Saturday, June 07, 2008

Iraq: The Past, The Present, and Future

With the Scott McClellan book bringing the 'how we got here' part of the Iraq debate back into the spotlight, a number of less-reported stories this week should remind Americans again what is at stake in this election. I've divided them into three categories.

The Past

Reuters: Bush misused Iraq intelligence: Senate report-
President George W. Bush and his top policymakers misstated Saddam Hussein's links to terrorism and ignored doubts among intelligence agencies about Iraq's arms programs [BLUEDUCK'S NOTE: This is a polite way of saying they lied] as they made a case for war, the Senate intelligence committee reported on Thursday...

...The committee studied major speeches by Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other officials in advance of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, and compared key assertions with intelligence available at the time.

Statements that Iraq had a partnership with al Qaeda were wrong and unsupported by intelligence, the report said.

It said that Bush's and Cheney's assertions that Saddam was prepared to arm terrorist groups with weapons of mass destruction for attacks on the United States contradicted available intelligence.

A new report from McClatchy has more on how the Pentagon allowed itself to be used.

The Present

Reuters: Iraq lawmakers want U.S. forces out as part of deal-
A majority of the Iraqi parliament has written to Congress rejecting a long-term security deal with Washington if it is not linked to a requirement that U.S. forces leave, a U.S. lawmaker said on Wednesday...

..."The majority of Iraqi representatives strongly reject any military-security, economic, commercial, agricultural, investment or political agreement with the United States that is not linked to clear mechanisms that obligate the occupying American military forces to fully withdraw from Iraq," the letter to the leaders of Congress said.

Well tough shit, Iraqis, because...

The Future

The Independent (UK): Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control-
A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.

The timing of the agreement would also boost the Republican candidate, John McCain, who has claimed the United States is on the verge of victory in Iraq – a victory that he says Mr Obama would throw away by a premature military withdrawal.

America currently has 151,000 troops in Iraq and, even after projected withdrawals next month, troop levels will stand at more than 142,000 – 10 000 more than when the military "surge" began in January 2007. Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government.

In summation: They lied, Iraq is a mess, and we are never leaving. Same as it ever was.

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