Why Did the US Test an Outdated Bomb in Mountains of Afghanistan?

The U.S. Military, apparently eager to test a huge out-dated bomb – anacronym “MOAB” for “Mother Of All Bombs” – dropped one for the first time in the sparsely populated mountains of Afghanistan this week.

The goal was apparently to fulfill Trump’s earlier campaign promise to ~”Bomb the hell out of ISIS.”

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Was it the promise or was it the SOFA?

On Friday, October 21, 2011, Mr. Obama, invoking one of his campaign promises, announced the complete withdrawal of all U.S. Troops from Iraq by "the [Christian] holidays." Over the weekend, he and his media arm further spun the story, claiming the deadline had been negotiated by G.W. Bush.

Behind the scenes — later paragraphs — we discover that the Pentagon wanted to keep at least 3,000 to 5,000 troops on Iraqi soil. The true number was significantly larger. But they’re all leaving. Why?

It was almost certainly the S.O.F.A., the acronym for "Status Of Forces Agreement."

Obama’s announcement signals that US officials have been unable to negotiate with Iraq’s leaders a renewal of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) governing the stationing and mission of American troops on Iraqi soil. Pentagon officials in particular, backed by a number of congressional leaders, had called for leaving a force of between 3,000 and 5,000 in Iraq for an extended period. –Iraq withdrawal: With US troops set to exit, 9-year war draws to close – CSMonitor.com

A key provision of any SOFA is exempting occupying soldiers from the laws of the country being occupied. It was this provision that Iraqi negotiators refused to renew. Thus, for example, once the old SOFA expired, U.S. soldiers who killed an Iraqi could be tried for murder under Iraqi law.

The Iraqis, it seems, found the back door to get rid of occupying U.S. troops.

This would likely work in other countries as well.

But that still leaves the drones.

Kevin Drum, Perpetual Skeptic

Kevin Drum, Oct. 17, 2011:

Aside from the fact that Barack Obama did not, in fact, send troops to Uganda in order to “kill Christians,” what should we think about the fact that he sent troops to Uganda in the first place? Needless to say, I’m far more hesitant about sending U.S. troops anywhere than I was a decade ago….

… I’m pretty much OK with this operation.

Kevin Drum, April 1, 2011:

So what should I think about this? If it had been my call, I wouldn’t have gone into Libya. But the reason I voted for Obama in 2008 is because I trust his judgment. And not in any merely abstract way, either: I mean that if he and I were in a room and disagreed about some issue on which I had any doubt at all, I’d literally trust his judgment over my own. I think he’s smarter than me, better informed, better able to understand the consequences of his actions, and more farsighted. I voted for him because I trust his judgment, and I still do.

Kevin Drum, Feb. 21, 2003:

As much as I’m unhappy about how the Bush administration has mishandled everything, backing out now could have disastrous consequences. And so we liberal hawks hold our noses and hope for the best.

Kevin Drum, Feb. 9, 2003:

I’ve gotten a lot of email critical of my post on Thursday suggesting that Colin Powell had indeed made a strong case in his UN speech. This administration has lied about everything, they ask, so how can you be so credulous as to believe their latest dog and pony show? …

… I am sympathetic to the idea that George Bush has shown himself to be so hamhanded in foreign affairs that there’s little likelihood of success as long as he’s in power. And yet, what’s the alternative? We need to try, and I’m inclined — barely — to give him a chance. Something has to kick start the Middle East into the 21st century, and I don’t see anyone else willing or able to do it. …

So that’s it. I have tremendous misgivings about this war….

Kevin Drum, Feb. 6, 2003:

I am sympathetic to the notion that administrations lie a lot on the subject of war, and I’m certainly sympathetic to the idea that this particular administration routinely lies about anything they think they can get away with. And yet….that leaves us with a problem, doesn’t it? If, a priori, nothing the administration says is believable, then opposition to war simply becomes a religious doctrine. After all, no one else is going to try and make the case.

 

One Hundred Peace and Social Justice Groups Call Upon Members of Congress to Oppose War Funding

From United for Peace and Justice, Code Pink and the Progressive Democrats of America:

More than one hundred national and grassroots organization have signed on to a letter to the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) calling for a vote against the FY 2012 Defense Appropriations bill, slated to come before the House this week. The letter raises grave concerns that the bill not only allocates $648.7 billion for continued operations of the Pentagon, but $118 billion to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Noting that the Obama Administration seems determined to continue the war in Afghanistan, the letter also urged CPC members to back an anticipated Lee/Woolsey/Nadler amendment to limit funding for Afghanistan to the rapid and safe withdrawal of all US troops from that country.

The letter states in part, “With an economy teetering at the edge, and an exorbitantly expensive, protracted military engagement in Afghanistan, Congress is again asked to appropriate more war funding.” It notes that a decade of military expenditures has accomplished little, while people in the U.S. have grown poorer and tired of hearing that there is not enough money for schools, jobs, health care or housing – but always enough for wars.

The letter notes that the US Conference of Mayors overwhelmingly passed a resolution to end the wars and bring the money home, amplifying the voices of their constituents. It asks the CPC to send a strong signal that they are unwilling to accept the continuation of a failed policy, and are determined to move the country towards a peaceful solution in Afghanistan.

It further calls on Congress “to exercise its Constitutional role of overseeing expenditures on behalf of its constituents,” and promises to support the CPC in efforts to redirect national spending priorities away from militarism and towards domestic needs.

The organizations backing this letter are calling upon their members to contact all members of Congress now, urging them to oppose continued funding for the Afghanistan War and to vote against the 2012 Defense Appropriations bill totaling $648.7 billion.

Many of the national groups signing the letter are members of United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), the largest anti-war network in the US. This project was initiated under the auspices of United for Peace and Justice by Progressive Democrats of America and CODEPINK. Other national organizations include Military Families Speak Out, US Labor Against the War, American Friends Service Committee, USAction, Veterans for Peace, National Priorities Project, Pax Christi USA. Full text of letter with signatures here.