Orwell in charge? Kucinich compares Iraq ‘exit’ to Bush’s ‘Mission Accomplished’
Friday, August 20th, 2010
"Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today challenged the notion that removing ‘combat brigades’ but leaving 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq constitutes an end to combat operations, let alone an end to the war," a press release sent to RAW STORY on Thursday stated.
The press release continues:
“Who is in charge of our operations in Iraq, now? George Orwell? A war based on lies continues to be a war based on lies. Today, we have a war that is not a war, with combat troops who are not combat troops. In 2003, President Bush said ' Mission Accomplished ' . In 2010, the White House says combat operations are over in Iraq , but will leave 50,000 troops, many of whom will inevitably be involved in combat-related activities.
“Just seven days ago, General Babaker Shawkat Zebari, the commander of Iraq ’s military, said that Iraq ’s security forces will not be trained and ready to take over security for another 10 years. One story is being told to the military on the ground in Iraq and another story is being told to their families back home.
“You can’t be in and out at the same time.
“This is not the end of the war; this is simply a new stage in the campaign to lull the American people into accepting an open-ended presence in Iraq . This is not an honest accounting to the American people and it diminishes the role of the troops who will put their lives on the line. This is not fair to the troops, their families or the American people.
“The Administration and the Pentagon would be wise to level with the American people about our long-term commitment to Iraq .
“The cost of the wars has been estimated to be around $1 million per soldier per year. Each year the troop levels stay at 50,000 means another $50 billion is wasted. I object to spending billions of dollars to maintain a charade in Iraq while our own economy is failing and over 15 million Americans are out of work. I object to keeping any level troops in Iraq to maintain a war based on lies. It is time that Congress sees through the manipulation and finally acts to truly end the war by stopping its funding,” said Kucinich.
Kucinich's statement doesn't mention President Obama's name once, but the president also didn't don a military jumpsuit and fly a plane onto a carrier with a gigantic "Mission Accomplished" banner.
Many of the top liberal blogs who have criticized Obama the past year went silent on the Iraq "exit" coverage (perhaps some are on August vacation).
Aside from Kucinich, RAW STORY was only able to find a scathing editorial on the World Socialist Web Site:
The White House and the Pentagon, assisted by a servile media, have hyped Thursday’s exit of a single Stryker brigade from Iraq as the end of the “combat mission” in that country, echoing the ill-fated claim made by George W. Bush seven years ago.
Obama is more skillful in packaging false propaganda than Bush, and no doubt has learned something from the glaring mistakes of his predecessor. Bush landed on the deck of the US aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003 to proclaim—under a banner reading “Mission Accomplished”—that “major combat operations” in Iraq were over. A captive audience of naval enlisted personnel was assembled on deck as cheering extras.
Obama wisely did not fly to Kuwait to deliver a similar address from atop an armored vehicle. He merely issued a statement from the White House, while leaving the heavy lifting to the television networks and their “embedded” reporters, who accompanied the brigade across the border into Kuwait and repeated the propaganda line fashioned by the administration and the military brass.
Three years after former President George W. Bush declared "Mission Accomplished" on an aircraft carrier, MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann proceeded to mock the early propagandistic call by announcing each successive night on his Countdown show that it has been "one thousand and blank" days since the the war in Iraq "ended," RAW STORY noted yesterday.
Chances are, three years from now, even if US troops are still caught up in a quagmire in Iraq, Olbermann won't be doing a similar signoff schtick to mock the coverage that ran on NBC and MSNBC Wednesday evening.
At The New York Times Media Decoder blog,, Brian Stelter reported, "The combat mission in Iraq doesn’t officially end until Aug. 31 but viewers and readers could be forgiven for thinking it ended tonight."
In a broadcast that Brian Williams said constituted an “official Pentagon announcement,” NBC showed live pictures Wednesday night as members of the last combat brigade in Iraq drove toward the Kuwait border, symbolizing an end to fighting in the country.
“We are with the last combat troops” in Iraq, the NBC correspondent Richard Engel said at 6:30 p.m. Eastern, the same time that the military lifted an embargo that had been placed on the reporters traveling with the 440 troops, a part of the 4/2 Stryker Brigade.
The Associated Press, Fox News, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera and other news media outlets also reported Wednesday evening that the last combat troops were crossing into Kuwait. Only NBC broadcast it live, in asymmetrical image to the invasion that captured the nation’s attention on television seven years ago.
Coverage by most media outlets on the "last combat brigade" leaving Iraq paint an almost rosy picture with their headlines, which suggest that not only will the close to 60,000 troops left behind not be fighting anyone, but that there is no chance of any future surge.
"As the United States military prepares to leave Iraq by the end of 2011, the Obama administration is planning a remarkable civilian effort, buttressed by a small army of contractors, to fill the void," the New York Times reports.
However, the Associated Press and many liberal blogs instead chose to criticize Fox News for not covering the "exit" with the same gusto.
Perhaps another network could have covered the extensive coverage MSNBC was provided by the Pentagon instead.