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Bush’s Third Term — You’re Living it!

A presidential candidate opposed to the Iraq War is elected and enters the Oval Office. Yet six months later, there are still essentially the same number of troops in Iraq as were there when his predecessor left, the same number, in fact, used in the original invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Moreover, the new president remains on the “withdrawal” schedule the previous administration laid out for him with the same caveats being issued about whether it can even be met.

That administration also built a humongous, three-quarters-of-a-billion-dollar embassy in Baghdad, undoubtedly the most expensive on the planet. Staffed with approximately 1,000 “diplomats,” it was clearly meant to be a massive command center for Iraq (and, given neocon dreams, the region). Last weekend, well into the Obama era, the Washington Postreported that the State Department’s yearly budget for “running” that embassy – $1.5 billion (that is not a misprint) in 2009 – will actually rise to $1.8 billion for 2010 and 2011. In addition, the Obama administration now plans to invest upwards of a billion dollars in constructing a massive embassy in Islamabad and other diplomatic facilities in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Here, too, there will be a massive influx of “diplomats,” and here, too, a U.S. command center for the region is clearly being created.

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