Yes You Can, Obama!

Open Letter to Barack Obama, President of the USA

Dear Sir.

Congratulations on your victory. I can't say that I was one of your supporters (but since I'm Australian, I didn't actually vote against you!), but I do support your position on some social issues (right to abortion, no right for citizen-owned nukes because some 200-year-old goofball made a vague reference to "right to bear arms" and no-one for the last 200 years has had sufficient grasp of the English language to rewrite it less vaguely and to explain that you're allowed to use baseball bats, and knives, but no divine right to RPGs, swords, nukes or any other particular weapon, including but not limited to handguns). But I digress.

The main reason I couldn't support you was because of your opposition to the Iraq war. I understand why you would oppose going to Iraq, although I wouldn't say that I respect that position. However, regardless of anything else, you have just earned my respect, by meeting people like me halfway.

This is something that was sorely missing from the anti-war side. I was hoping to meet an anti-war person who said "Look, I oppose the war for xyz reason, but I can see that it's important to you, and as my countryman, I'm happy to help you achieve your goals at the expense of some dictator in the Middle East". In years and years of debate, I have yet to meet such a Democrat.

Then I read this.

"But 35,000 to 50,000 of the 142,000 troops now in Iraq will stay on into 2011 to advise Iraqi forces, target terror"

Even the low end of that is HEAPS. 35,000 troops for close to 3 years is truly wonderful. I would have been willing to have 200 special forces in fact. Or even zero (ie organize some Iraqi special forces to call in airstrikes). The main thing I wanted was those beautiful planes. What I was shit-scared of was a repeat of Vietnam where not even air support was supplied.

So, thankyou from the bottom of my heart for assisting the Iraqis, and assisting Republicans achieve their goals, even though it means you have had to give up some of your own personal goals. Quite frankly, if that isn't the sign of a true patriot, what is?

While I'm here, I know you have talked in the past about invading Pakistan. But before I start, let me tell you something. I work with the world as it is, not an imaginary one. As such, even though I would have liked Iran invaded next, since that is apparently off the table, I'm not going to bitch and moan when YOUR highest priority target (which I will almost certainly agree with also, even as a lower priority) is done next. I know Democrats are leery of going to war if it looks to others like the US might be getting some benefit from it (regardless of whether that is true or not by simply asking some of the supporters for their motives). However, they do support a war if it is both humanitarian and there's no obvious benefit for mysterious US multinational companies etc. That's "fine". I'll work within those limitations rather than pine for Utopia. As such, some obvious choices for liberation would be Zimbabwe, Somalia, DR Congo and Sudan.

But even better than that is the prospect of invading (it would also be a liberation for a minority) Pakistan. I really want to see those nukes collected, quite apart from the sideshow of terrorists running around in the Pakistani hills. Those nukes could do serious damage to India. India is an obnoxious, often anti-American and anti-humanity (think support for the USSR) country with a really crap hero, but it is at the end of the day peaceful and not much different from say France. These people are not actually enemies. Pakistan is. And much like criminals in the US aren't allowed to own handguns (thus apparently not a human right after all - rather a selective "right"), nor should Pakistan be allowed to own nukes. And in fact, given that Pakistan was created for no reason at all (India, despite its flaws, has always had a better political system than Pakistan so nothing was accomplished), the state should just be eliminated (and return to India, thus solving the territorial disputes too).

Pakistan will be a messy war (compared to Iraq where there was a large supply of supportive locals), so prepare lots of troops for a long war. There's going to be a lot of Pakistanis opposing the above. Take a look here for the scope of the problem. Moving more troops into Afghanistan is a great start for that objective. And despite any difficulties you may encounter there, changing the education system, closing down the child abuse centres (aka madrassas) and just as importantly this undescribable horror, at the end of the day, YES YOU CAN. While Iran is my preferred target (believed to be large supportive population, easy task, lets people explain the realities of theocracy), Pakistan is a high value target too. And needs to be done some time or another anyway.

After the parliament attacks in India, I had a debate with an Indian, who was miffed about having to hold back. I told him to wait until the Anglophones stop shooting before making his move, as he may find all his goals are accomplished without him having to do anything - which would only disrupt the strategy. Maybe now's the time for his main goal to be realised. Those nukes could be in your hands within your first term if you wanted. Without jeapordizing anything else. 50,000 troops in Iraq is peanuts. Similar numbers in Afghanistan. From here we can see Japan and Korea only have a small number. Germany and Kuwait too. And basically 90% of those troops could be pulled if required. Then there's the mass in the US. All thrown at Pakistan and the long pacification to allow reeducation. I know it's too much to hope that you would reeducate them all with Message 666. But if you just reeducate them with your own philosophy, that will be heaps better than what the madrassas are churning out.

Thankyou sir. And good luck with the rest of your presidency. I may not agree with the rest of it either (ie domestic economic policy), but it's unimportant compared to human rights and security, and you are doing great work there. Nothing wrong at all with boosting Afghan numbers and drawing down troops from Iraq. In fact, not just nothing wrong - that's what I would do too if those were the only theatres available. Obviously if I were in charge I would have redeployed the troops using Iran as a transit route, but nevermind. No-one should expect ALL of their personal agenda to be implemented immediately! You're doing good, sir. Real good. I was planning on writing a quite different letter, but before I got around to it, this BBC article came up and I'm full of joy, despite being immersed in the left-wing-o-sphere. FDR would be proud. God blesses you.





Those of you who don't use my blog as their sole source of news will know that provincial elections have just taken place in Iraq, with widespread participation (ie Sunnis didn't boycott this time).

However, as significant as that is, there's something even more significant. The Status of Forces Agreement entering the Iraqi conscience. To win this War on Terror in the long term (ie having a goal of it being unthinkable that anyone would even WANT to fly a plane into an American skyscraper - rather than just trying to physically prevent it) requires massive paradigm changes in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Fortunately, very fortunately, the Iraqis, despite literally decades of anti-American indoctrination, were willing to give the benefit of doubt to America that it came as a liberator and was not planning on stealing oil and raping women. However, getting them to embrace that concept was not an easy task, and hasn't even been fully accomplished - or even vast majority accomplished. It's tenuous. And it is the main reason why I want to see US forces vacate Iraq. Unless there are clear polls showing that 90% of Iraqis don't mind the US presence - and there aren't - the only way to transmit the concept to the Iraqis is to leave. You can stand by in Turkey ready to put down a coup, and you can send Iraqis to Europe etc for training, but the troops must leave. Every single one of them.

Hopefully then the "colonialist stealing oil" argument will disappear. Not from all of the remaining 50% of Iraqis, but hopefully another 20%, and that figure will increase as the decades roll by. Without direct education of basic scientific principles (such as requiring evidence of stolen oil before making such bold claims), it will take decades, or at least years, before freedom of speech and ordinary Iraqis talking to ordinary Americans, thanks to the universality of English, takes its toll on the Arab fantasy world. It'll probably require a generational change in fact. When Iraqis are living in a peaceful society, with 24 hour electricity - both things easily accomplished given reasonable time (like a decade) - children growing up will have zero interest in their parents "tall" tales about fighting insurgents with nothing but a butter knife.

But before we get to that stage, let's look at this next accomplishment. Here you will find a US soldier explaining a conceptual change that has occurred since the signing of the SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement), and let me quote some bits:

"I would tell you that the security agreement implementation on January 1st in our area was -- has just been phenomenal. The Iraqi security forces have embraced that, and we have embraced it as well. And it is a very positive step forward in our area, because it's -- the Iraqis now realize that they are, in fact, in charge, and they're taking charge. So it's -- I think those two events are the ones that I look back on over 14 months and categorize

But I think the -- what the security agreement has done here, obviously, is the requirement for a warrant of arrest, a requirement for combined operations with the Iraqis. It has been a significant step forward. And the Iraqi forces in the area have embraced that completely. And it is a positive step, and, frankly, it's one that my soldiers have embraced as well, and we're very glad to see the Iraqis grab onto that so firmly and take charge. It is a positive step forward.

When we conduct an operation in coordination and partnership with the Iraqis, if detainees are taken under warrants, they go immediately into Iraqi custody. And that is a change. And frankly, that's one that on the street is embraced by the local population as well, because they recognize that there is a warrant issue involved here and it is an application of the rule of law. So that's been positive and one we've -- that frankly, as a brigade commander, I've been very pleased to see."

This is the sort of thing I was expecting, or at least, hoping for from the Iraqi side. Since I'm inside the Anglophone culture I know what the Anglophones are thinking. They dislike being seen as conquerors and want the Iraqis to take responsibility for all decisions so that they (Americans) don't get blamed in the future. So the question goes out "what do you want?" (a question that is normally never asked of people like this) and "would you like us to arrest this guy which we have intelligence on?". The US, despite being a superpower, far from throwing its weight around, humbly lines up with cap in hand, the required evidence, and asks an Iraqi judge for permission. It is actually a beautiful sight, and things like that make me have faith in humanity, even when other things make me despair.

People from the Middle East do not have a concept of the powerful being humble and asking permission from someone weaker than them and respecting their point of view. In their culture, it's humiliating having to go cap in hand to a weaker party.

So similar to the lion who thinks it is king of the jungle irrespective of that strangely-walking chimpanzee carrying a strange-looking stick that makes a strange sound sometimes - the Iraqis are proud that they are in charge. Which, similar to the chimpanzee running away from a lion to avoid unnecessary and illegal killing of a protected species, they really are in control. In both cases the truly powerful has the physical capability to do whatever it wants, but it truly doesn't want conflict. It wants friendship. Humans are social animals at the end of the day.

And if the US has the ability to impart the concept that it came as a liberator (you really need to watch that video!), not a conqueror, and leaves as a friend, not an enemy, then we're well on the way to winning the war. And let me make it clear. It's not just about winning a war. Even if there was no threat from any dictator ever, we want people to be free, and we want to be friends with them. Not at the expense of changing our own values though.

And hopefully we can look forward to similar success stories 4 years from now.


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