Teacher, Leave Them (Iraqi) Kids Alone
By: Mark W Adams

I've always had a nagging question about one of the most glaring canards involving our occupation in Iraq, and now John Edwards forces that question into the presidential debate. (H.T. Atrios)

Mr. Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina who is waging a populist campaign for the Democratic nomination, said that extending the American training effort in Iraq into the next presidency would require the deployment of tens of thousands of troops to provide logistical support and protect the advisers.

“To me, that is a continuation of the occupation of Iraq,” he said in a 40-minute interview on Sunday aboard his campaign bus as it rumbled through western Iowa.

In one of his most detailed discussions to date about how he would handle Iraq as president, Mr. Edwards staked out a position that would lead to a more rapid and complete troop withdrawal than his principal rivals, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, who have indicated they are open to keeping American trainers and counterterrorism units in Iraq.

Not to get too hung up on the original mendacity that got us into the war (lest I be accused of being the boy who cried Wolfowitz), but why do these folks need this much training, by us, and paid for with our blood. You could get a bachelors degree in criminology in the time it's taken to "train" the Iraqi security forces.

Before we took over, Iraq was a nation-state with a fully functioning security apparatus and one of the largest land armies in the world -- where everyone and his brother-in-law has their own AK-47 and knows how to use it.

So what exactly is this mysterious "training" we've been doing for the last five years, and just who hasn't been doing their homework so we can dismiss the class?

If they need experts in the craft of busting heads and keeping the rabble in line, I'm sure our State Department would hook them up with the nice men at Blackwater or KBR. Of course that might mean they'd have to do something so repulsive to their neoconservative overlords it would be tantamount to heresy -- tax something or someone, or nationalize the oil industry so they could pay for their own "training."

Make no mistake about it, we're not "training" anyone. We're sorting. We're finding out who can't stand American domination of their country and who can tolerate it; who can be bought, for how much and for how long.

In neocon reality-world (hadn't you heard, they create their own), the idea "Give me liberty or give me death" was a quaint sentiment of a bygone era. They theorize this new form of patriotism here when they say you can't enjoy liberty "if you're dead," and practice it there where a militant terrorist extremist can become a loyal member of the coalition of the willing for 300 bucks a month. (One man's terrorist is another man's freedom-fighter, and yet another man with deeper pockets' hired thug.)

Anything short of getting up, walking away from the table and asking for the check is mere jingoistic chest-thumping. We're done there, have been for a while. Let Exxon and Halliburton hire their own cannon fodder to guard their oil fields and bring our kids home.