here. Joseph Schmitz, who’s one of the leading executives in the Blackwater empire, recently said this:
“There is a scenario where we could as a government, the United States, could pull back the military footprint, and there would then be more of a need for private contractors to go in.”
So apparently these contractors see a silver lining in that scenario. You know, the reality is, right now, that these forces are one of the most significant threats to Iraqis in the country. I mean, we’ve seen scores of incidents where they’ve shot at them, etc.
But as you know, Juan, this is a bipartisan industry. I mean, Bill Clinton really gave rise to this phenomenon of the military contractors. We know that Dick Cheney was running Halliburton in the ’90s. Who was giving Dick Cheney all of those contracts? Well, it was Bill Clinton. And the Democrats have long been good for the war contracting industry. There’s a reason why Hillary Clinton is the number one recipient of campaign contributions from the defense industry. Number two is John McCain. Obama is number four. Chris Dodd is ahead of him. It’s very interesting. It’s a bipartisan phenomenon.
As the race narrows, the funnel of MIC cash to Hillary and Dodd will shift to Obama…
Just have to chuckle. Doesn’t that just REEK of ”new politics”, so drastically different from [gasp! horror! panic! eye roll!] ”old politics”? The hard core, real politik truth of it all?
A last dribble on, as Owen Paine at SMBIVA calls her, the glamghoul:
JUAN GONZALEZ: I wanted to ask you specifically about this whole question of the increase in troops, because when I asked Samantha Power, as his foreign policy adviser, about this issue, she talked about the US military being stretched and the need for even in peacekeeping to have what she called “boots on the ground” and that weren’t sufficient. But the reality is obviously that there are many American troops in other parts of the world, like South Korea, like Japan, like, to some degree, Europe, that are not being—not—doing nothing else except occupying those countries, and they could be redeployed if the Army needed more troops.
JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. I mean, what that indicates, I think, is that Obama is going to have an interventionist, expansionist foreign policy. I mean, that certainly was the policy of the Clinton administration. I mean, in fairness, though, Barack Obama, more than Hillary Clinton and certainly more than John McCain, who’s talking about having troops in Iraq for a hundred years, Obama is talking about trying to increase the UN presence in Iraq. He’s trying to bring in regional countries. I mean, he has a pretty serious diplomatic plan for Iraq. The problem is that it doesn’t cancel out his military plan.
On the case of the increase in troops, what Obama’s people told me is that we need these 90,000 troops desperately, because our troops need a rest. Some of them are serving three, four tours over in Iraq, and so we need to get them in there. But the reality is, you don’t get 90,000 troops and then be able to deploy them overnight. So, clearly, they’re thinking about this for years and years to come. I think the reality is that neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton are actually going to be in the business of permanently ending the US occupation of Iraq. That’s a deadly serious issue, and it needs to be front and center on this campaign.
GOOD LUCK! Countries want out of Afghanistan. Meanwhile we are bitching that countries serving in Afghanistan with different rules of engagement [no combat] are not really doing their part. This cute idea that countries will “help” us with Iraq (I laughed out loud at Samantha, on last week with Charlie Rose, chiding the Europeans for “not caring about the fate of the Iraqis”… Christ on a bayonet!, does the bitch for war HEAR herself?) is just campaign blither/come hither. They, all those countries we think should join us, did not want to assist a possible Kerry as president with the same baseless (in reality) come hither, shoveled out to the American people.
Poor America, always the victim: No one wants to help us, in our greatness, our goodness, our bounty that we offer freely to the world.
Is that the ultimate whine or what! Because you know it’s coming down the pike, in a couple of years…. No matter which politics is operational, old, new or just plain old / new bullshite.