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The Media

Dennis Rehberg on Iraq: 50 Years?

In another round of hard hitting press release journalism, the Lee Newspapers have been running some thoughtful commentary, without external analysis or rebuttal, from Dennis Rehberg, this time about the Iraq War.

Rehberg thinks that American troops may well be needed in Iraq for fifty years, news to those of us who were told by our government that the war would be won and paying for itself in six weeks:

He suggested that the urge to pull out of Iraq could be wrong, noting that the United States maintains a large presence in South Korea more than 50 years after the active conflict there ended.

Rehberg also pointed out the United States continues to have bases in Germany decades after World War II.

“Somehow we have created in our mind that this is different and we’ve got to get out, take our presence out,” Rehberg said. “And I think, realistically, nobody believes that is possible.

Now, I’m not a military expert, but it could be that Representative Rehberg is wrong about this one. I don’t believe that American military presence in Germany is intended to fight an insurgent movement or to root out 100 year old members of the Nazi government. There was a compelling need for American forces in Germany until the 1990s: the Soviet Union. Perhaps Representative Rehberg has heard of it. I know he did some horseback riding in one of its former Republics awhile back.

Today, our presence in Germany serves largely to project power into the Middle East and to serve as a interim base for the thousands of Americans being severely wounded each year in Iraq.

In other words, Germany is different.

Rehberg is also either delusional or a liar:

“I have to leave it to those who are managing the war,” he said. “From the information I have, I think we are having great success in helping them build their infrastructure, we’re having great success in helping them create stability in their government. I think we will start seeing some of our troops come back.”

The infrastructure in Baghdad is certainly doing well, with an official U.S. estimate of almost 12 hours of electricity each day, far less than before the war. What do senior officials say when not conducting official P.R. tours for members of Congress? Things like this:

“Do we have a government that has the capacity to deliver basic levels of services?” said a senior U.S. diplomat here who declined to discuss the issue on the record. “If I had to answer that question right now, today, I’d say no, it’s not good enough.”

I understand why Representative Rehberg and the rest of the people who voted for this illogical, failed war continue to cheerlead for it; they’ve invested much of their credibility in it. I just wish they would act like members of Congress, and demand accountability and honesty from the administration, instead of washing their hands of responsibility. Congress needs to do more than take tours of Iraq and report progress; they need to demand accountability.

If Representative Rehberg won’t do that, then it’s time for someone else to do the job.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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