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Semantics for Authority February 28, 2009

Posted by Joseph in Obama, U.S. foreign policy.
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The most solid promise that Barack Obama made, one which apperaed incontrovertible and appealed to most humane individuals globally was the promise to withdraw all troops from Iraq.

The promise on face value means that U.S. forces will not remain in Iraq, but no sadly the U.S. President has had a change of heart or a slap on the wrist and is now only withdrawing combat troops, about 50,000 will remain in situ to among other things guard “American assets”. We obviously didn’t read the small print about the ‘non combat’ contingent of the U.S. armed forces.

If 50,000 doesn’t sound like many bare in mind that in 1880 at the height of British Colonial power Britain had only 66,000 troops in the whole of its Indian territories, a considerably largerĀ  proposition, both in population and geographic area.

This was acheived through proxy forces, essentially mercenaries, professional soldiers who had no allegiance to the nation of the army they fought in and in a similar fashion so will the current occupation of Iraq. The thousands of mercenaries will remain and the U.S. will ultimately have a large amount of sway over the Iraqi Army. They have been asked to leave but have ignored that request and so are far from being on reciprocal, sovereign terms.

Another valid, more contemporary comparison, in the same vein of lowly semantics has been Burma’s response to international pressure to release political prisoners. They last week released over 6,000 prisoners, 20 odd were political, and those who were had largely served their sentnces.

In both situations one sees the weight of opion weighing down on cruel authorities towards their most incongruent crimes and their facetious, childish responses.