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Juan Cole Is Confident of Troop Withdrawal

By davidswanson - Posted on 14 May 2010

His math to get it down to 50,000 by the end of August doesn't quite work, especially if the withdrawal is delayed in June but even if it isn't, but Juan Cole is confident that the withdrawal will hit that target, as well as the December 2011 deadline, and that while the withdrawal will not be complete, it'll be complete enough for him. He also sees massive and expensive bases (and presumably the so-called embassy) as no deterrent to or indication of unlikelihood of complete departure. I hope he's right.


Quote: "WaPo says that the Obama administration is still on track to draw down to 50,000 troops in Iraq by September 1, despite press speculation to the contrary in the past couple of days. There are now roughly 92,000 – 94,000 US troops in that country, down from 160,000 when President Obama was first elected. Another 5,000 are expected to come out in May, and the pace will pick up to 10,000 a month this summer".

Just because the WaPo says this does not mean that it's really proven, or does it? And what about the replacement of withdrawn troops with mercenary contractors, the Blackwater sorts?

In any case, what's the proof for these numbers?

I'll quote from the Wa. Post article.

"BAGHDAD -- The U.S. military is on track to draw down to 50,000 troops in Iraq by the end of the summer, but it now faces the long-dreaded prospect that its exit could coincide with a power vacuum similar to the one that drove the country to civil war in 2006. "

The civil war in 2006 actually was not a civil war. Western corporate media reported it as civil war, but the US used "Salvador Option" kind of black ops tactics and death squads of Iraqi or some Iraqi forces. It was not a real civil war and I believe a lot of western media called it a civil war in a sectarian sense. That did not really happen, anywhere as much as western media reported, for the sectarian warfare was mostly not by Iraqi Resistance and the Mehdi or Mahdi Army. And Al Qaeda in Iraq has really just been a US invention. Heck, the US has killed and resurrected, repeatedly, the same alleged Al Qaeda in Iraq leader several times. Getting the identify wrong once is one thing, but several times? No way.

And several of the alleged hiackers on 9/11 did not do this and the US knows that even the BBC reported about these persons being provably alive since 9/11, but the FBI still hasn't corrected the list of alleged so-called hijackers.

The "Salvador Option and Death Squads" index that I have mentioned in posts here a number of times and which is at is reading to really do; not all of the articles, but certainly a good sampling.

There people can be reminded of the fact that UK SAS or Special Forces soldiers were caught dressed as Arabs and driving a car loaded with explosives and guns into Basra, and I think this was in Sept. 2006. One of the two shot a Basra Iraqi police officer in the face and the two British goons were jailed there, but the UK freed these undercover UK terrorists working for the UK gov't driving a tank, I believe, into the Basra police jail.

There's a lot more to know about "Salvador Option" and death squads in Iraq and very much all part of US-controlled black ops.

Cole's next three paragraphs strike me as only speculation. And that's what much or most of the Wa. Post article is like; a lot of speculation, as well as deja-vu, repeated nonsense.

But Cole also says, "But there are no such things as permanent bases. You build a base when you need a base, when you are in control or have a willing host".

NOT TRUE! And his argument is bs, certainly not anti-imperialist, anti-neo-colonlialist, etcetera.

The huge Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo is a very permanent base that the US has NO right to have, and the criminal, thug, drug-running, ... KLA gov't criminally placed in power by the US-led forces, and the criminally complicit UN or UNSC, has no moral or legal right to host the US there. It's wholly criminal. Kosovo was criminally, imperialistically, ... separated and made so-called independent against the UN Charter and international laws, as well as against the US Constitution. It was a totally criminal war of aggression that the US committed and lead there, so it's a totally illegitimate independence and the KLA crime-gang gov't has no right to be ethically considered as host of the USA.

And Camp Bondstell is only one of hundreds of permanent US bases the US really has no right to maintain, but does anyway. The same is true of Guantanamo, Cuba. Fidel Castro has demanded plenty of times for the US to get out of Cuba, which Guantanamo belongs to, but the US elites continuously refuse to comply.

Some or many European countries have majorities that want the US bases there terminated and for the US to remove its military forces, but I guess democratic will of populations is insignificant to Juan Cole. The US bases in Japan are not wanted by the local populations, but the US refuses to abandon these bases and LEAVE.

And US soldiers have immunity where the US has bases outside of US territory, and this immunity for crimes committed by US military personnel perhaps isn't true in European or Western European countries, but there have been plenty of reports about troops committing violent acts against local populations where the US has bases and the troops are protected with this criminal and despotic, ... immunity.

Diego Garcia is a very well known example of a criminally established and maintained permanent US military base, and there have been relatively few exceptions to this approach of the US. The people of Diego Garcia were forcibly removed, quite brutally, and they've long wanted to return and get their country back, but the US refuses. It has no host country there, but refuses to get out and let the people return. Juan Cole would call this a host country?

The US, during the Bush-Cheney years got permission to establish a base in, I believe, Uzbekistan, but got the boot from the President there, too. I think that was Uzbekistan, or maybe Ukraine.

And just because despotic gov'ts say it's okay for the US to remain when the populations are against this doesn't mean that the US is really invited or hosted by the country. Being hosted by a despot, tyrant, ... doesn't constitute a legitimate host-parasite condition or agreement, but the parasite part is true, that is, real.

The democratic will of populations evidently don't mean much to Cole.

The second page of the Wa. Post article that Juan Cole links to in his opening paragraph begins with the following paragraph.

"U.S. officials said they hope to keep about 50,000 troops in Iraq until at least next spring and perhaps longer, saying they could conceivably compress the rest of the drawdown to the final four or five months of 2011. When troop levels drop to 50,000, the civilian contractor-to-soldier ratio is expected to increase as contractors take on more duties now performed by troops. The military expects it will have 75,000 contractors employed in Iraq by the end of the summer doing everything from base security to advanced weapons training. "

That's basically 125,000 US military personnel, just that the contractors are not "officially" members of the US military, they don't all fall under US military law, and they can and often are used for black covert ops, contrary to most US military force members, with some exceptions; like US Special Forces, or some such name, I've read about, f.e. The contractors are often foreigners and not US citizens, but this probably makes using the foreign ones as mercenaries politically easier and safer for the US leadership. Their use is probably, I guess, easier to keep hidden from the US population. And this could make use of foreign mercenaries potentially much more dangerous for Iraqis.

People I believe to be respectable analysts said months, or longer ago, that if the US does withdraw significant numbers of troops, then the number of mercenary contractors will increase by a lot. One or more of those writers also said that with the training and experience the mercenary contractors have, compared to US soldiers, it takes considerably fewer of the contractors for them to be able to "handle" as much or more than the soldiers would be able to do. And that'd be even more strongly true when the mercenary contractors have so-called immunity the soldiers at least officially don't have.

Iow, a nominally significant reduction in the number of US soldiers replaced with a much smaller number of mercenary contractors could make the situation worse for Iraqis, f.e., than if the soldiers were not withdrawn.

Based on the whole Wa. Post article, it doesn't sound like we should be expecting much for [real] US withdrawal for quite a long time. Getting a significant withdrawal of soldiers while they're replaced with much more experienced mercenaries doesn't present a positive withdrawal to my mind.

If the soldiers withdrawn were all returned to the US, then it'd be great for them, but I don't perceive a really improving reality for Iraqis. And the war on Afghanistan must be stopped and should have never been committed.

He talks about people surely being wrong about US troops being, in part, at least, maintained in Iraq to help Exxon Mobil, f.e, develop and protect the oil operations there, and I agree woth what he says in this specific regard.

Quote: "I very much doubt that any remaining troops, and their numbers will likely be tiny, would be detailed to provide security for Exxon Mobil in developing the oil fields of south Iraq. If the local Iraqis don’t want the oil majors operating there, they can easily sabotage them, and no number of US troops would likely be able to stop the sabotage. (The northern pipeline from Kirkuk to the Turkish coast of the Mediterranean has been routinely sabotaged all the time the US has been in Iraq and the US military has never seemed able to do much about it)".

I don't know where he got that idea from, for it's not what've read from serious analysts about the war on Iraq being very much for its oil reserves.

The point is not development of the oil operations. Instead, it's a matter of control over the volume of exports.

He certainly is not persuasive about the US not planning to apply a lot of political control over exports and that's what most serious analysts who said the war was very much for Iraq's oil often or usually wrote and spoke about. As they said, western Big Oil would more likely want to strategically control oil exports from Iraq's reserves in order to be able to control, i.e, manipulate, market prices.

It's pricing based on supply and demand and most people know about this market "magic" trick. Keep supply low, instead of abundant, and the prices can be kept higher. If oil was abundantly produced and exported to world markets from Iraq's reserves, then market oil prices would drastically decline, and the Big Oil majors, those of the US, anyway, would not want this to happen. And that's surely true of financial elites.

Therefore, the serious analysts haven't spoken or written about US troops to be used to protect Iraq oil development. Instead, it's about control and letting the oil operations seriously develop and oil be exported in large volumes would make a lot of the west's ruling elites very unhappy, today.

And this control over exports doesn't mean that the US would need to prevent Iraqis developing oil production themselves. Their poverty alone due to this war would surely make it difficult to pay for the eqipment and tools needed to develop oil production. But even if that wasn't true, then the US could let Iraqis develop their oil production while keeping exports limited as much as the US elites wanted.

The control over exports is politically exercisable. Iraqis don't have the means to perform the export, shipping, so it would not be difficult for the US to politically keep the export volumes down, plenty.

And if the Iraqis became seriously restless, say, because of this imperialistic, etcetera, strong-arming by the US and Iraqi fighting Resistance rose, then the US is going to have MANY mercenary contractors and they're much more experienced than most young soldiers are.

Plus, who knows what other foreign forces will also be there? I read early this year or else last year that while former PM Jean Chretien of Canada officially didn't accept to send the CAF to the war on Iraq, he had sent some Canadian military commanders there to "help" the US with directing the war, which is something I had learned about back in 2003 or 2004; but this recent article added that JTF2 special force(s) of the Cdn military had been secretly sent to Iraq. It's something the public was not supposed to know about and this is probably why we never heard a peep from the Bush-Cheney administration about this, since they surely knew about it.

Quote: "Formed in 1993, Joint Task Force 2 (JTF 2) (French: Deuxième Force opérationnelle interarmées; FOI 2), is an elite Canadian Special Forces unit responsible for counter-terrorist operations. Subordinate to the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, it comprises approximately 600 members. The Government of Canada has historically been very secretive about releasing any information relating to JTF2's capabilities, organization and operational missions. ..."

Furtheron and under the subheading of "Iraq 2006", the page says, "On Thursday, 23 March 2006, The Pentagon and the British Foreign Office both commented on the instrumental role JTF2 played in rescuing the British and Canadian Christian Peacemaker Team that were being held hostage in Iraq. But implication of JTF2 was unconfirmed by Canadian officials.[5]"

Some articles that a Web search just provided links to:

"Ex-JTF2 commander takes leading role in Iraq
A former commander of the Ottawa-based Joint Task Force 2 counter-terrorism unit is in Iraq helping U.S. forces and preparing to co-ordinate coalition units in the war-torn country"

by Ottawa Citizen, Jan 18, 2008

The following excerpted post seems to be from a JTF2 soldier and he's replying to someone named Claymore and who asked, "Canada still has troops in Iraq? ...".

The reply reads:

"Some of our boys wind up there on exchange programs, and JTF2 was deployed there a year or two ago for a hostage rescue. Of course we're in Iraq, just not "officially". And I'm quite certain JTF2 has done more then just hostage rescue.(Recommended read for you, one such as yourself might like JTF2).
We're not cowards at all. We're deployed in Kandahar Afghanistan, one of the most dangerous areas in the world. We've lost 100 troops there in total - percapita pretty darn bad when you compare our troop commitments and the fact we're not in Iraq on a large scale (small scale, like I said, but we don't have like a batallian there or anything). And our mission actually has lots of support, about 50/50, which is a good amount more then Iraq has in your own country. ..."

That's excerpted from the following page.

The following article likely enough the one I first referred to about the JTF2 having served in the present Iraq War, secretly.

"The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy
Review of Yves Engler's Book"

by Tamara Lorincz, Z Mag., Feb 16, 2010, orig. Feb 1st

EXCERPT: "He also condemns Canada's military transformation to war fighting and its integration with the U.S. military. He specifically cites the deployment of Canadian warships with the U.S. fleet in the Persian Gulf and the operation of Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) — a secretive special combat force that has no parliamentary oversight — alongside the U.S. Unknown to Canadians, JTF2 has operated in Indonesia, Iraq, Haiti, Colombia, and Afghanistan (as an undeclared asset)".

Other articles I came across about JTF2 don't specify if they secretly operated in Iraq, but all emphasize that it's very secretly in many places and one place was in Kosovo, and regarding that case, then Cdn PM Chretien was drilled by a Conservative Party leader about this and Chretien denied their presence there and said he refused to talk more about this. It's been well confirmed that they did carry out operations there, according to Scott Taylor, who is formerly a CAF soldier and began what became Canada's top military magazine, Esprit de Corps,, where a couple of books that he provides short descriptions for speak about the highly specialized force that JTF2 is.

Given that the Canadian gov't always denied having sent any CAF ground forces to serve in the war on Iraq, maybe the above excerpt from the forum at is from a JTF2 soldier, but perhaps he wouldn't have been able to know the exact number of JTF2 soldiers in Iraq.

In any case, there were some and they're highly specialized, compared to the top special forces of the US and UK, f.e., and they're specialties including hunting down "targets" and killing them. They're much more capable than regular soldiers are.

And I don't know if it was ever officially denied by the UK gov't, but the British SAS were active in Iraq, also. Maybe Australia's special force, whatever it's called, was also active in Iraq.

So, add such specialized-for-killing military forces which or at least some of which officially aren't present in Iraq to the thousands of mercenary contractors, who are also much more capable than most soldiers are, and the picture of withdrawing regular US troops from Iraq doesn't impress me much. Not yet, anyway.

And does the real mumber for withdrawal of regular US soldiers even really match with what the Wa. Post article that Juan Cole linked to say? How are figures reported by corporate news media confirmed to be accurate?

In any case, 50,000 regular soldiers plus 75,000 expert mercenary contractors is many to have in Iraq when we're supposed to be speaking of withdrawal.

What other countries have forces in Iraq, and what are their numbers? And are the 75,000 mercenary contractors only represenative for those from the US, or the total of mercenary contractors, for there've been some from other countries as well? How could it be even really feasible to know answers with real confidence that they'd be accurate or right? Those from the US were paid $1,000 a day, but there were surely lower pay rates for foreign mercenaries from some countries these people were employed from, I believe. If they were from poor countries, then they were surely paid much less.

What confidence level can we really have and know it's accurate?

We never have had any proof that this so-called Al Qaeda in Iraq opposed to the US occupation, etcetera, really existed and everyone in the West who believes otherwise is based on what? Only words printed in corporate media, based on words of anti-Constitutional, war-making, ... criminal military commanders and politicians, which is a far cry from real proof.

However, we do have evidence of Salvador Option and Death Squads in Iraq during this war and these were not acts by Iraqi Resistance or civilians. There are plenty of articles for this through the index for this at, but I'll describe three events that came to mind.

I already mentioned the event in which two British SAS soldiers dressed as Arabs were caught driving a car loaded with explosives and guns into Basra, one shot an Iraqi police officer in the face, but the two were arrested and immediately jailed; after which UK forces drove what I believe was a tank into the jail to forcibly rescue these two extreme terrorist criminals, all with impunity. I think this was in Sept. 2006.

Checkpoint guards planting of bombs in cars and trucks:

I think it was Robert Fisk who had written an article about a farmer who was driving farm produce, mellons or watermelons, I believe to market with his truck and with his ten-year-old son or grandson accompanying him. When they got to a checkpoint, the farmer was told that he had to present himself at a police station next to the checkpoint, but the boy didn't have to do this. The boy, perhaps under order from the checkpoint guards, got out of the truck nevertheless and went and sat a little away, but while he could clearly see the truck.

He saw the guards plant an object or maybe more than one on the truck amongst the mellons. When the father returned, he and the boy got back in the truck, but as they drove away from the checkpoint after passing through, the boy told the father about what he saw the guards do. The farmer stopped and got out of the truck to check what had been planted by the guards and discovered it was one or more bombs.

The same sort of thing happened with an Iraqi taxi driver, or at least an Iraqi driving a car. He had to go through the same police station sort of clearance routine when he got to a checkpoint. This man was alone, but once he was cleared for passing through the checkpoint and was driving on his way to ... wherever, he noticed that the car seemed heavier than before, so he stopped to check the car.

Under the back seat were explosives and the door panels had also been filled with explosives.

Non-suicide "suicide car bombings":

Many so-called suicide car bombings were only car bombings. There were no bodies or pieces of bodies in these exploded vehicles.

I don't know if's "Salvador Option and Death Squads" index of plenty of articles has both or either of these two stories, just above, about checkpoint guards planting explosives in Iraqi civilian vehicles, but I read about these events in articles by people known to not make up such stories. And as the person or persons who reported that many of the so-called suicide car bombings said, many of these did not involve suicides at all and this would have been known by the US after the bombed vehicles were inspected. At least the people who removed the vehicles would have seen that there were no bodies or serious pieces of bodies in or near the vehicles, and since these non-suicide bombings happened plenty of times, the US would have certainly been informed of the lack of bodies and body parts even if it wasn't the US that inspected and/or removed the vehicles.

The Golden Mosque bombing:

There was a witness, the janitor, I believe, and the vicinity of this Mosque in Samara was under tight, thorough security, and it was clearly not a Sunni vs Shia Iraqi attack.

There's plenty more available at's index for learning about Salvador Option and death squads, and the death squads were all or mostly all of Iraqi gov't forces.


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