News Release

Clinton and Obama Supporting Scaled-Down Occupation in Iraq

JOSHUA HOLLAND
Holland just wrote the piece “Obama and Hillary Spin a ‘Big Lie’ About Iraq,” which states: “On the campaign trail, the two candidates often speak of bringing the troops home and ending the war, and Democratic primary voters, 80 percent of whom want U.S. troops out of Iraq within 12 months, reward them with boisterous applause. … Both Clinton and Obama have been very clear — in the fine print — about the fact that they will leave a significant number of ‘residual forces’ in Iraq, albeit with a more limited mission than the Bush administration has pursued.”

Holland told the Institute for Public Accuracy today: “For example, Obama has played this trick of calling for the removal of all ‘combat troops’ in 16 months; what the campaign doesn’t highlight is that it plans to leave ‘non-combat troops,’ but the idea of ‘non-combat’ troops in Iraq makes no sense. Also, the campaign is backing off of the 16 months pledge: ‘Obama Advisor: 60,000 Troops Should Stay In Iraq Through 2010.'”

JEREMY SCAHILL
Author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, Scahill said today: “All three of the major U.S. candidates for president have Iraq plans that would continue the occupation for the foreseeable future. McCain clearly would continue the Bush policy, but both Obama and Clinton have plans that would maintain some of the largest encampments of the occupation — the Green Zone, the monstrous U.S. embassy, U.S. control of the Baghdad airport. Additionally, the Democratic candidates speak of maintaining a U.S. ‘strike force’ in Iraq and surrounding countries. In all, this could mean as many as 60,000-80,000 troops in Iraq for many years to come. On top of this, both Democrats have plans that would maintain a massive force of so-called ‘private contractors’ to support their Iraq policy. They are misleading their supporters when they passionately denounce the war and profess to support bringing it to an end. At best, what Obama or Clinton are offering is a scaled-down occupation — but still a sizable one — re-branded as a different mission.

“For the first time in 14 years, weapons manufacturers are donating more to Democrats than to Republicans. The Dems have received 52 percent of the military industry’s political donations in this election cycle — up from a low of 32 percent in 1996. There is a reason for this: it is good business policy.” See: “Blackwater Seeps Into the Campaign.”

“Meanwhile, the Bush administration has extended Blackwater’s Iraq contract for yet another year. This is hardly a surprise and shows just how morally bankrupt the outsourcing of Washington’s war — and the de facto immunity offered to the shadow army — has been from day one.

“Instead of holding this force accountable for its alleged crimes, the White House continues to reward Blackwater with lucrative contracts. The White House says Blackwater is necessary to protect U.S. officials. When will we hear any concern for the protection of Iraqi civilians who have consistently been wounded or killed by these forces over the past five years?” See: “Contract Justice: An Iraqi Translator Gets Prosecuted While Blackwater Gets Another Year in Iraq.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020 or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167