Wednesday, August 4, 2010
In a speech to disabled U.S. veterans in Atlanta on Monday, President Obama opined that “America’s combat mission in Iraq” would end by the end of August, to be replaced by a mission of “supporting and training Iraqi security forces.”
That statement was in line with his campaign promise made in 2007 and 2008, and the pledge he had made on Feb. 27, 2009, when he said, “Let me say this as plainly as I can: by Aug. 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.”
But nineteen months after taking office, Mr. Obama has quietly abandoned that pledge, admitting implicitly that such combat brigades would remain firmly in Iraq until at least the end of 2011. A far cry from campaign promises to redeploy the troops from Iraq beginning this month.
In language largely ignored by the mainstream media, in the sentence preceding that pledge, Obama said, “I have chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months.” Obama said nothing in his speech Monday about withdrawing “combat brigades” or “combat troops” from Iraq until the end of 2011.
An White House official who spoke on condition that his statements would be attributed to a “senior administration official” acknowledged that the 50,000 U.S. troops remaining in Iraq beyond the deadline will have the same combat capabilities as the combat brigades that have been withdrawn.
The official acknowledged that the troops will engage in some combat but suggested that the combat would be “mostly” for defensive purposes. Such language implies that there might be circumstances in which U.S. forces would carry out offensive operations as well.
Mr. Obama’s reversal of one of his key campaign promises and a high-profile pledge made early in his administration without explicit acknowledgment highlights the way in which language on national security policy can be manipulated for political benefit with the acquiescence of the news media.
By parsing the withdrawal date of combat troops by the Sept. 1 deadline in his Feb. 27, 2009 speech allows the president to satisfy his anti-war base on a unpopular national security policy issue while at the same time, allows Obama to back away from previous campaign promises on Iraq withdrawal dates.
In short, what we have is a liar in the White House. Can 2012 get here any sooner?
SOURCE: The Raw Story from IPS News