Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 12, 2008

Ring The Bells: Iraq Wins - Shrub Shuffles Off

by Debs is dead
lifted and edited from a comment

If you are wondering why the media coverage of Iraq was not amped up after the election as many expected, why the American invaders hadn't gone back to their murdering and thieving ways now an election no longer depended on quiet, the answer is simple, the status of forces agreement which finally draws a line under America's attempted theft of a sovereign nation details such a resounding defeat for the American empire, that the Bushites 'neglected' to release an English language version of the final draft enacted in the Iraqi parliament last week.

Long term Baghdad correspondent Patrick Cockburn provides the inside running on America's full spectrum defeat, news of which was swamped by the Mumbai attacks last week. One wonders why; since despite America's attempt to shift the focus of it's wanton slaughter from Iraq of the Mid East, to Pakistan, West Asia, there can be little doubt that the eventual outcome of that crime will be America getting it's head handed to it there, also.

The Americans have gained nothing and whilst the Iraqis are hurting from the loss of more than a million citizens slaughtered in this inexcusable breach of national sovereignty, they should have an under-lying sense of pride in the fact that they fought the evil empire and won.

So what is in the Sofa that makes it such a win?

  • All American troops will be pulled out of all cities by June 2009 and out of the Green Zone within a few weeks.
  • All American troops of any sort have to leave within the next three years. There will be no enduring bases. All military operations must have the prior approval of the Iraqi Government. Immunity has gone and the blackwater mercenaries will be tried within Iraq under Iraqi law like the common criminals they are.
  • No operations against other nations can be mounted from within Iraq.

Cockburn commented:

Even Iran, which had furiously denounced the first drafts of the SOFA saying that they would establish a permanent US presence in Iraq, now says blithely that it will officially back the new security pact after the referendum. This is a sure sign that Iran, as America’s main rival in the Middle East, sees the pact as marking the final end of the US occupation and as a launching pad for military assaults on neighbours such as Iran.

Cockburn goes on to say that the last minute hold ups were the result of a recognition by the Sunni and Kurd minorities that the Shia clique will dominate the political elite and they were holding out for as many concessions as possible realising that a lever such as this won't be available once the power shift has occurred.

He also highlights the role that Muqtada al-Sadr played in this great victory, in that the Sadrists outspoken opposition to any 'compromises' by the weak-kneed American owned factions ensured that the parliament was solid in it's opposition to any last minute surrender (IE bribery or extortion by America). The Iraqi citizens of all sects particularly the ruling shia made it plain that any pol who gave in to any of America's demands would be punished politically and probably personally. Sadr's 'extreme' position created the space for the 'moderates' to gather in unanimous opposition to the ceding of Iraqi sovereignty.

Americans will never hear of this great defeat. It's amazing that such a thing could happen but unsurprising really. I mean to say the fact that Americans are queuing up in droves to see "Frost Nixon the movie" rather than watching the original interviews kinda says it all.

Nixon's persona has been re-crafted, his reputation has been salvaged by Ron Howard's revisionist rewrite of history. I mean the original interviews were bad enough. I'm sure many other remember the original with it's evasions and distortions. Over 80% of the interviews were edited out so as to begin the distortions to rehabilitate Nixon. Howard's film is the end of that process. A necessary revamp to re-affirm the fantasy that the American prez is an omniscient, omnipotent being - incapable of error let alone corruption, dishonesty or a callous disregard for his 'subjects'.

In the same way no one will discuss Iraq for the next 5 years - then a revisionist mockumentary/docudrama distortion masquerading as reality will be pushed down the throats of the American population. naturally there will be some disagreement by those wanting to set the record straight.

The makers and the shrub-ites will stonewall making the most absurd denials of facts we know to be correct. They won't care because their assertions that WMD were found in Iraq and that Saddam organised 9/11 will resurface a few years later - all spelled out in banner headlines - news stories right before the empire tries this crap on again.

But we must salute Mesopotamian strength and resolute determination and total sacrifice. (American sacrifice is summed up by the FA-18 pilot who ejected over a suburb leaving his plane to crash into houses killing at least three. When I lived in Darwin where there is a large military airfield bang smack in the centre of town I can remember at least two instances where Oz pilots refused to eject preferring to stay with their fighter so as to ensure it crashed out at see away from other humans. The pilots died - no time to eject if you want to save civilians).

The reality which has evaded many empire's elites is simple. We the people only ever fight hard when it is our own nation in danger. A few gung ho fools whose bicep measurement beats their IQ is all they ever muster keen for these nasty crimes.

Posted by b on December 12, 2008 at 13:40 UTC | Permalink


Cockburn is wrong. The SOFA is not a defeat.

The SOFA isn't worth the paper it's written on. It's not a treaty or a law, it's an executive agreement which will be abrogated by Obama for "national security" reasons. It is not a treaty because Bush didn't want to go through constitutionally-required advice & consent, and Obama agreed because he doesn't want to be restrained by a treaty (which it actually ought to be). Trash the constitution and rule by the people!

Turn over Balad Air Base (for one example) to an Islamic republic closely allied with Iran? A republic with a mutual security pact with Iran which would allow Iran's air force fighter jets to be stationed there, threatening US and Israeli forces in the Caucuses and western Middle East? Balad, the largest airbase in the DOD empire, the second-busiest airport in the world after Heathrow? No way, Jose.

Obama on Meet the Press last Sunday: "We are going to maintain a large enough force in the region to assure that our civilian troops--or our, our, our civilian personnel and our, our embassies are protected, to make sure that we can ferret out any remaining terrorist activity in the region, in cooperation with the Iraqi government, that we are providing training and logistical support, maintaining the integrity of Iraq as necessary. And, you know, I--one of the things that I'll be doing is evaluating what kind of number's required to meet those very limited goals."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 12 2008 15:06 utc | 1

It used to be that there were plenty of auxiliary fields in the desert at which one could attempt to land a possibly disabled aircraft but with cutbacks most exist as memories.

Completely irresponsible to send a disabled aircraft, low level, over civilian housing.

Those civilians were murdered by command criminal negligence. Pure and simple.

Posted by: IntelVet | Dec 12 2008 15:12 utc | 2

Dan -- you took the words right out of my mouth. No way can we control the Middle East from the tiny toeholds of Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Posted by: seneca | Dec 12 2008 15:37 utc | 3

Leila Fadel, chief of McClatchy's Baghdad Bureau, in a series of interviews with The Real News.

- Iraqi people are suspicious if the U.S. will really leave
- On the real history of the 'surge' and the ethnic cleansing
- If the U.S. leaves there will be a lot of internal fighting over who gets what

Posted by: b | Dec 12 2008 15:50 utc | 4


Metz estimated that U.S. forces find between 12 and 20 of the devices in Iraq each month, down from 60 to 80 earlier this year.

''Someone ... has made the decision to bring them down,'' Metz told reporters.

Asked if the elite Iranian Republican Guard Corps has made a deliberate choice to limit use of EFPs, Metz nodded: ''I think you could draw that inference from the data.''

I cited this in an earlier thread, and hesitate to repeat it.... Except for one thing: unless I'm mistaken, the Iraqi Republican Guard has always been a Sunni institution. Here we read about an Iranian Republican Guard --presumably Shiite, and presumably not to be confused with Hussein's surviving team (the story is complicated by a "correction" announced by the NYT, which first wrote of an "Iraqi Republican Guard Corps").

It's not clear to me that Coburn focuses on Hussein's surviving military infrastructure. Perhaps it doesn't exist--though I'd be astonished to learn of this--in which case he shouldn't do so. But if it does survive--in Iraq, across the division of Sunni and Shia--then we'd have to entertain a slightly different view of events in Iraq. For one thing, it would mean that Hussein's surviving war machine--if indeed it still exists--keeps itself very carefully out of sight.

I think it does indeed exist, because Iraqis can only rid themselves of Americans by beating them to a pulp--as they've largely done--and the only resources to do this are the veterans of the Ba'ath regime. It would also mean that Shia and Sunni alike are so eager to clear out the Americans, that they will accept the secular Ba'ath regime as the force that can hold iraq togther.

Posted by: alabama | Dec 12 2008 16:44 utc | 5

I agree w/ Don Bacon.

About the Frost-Nixon film. I watched it last night. I can't stand Ron Howard, a man who managed to turn the Grinch into a fairytale-defense of consumerism, but the film doesn't humanize Nixon at the expense of removing him from the history of his crimes. History is acknowledged.

Posted by: slothrop | Dec 12 2008 17:48 utc | 6

I think we are still refusing to believe that the Empire is terminally ill, and that the end is near. When the economic shit hits the fan, I dont think anyone will have the time to think about Iraq or Afghanistan.

Also with so many agreements signed between Russia and India recently. I am begining to suspect that the Empire had a hand behind the Mumbai carnage.

Posted by: a | Dec 12 2008 19:41 utc | 7

Bush never got what he wanted in Iraq: control of the oil spiggots. Production never did rise above what Saddam produced. In this sense SOFA is irrelevant, because the Maliki government got control of the spiggots, and you can be sure that production won't rise until the Iraqis are satisfied with the US presence or lack thereof.

Like the old saying goes, you can put a gun to a man's head, but you can't make you produce more oil.

Posted by: JohnH | Dec 12 2008 20:00 utc | 8

I see the fantasy has already begun.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 12 2008 20:13 utc | 9

dkos has this...(don't be surprised if it's deleted soon) Pelosi and other Criminal Accomplices

Pelosi and other Criminal Accomplices

Greenwald: "One of things that often gets overlooked because these programs (Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition, etc.) are typically blamed on the Bush Administration - and rightfully so since they are the ones who conceived of it and first implemented - it is the extent of the complicity on the part of leading congressional democrats..."

Maddow: "Bingo"

Greenwald: "in most of these programs."

Greenwald: "Not only were they briefed on it, people like Nancy Pelosi, Jane Harmon and Jay Rockefeller were briefed that we were torturing, that we were eavesdropping illegally. In many cases they did nothing about it. Often they assented actively to these programs."

Greenwald: "You also have a whole series of laws that have been passed with the aid of the democrats and even with the democrats in control of congress to authorize things like the military commissions and to immunize the people in our government who have broken the law and violated international treaties."

Greenwald: "And so the fact that the leading house Democrat on the intelligence committee (Sylvester Reyes) is urging that the CIA Director and the Director of National Intelligence, the people who have overseen these programs that have done such damage to our country, urging that they be retained and that some of these programs be maintained by Obama is not surprising. Many of these Democrats have given full-throated support to a lot of these programs even as they try to keep the blame on the Bush Administration."

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 12 2008 20:25 utc | 10

scan above nails it

Posted by: Sky News | Dec 12 2008 20:55 utc | 11

The SOFA is the only thing giving international legitimacy to amerikan invaders. If amerika tries to ignore it they leave their troops open criminal charges not just in Iraq, but in the rest of the civilised world. The SOFA is a document which contains the force of international law.
This is the reason that amerika fought so hard and lied so badly to get UN approval in the first place. Sure they may be able to delay some of the dates a little, prevaricate even more but they have no show of getting unanimous approval from the security council for an extended stay, which is why they had to agree to this SOFA, otherwise they are dead meat come december 31st.

The amerikan pols on either side of the empire party are never going to admit that they have lost - get real - but they have.

If amerikans choose to fantasise I don't care as long as they understand that their fantasies must stay within their own boundaries. This airbase will have to be de-commissioned the SOFA is unequivocal.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 12 2008 21:56 utc | 12

Seems to me that if the SOFA actually meant anything, Obama would be extolling it from the rooftops. "I was right -- Iraq was a mistake, and now it's being corrected by the SOFA. The US will pull its forces, all of them, out of Iraq, in accordance with the SOFA."

But Obama didn't say that, did he. In fact if anyone can even find a quote where the word "SOFA" passed Obama's lips you will have accomplished more than I can.

In fact Obama has done just the opposite, saying that US military forces will stay in Iraq. How many? Depends on the situation -- same thing Rumsfeld said in 2004, 2005, 2006 etc. Conditions on the ground, national security, blah blah blah.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 12 2008 22:02 utc | 13

Debs, it's America, with a "c". Try at least to be literate.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 12 2008 22:10 utc | 14

Bush never got what he wanted in Iraq: control of the oil spiggots.

Really? How interesting you say this. He built 5 bases in Iraq. He installed a puppet regime. He rebuilt with American companies, laborers and $$$ the infrastructure for oil delivery.

How does he not control the oil, Mr John H? Is it because he's not actually physically there in Iraq, and there is no single "spiggot" (sic) for him to physically lay his hand on, for control?

Those who see this world as getting a breather from Bush/Cheney in the wake of Barockstar Obamiracle's "election" should go outside and breathe deeply, for several minutes, and then ask themselves -- how is Barockstar Obamiracle so different if his funding sources, his voting record, and his advisory staff all agree with the Bush/Cheney agenda?

Meanwhile, a lot of soi dissant "informed" commenters analyze non-issues as if they were making a big difference. It's like a Steelers fan and a Browns fan arguing about which team is better based on fan attendance statistics.

Posted by: micah pyre | Dec 12 2008 23:12 utc | 15

Glenn Greenwald is finally starting to see reality. Too bad he still thinks it is only certain Democrats who are faking the "opposition" game. I bet he still believes in the Saintly Midget, Dennis Kucinich, who has failed to do anything but preen, pontificate, and grandstand.

Poor Glenn Greenwald, a political naif to the end.

Posted by: micah pyre | Dec 12 2008 23:14 utc | 16

why on earth would obama be celebrating the biggest defeat of the amerikan empire in three decades? As we discussed in here a few weeks back the rethug half of the amerikan empire party will do everything they can to sheet the blame for the complete pullout of all forces onto Obama just as the same assholes try to blame amerikan leftists for the victory of the vietnamese people over the invaders. That despite the fact that their hero Kissinger signed up to the deal in Paris.

The two situations are closely linked - back when the paris peace accord was signed the amerikans tried to paint that as some sort of a victory as well. Then when Carter was prez and Hanoi fell, they beat up the bullshit about MIA's to try and make it seem as though Carter's 'weakness' was the cause of a defeat which had been determined long before he took office.
Obama understands that if he is the one who draws attention to the sofa he will be the one blamed for it, just as the shrub does which is why they haven't been publicising the 'historic agreement' the way they were back in March when a very different document was handed to Maliki with the instructions he get it signed.

Time ran out for the empire, the UN deadline compounded by amerikan elections, Iraqi provincal elections in Feb 09 and the need to ask Iran to make Moqtada back off to ensure that there were no dramas coming outta Iraq all year, all of that has meant that amerika had no leverage, the thing is signed and now everyone is hoping they can exit stage left with a minimum of publicity. If the rethugs ever do try too hard to lambast the dems, then Obama will pull out the sofa which was signed on shrub's 'watch' (I love the way these idiot pols adopt pseudo military jargon to pretend they know shit from clay).
Chances are no one will cause if the Afghani Pakistani conflict can be kept bubbling along at just the correct level, that should provide plenty of excuse for amerikan taxpayers to continue contributing to the corporate welfare package known as a defence budget.

Of course that won't happen the conflict will spread there too and then amerika will be so busy trying to keep afloat while placating the Indians who will find their country paying the price for amerika's stupidity, cupidity and hubris.

As I said whatever garbage propaganda amerikans choose to lap up is entirely up to them just as long as they don't believe their own bullshit so much that they start up another bout of massacring other humans in some fruitless and vain attempt to assert their undeserved sense of superiority.
If Obama the peacemaker lives up to his recent promises the whole of the indian sub-continent will be aflame by the time he leaves office. amerika will lose in the long term from that chaos too, but that would be the last thing on any pol's mind. Their thinking will go "Hmm it may provide the prez with a few opportunities to a/ secure 'donations' from defence contractors and b/ garner a few votes in 2012 on the basis that he's a great CinC just as the shrub's incompetent leadership did for him in 04".

Face it these guys are lightweights, their idea of long term is winning a second term in office and they are fighting cultures thousands of years old (mesopotamia the place amerikans call Iraq has been dealing with invaders since 4000BC). The societies on the sub-continent have similar longevity and they have repulsed invaders countless times as well.

Pick around the edges playing denial all you like I sense movement from denial into anger, that won't change the reality one iota either but whatever eventually acceptance will come.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 12 2008 23:31 utc | 17

I don't agree with Don Bacon.

The US has signed a public agreement. The whole world is watching. Obama can only abrogate it, at the cost of US reputation in the world. He is said to want to restore US credibility. He cannot do so by going back on agreements publicly signed, just because they were signed under his predecessor.

On the other hand, I thought Patrick Cockburn was going a bit far in declaring victory. It is true, according to the agreement. But as long as the US has not actually withdrawn, victory has not been achieved.

But I agree the US is going to be hard put to get out of the agreement. I presume they are relying on the coming elections to get rid of Maliki, or some such method. The only possible solution is for the US to get Iraq to change its mind. I don't that happening, even without Maliki.

Posted by: alex | Dec 12 2008 23:50 utc | 18

I also thought it was somewhat presumptious of Bacon to dismiss the experience of a journalist on the ground out of hand. Cockburn knows more than Bacon.

Posted by: alex | Dec 12 2008 23:53 utc | 19

I am not very hopeful. Justin Raimondo's latest column focuses on a telling interview:

Obama, Iraq, and the Cyprus Solution
Out of Iraq? Not so fast …

[...] now the mystery is cleared up by Robert Gates, the GOP defense secretary who says we'll be in Iraq "for decades." In an interview with George Will, Gates let the cat out of the bag:

"Regarding Iraq, Gates is parsimonious with his confidence, noting that ‘the multisectarian democracy has not sunk very deep roots yet.' He stresses, however, that there is bipartisan congressional support for ‘a long-term residual presence' of perhaps 40,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, and that the president-elect's recent statements have not precluded that. Such a presence "for decades" has, he says, followed major US military operations since 1945, other than in Vietnam. And he says, ‘Look at how long Britain has had troops in Cyprus.'"

Posted by: Alamet | Dec 13 2008 1:31 utc | 20

Hey, Alex, I'm a Patrick Cockburn fan. He's the only journalist, as far as I know, to travel around Iraq instead of reporting from the Green Zone as the rest do. But that doesn't mean he knows what's going on in Washington, does it, and on that he's wrong.

I bet you've never heard of a SOFA before (the US has over 50 of them) and I bet you never will again. Pure and simple -- a SOFA is not a treaty, it is an administrative agreement (mostly secretive in the US) between the US and its empirical minions, as often not observed as followed. Why didn't the Democratic Senate hold hearings on it? Why hasn't Obama mentioned it? Why has Obama stated his intentions contra to it -- this "public agreement" you refer to? It's a stinking dead fish.

As for Debs, he's over the edge, obviously. Off his meds. Wish him well. I do.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 13 2008 2:00 utc | 21

The only hope for the U.S. to remain or exert any significant influence in Iraq, particularly past the June date of returning to bases - is for them to somehow exploit the clause in the SOFA whereby the Iraqi government can request more active U.S. participation. This could plausibly happen if Maliki is voted out, if the U.S. were to re-inflame sectarian strife, or if Maliki is overthrown in a military coup d etat. I agree with those who see the SOFA as a viable document, but see that changes flowing from it quite possible, if not likely, given that under the present status the U.S. will indeed end up with squat. And I'm not sure that is acceptable to the economic elite.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 13 2008 2:59 utc | 22

The USuk had lost the Iraq war the moment Bush/Blair made the decision to raid the place. As Debs points out, the CoW is simply the latest gang of ME invaders to be shown that Iraqi resilience and spirit will outlast their murderous intentions. Afghanistan is no different. Not unlike Vietnam and Cambodia, despite all their trying, atrocious carpet bombing of civilians, it is merely a matter of time before US troops will withdraw, as always leaving behind orphans, a million graves and a legacy of unexploded bombs for future generations not to forget who it was that maimed their grandpa and parents.

Re the SOF Agreement, it certainly isn’t what the Neozis had in mind when they took over the Iraqi square on the global chessboard. The ptb on the Iranian square next door are rubbing their hands in glee. Translates as a defeat to me. However, whose to say that with a couple of false flag ops the necessary storm to return the withdrawn forces couldn’t be recreated? Imho, chances are that the empire will strike back. With AIPAC having its Obama/Clinton tag team in place, I am even inclined to bet my bottom dollar that plans for such operations are already sitting in Gate’s in-tray.

But all in good time. For the time being, Obama wants to send his bloodhounds after the Afghan and Pakistani population anyway, meaning that the troops withdrawing from Iraq can be surged into the "good war" operations theater. Perfect timing.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Dec 13 2008 4:50 utc | 23

But all in good time. For the time being, Obama wants to send his bloodhounds after the Afghan and Pakistani population anyway, meaning that the troops withdrawing from Iraq can be surged into the "good war" operations theater. Perfect timing.

Perfect timing

Perfect timing, perfect timing... Yes, timing is everything. Those words ring true. However it never ceases to amaze me how even intelligent people seem to miss this type of structural analysis. JM, if you were to post that on any number of so called "progressive" blogs, it would be dismissed out of hand as conspiracy. Why is that? Why do even the educated and questioning not see the deeper meta? Perhaps, it as Chomsky so elegantly purports:

Propaganda is to democracy what violence is to totalitarianism. The techniques have been honed to a high art in the U.S. and elsewhere, far beyond anything that Orwell dreamed of. The device of feigned dissent (as practiced by the Vietnam- era "doves," who criticized the war on the grounds of effectiveness and not principle) is one of the more subtle means, though simple lying and suppressing fact and other crude techniques are also highly effective.

For those who stubbornly seek freedom around the world, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in the totalitarian societies, much less so in the propaganda system to which we are subjected and in which all too often we serve as unwilling or unwitting instruments.

I have said before, and stand by it, at least with the republicans they are, 'in your face', blatant and you know what to expect, however with the dems, it is much more covert and you get blind sided. I'd much rather see the fist coming. Again, both republican and democrat; a pecking order of Cowards, Liars, killers, Snakes and Thieves. We are caught between a dangerous mafia and a indifferent elite cabal.

Yes, perfect timing, to get back on track for the good war. The one we were diverted from by those mean ol' rethugs.

Perfect timing indeed, perfect timing for Making a Killing.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 13 2008 7:01 utc | 24

The US lost - absolutely but Debs, you're ignoring several key things: there's a strategic forces agreement which was signed at the same time that no one seems to have seen (and the media has ignored), the SOFA provides legal legitimacy to the occupation, and today Maliki's spokesman said today that he expects US forces to remain for another 10 years ... Al Dabbagh

Posted by: Siun | Dec 13 2008 8:37 utc | 25

I think what most Americans fail to understand is the relative weakness of their political class. While most people dislike the political class, they still think it has the primary power relative especially to the economic class. They don't understand that the Washington elite are at best, small change gophers locked in servitude to the economic powerhouses, and helpless to fundamentally change anything. Its no accident that things have evolved as they have because from the very beginning the government was envisioned as a weak organization, dissipating and deferring much of its central power downward to the (fractious) states and local government,and limiting its other competitors to power, by erecting a wall between it and religion, and keeping a standing army at bay. This (along with the open geographic expanse) provided a perfect uncompetitive context for business and corporate interests to flourish and learn how to best exploit and bring the political class completely under heel.

Most Americans think that because every four years the country experiences an orgy of money raising and an orgy of money spending so some fool is elected president is proof that the politicians and politics must be important. Thats just a mirage. Because after all the money raising and spending its off to Washington to raise more money to help pay off those that gave them the money to get there in the first place, so they can make more money. And thats not being important, or having any power in the real scheme of things - thats just being a gopher to the real power. We live in a tyranny of money, every bit as backward as feudalism, narcissistic as fascism, brutal as dictatorship, or delusionary as theocracy.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 13 2008 8:59 utc | 26

The only reason Iran supports the SOFA is that American troops will remain in Iraq. So if America foolishly attempts to attack Iran, these poor armed services personal will become easy prey for Iran's revenge counter attack. Makes sense?

Posted by: hans blink | Dec 13 2008 10:46 utc | 27

Well, at least the argument that the US will never leave Balad and intends to use it for decades doesn't work. Danang airbase was a big one, and there were other huge naval and air bases in Vietnam, which all had to be left behind in the 70s.

Concerning the rest of the debate, I'm still wary of US real intentions and won't yet call for defeat - or victory -, though I don't think the US will be able to keep the place for very long, given the economic situation and the growing international mayhem in many other aspects.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Dec 13 2008 11:53 utc | 28

Problem is the US's word on anything is worthless. Before the thing was signed Shrub and his goons were already allowing as they had their own ideas on the meaning of words like "is" and "will" in it

Case in point while the ink's still>wet:

The top American commander in Iraq said that U.S. forces will remain in dozens of small bases inside Iraq's cities despite language in a recently-signed security pact which appears to require an American withdrawal from Iraqi urban areas by next summer.

I'll believe they're going to end the occupation when I see it.

Posted by: ran | Dec 13 2008 13:49 utc | 29

anna missed: you're right about the relation between government and the ruling class. On the topic of this thread, the meaning of the SOFA, that means we don't yet know what the ruling class thinks about our presence in Iraq. We also don't know if "they" think we should shift the war into Afghanistan and/or Pakistan. in fact, we rarely know what the ruling class "thinks", but can only infer it afterwards from events.

It seemed clear that a portion of the ruling class represented by Bush senior evenutally found the Rumsfeld/Cheney military adventurism odious and brought about their removal. At the same time, it's clear that they've never wavered from the long-standing imperial thrust of US policy. They can't afford to -- too much invested over there.

Capital isn't always rational -- greed and laziness get in the way. And capital periodically devours its own, as in the present crisis. It does at least provide us with a perpetual re-run of "Dallas", for our enterainment.

Posted by: seneca | Dec 13 2008 14:11 utc | 30

"The only hope for the U.S. to remain or exert any significant influence in Iraq, particularly past the June date of returning to bases - is for them to somehow exploit the clause in the SOFA whereby the Iraqi government can request more active U.S. participation."

from Juan Cole today:
Iraqi government spokesman Ali Dabbagh, who is visiting Washington, DC, said Friday that "We do understand that the Iraqi military is not going to get built out in the three years. We do need many more years. It might be 10 years."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 13 2008 14:31 utc | 31

Obviously, Iraq is not Vietnam. Different situation. The Pentagon calls both of them "counterinsurgencies" but what do they know? In Vietnam the US and puppet forces faced organized national military units and partisans, whereas Iraq is a resisted military occupation. Vietnam, over 50,000 US KIA, Iraq 4,000. Vietnam has rice, Iraq has oil. Vietnam at the bottom of South Asia, Iraq in the center of the ME. etc

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 13 2008 14:45 utc | 32

Some say the US has lost in Iraq. Really? Let's look at the facts:
1. The US now enjoys a major military presence in a former enemy in a strategic location.
2. The war has enabled domestic repression and huge profits for the well-connected.
3. The new president has voted for every war spending bill AND domestic repression and has said that the US military will stay in Iraq. He has repressed Senate debate on the SOFA (which calls for the US to leave Iraq) and in fact doesn't even mention it.
4. The lesson of the "loss in Iraq" has apparently not dissuaded Obama from repeating the exercise in Afghanistan, as that fiasco expands and worsens.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 13 2008 14:54 utc | 33

Debs -- if what you say really is as you say, then this is great news. It troubles me only because you say the Bush people are determined to bury the news and because (so far as I know) the Obama camp has thus far voiced no reaction -- either to the SOFA or to the fact that the SOFA story is being buried.

Were I a member of the Obama tribe, I'd want everyone to know all the details of the SOFA. The SOFA (as it now stands) is a great and fine excuse to bug out of Iraq as quickly as possible, which is a thing Obama will have to do if he wants to pursue any sort of a rational agenda. At the same time, he needs to be able to claim that the SOFA is the property of the Bush government, the same government that started that misbegotten war in the first place. If Obama can push ownership of the agreement onto the Bush people, Obama will have all the cover he needs to protect himself from right-wing accusations that he cut and ran from Iraq.

Because your report makes no mention of these things, I'm afraid I'll have to reserve judgment as to the impact this present manifestation of the SOFA will actually have on world affairs. Until the U.S. actually accepts the SOFA, the agreement cannot be regarded as a howling defeat of American arms. I hope things turn out so but, pending further developments, I'm not ready to jump for joy yet.

Posted by: Jimmy Montague | Dec 13 2008 16:19 utc | 34

The ink's not even dry on the SOFA and the US is saying that they're not going to abide by it.

So what else is new?

Posted by: Obelix | Dec 13 2008 17:44 utc | 35

Of course the amerikans are saying back home to the flag waving fools like Bacon that they aren't going to abide by the sofa, they even have a few minor Maliki men saying the same thing quietly and if they get the opportunity they will try and subvert the SoFA, but everyone who thinks that the military isn't going to go simply isn't looking at the bigger picture.
The SoFa has status an international agreement and when amerika breaks those agreements it only does so by arm twisting other nations into giving way using economic pressure. That ability is disappearing more quickly each day. Everyone on this board who lives outside amerika knows exactly how this feat of getting governments to go against the wishes of the most of the people goes. It can only be achieved if amerika has some carrots to wave under the noses of the leadership of other countries.
In case you hadn't noticed the amerikan banks and financial institutions aren't awash with carrots any more and won't be for a good long time.
Other places are hurting too but few if any have the same structural problems as amerika and they will come out of this mess sooner in spite of amerikan corporate capitalism, not because of it.
The temporary resurgence in the dollar values as 'foreign' investors parked in treasuries to gather time for their next move shouldn't lull anyone, long term the amerikan economy is unsustainable - between now and when the SoFA term expires in three years things are going to get worse for amerikan economic muscle not better.
Compound that will the huge commitment Obama's stupidity in Afghanistan and Pakistan will require. That war's gonna grow exponentially during Obama's first term and during that time you will see a slow realisation in the amerikan common myth pumped out by their sycophantic media, that Iraq is over - the point was made - democracy 'created' - so no need to stay.

This is inevitable but there is no way any of the elite, dem or rethug, are ever going to fess up right now and say "we lost".

Even all the pretend lefties would call them traitors in a flash - the rest - those little nazis who hang their stars and stripes on their house every day as if belonging to a pretend big and powerful society can somehow overcome their own feelings of inadequacy, would lynch most of Washington as their psychotic fantasies were shown to have been built on sand.
The right wing wet dreams of assassinating Obama would become real, fast.

So the pols will do what they always do. Let you down gently covering their asses all the way.

Maybe this time a few more amerikans will get it. Some did all the way but mostly the mobs bought the bullshit and let themselves get ripped off. That was taxpayers money and shitkickers lives lost during the rape and murder of Iraq you know. The types making the call have fuck all that matters invested in the outcome but that's democracy for ya.

That 'officer' who ejected safely and let his fighter crash into people's homes is an apt metaphor for what has happened.

But I'm more upbeat about it but one can't forget the million Iraqi dead and 4 million refugees, although all the attempts to stir up trouble between the various elements of Iraqi society will die out as the assholes are chased outta town, the Iraqis will repair their society and a few more people who live in amerika will have made the realisation that the rest of us understand so well.

The world doesn't need or want some steroid hyped thug blitzing around the globe killing and stealing and calling it charity.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 13 2008 20:32 utc | 36

DiD: they even have a few minor Maliki men saying the same thing quietly

also Don Bacon #31

Al-Dabbagh said what he had to say about the US being needed for another 10 years in Washington, not in Baghdad. I doubt he could have said it in Baghdad. It was for US consumption.

Don Bacon is still a believer in the omnipotence of the US. That what is decided in Washington is what is really going to happen, and what the Iraqis plan is of no importance. Well, the signature of the "Withdrawal" agreement has just shown the US being forced to sign an agreement with conditions it didn't want.

I don't think, unlike Cockburn, that the Iraqis have won the war. They have won this round. They haven't won the war until US troops are out of Iraq.

Posted by: alex | Dec 13 2008 23:25 utc | 37

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The Iraqi military has ordered $6 billion worth of equipment from the United States to boost its mechanized forces, congressional records show.

Posted by: Jeremiah | Dec 13 2008 23:32 utc | 38


So we're back to where we were some three or four years ago, when I said that every man, woman and American child in Iraq would have to be killed in order to empty the place of Americans, and that the logic of my position supported this eventuality. At that time I was more boring than usual, and now I see that I'll have to be even more boring still (let Pat, if she's lurking, smile at the fact that I couldn't let go of this one, much as I'd recently promised to do so).

I support, I applaud, the swiftest possible execution of the exercise. Let it get started without delay.

Let it happen (with captured American weapons) first and foremost to the civilians--to the nurses, doctors, agronomists, engineers, diplomats, and translators quartered in the Green Zone. Let the Famous Embassy be vaporized by a portable atomic weapon, or by something of equivalent destructive force. Once this is done, let the American military bases disappear in the same fashion, one every day for the three or four weeks immediately following.

Let the Americans lose the time, the opportunity, to execute some fanciful plan--some "rational exercise"--for their speedy withdrawal. No roads or airports should remain in place--no helicopters to fly from remaining rooftops.

It's a death sentence we have in mind--something akin to the hanging of Saddam Hussein. And let it happen now. Let Odierno and Petraeus watch it from the safety of the White House War Room on Christmas Day--side-by-side with the Bush family, the Cheneys, Ms. Rice, Mr. Hadley and Mr. Bolten. Let the doors be locked from outside--to be opened on the day of Obama's inauguration. Let Mr. Obama be tasked with the opening of those doors.

Posted by: alabama | Dec 14 2008 9:28 utc | 39


I feel that we are all growing old together watching this unfold. It will happen, but perhaps not in any way that we can imagine (the unknown unknowns ..)

With respect ..

Posted by: DM | Dec 14 2008 11:08 utc | 40

Why do even the educated and questioning not see the deeper meta?
Uncle, I’d say there is a variety of reasons.

A, I reckon they do see the deeper meta, its plain and in their face. As a matter of fact it smacks them/us in our face everyday we get up, right throughout the day, until the last second before we fall asleep, smack. Constantly. How could you not see, hear, feel it, the thirsty mouths of the children without access to water, the heartbreaking look in the eyes of the mother who just had her kid blown up by a landmine? I guess it’s just like with people who live near train tracks, when you are constantly exposed to noise and smacks, eventually you start blocking it out, ending up not seeing the forest for the trees.

B, It’s a matter of not rocking the boat you are sitting in. Mortgaged up to the eyeballs, credit card debts left, right and centre, of course people don’t drill too deep into the foundations their livelihood is based on. Progressive thinkers or not, people don’t sell out, they buy in, becoming a tooth on a cog in the machine that maintains the status quo.

C, As from your Chomsky quote, to suspect a darker ulterior motive to the one publicly stated by our duly elected leaders, people need to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. When you are told from toddler years onwards that the country you were born into is the good guy in any global scenario, all the feature movies you watch in your life confirming this, your history lessons at school omit the truth about the countless millions that were killed by your kinsmen in their quest for power and glory, then it becomes hard to fathom that the truth could be any different. Reality lies in the eye of the beholder.

D, Just like the dude in Matrix I who sold out his mates so that he could be inserted back into the program, knowing that he would be living his life as a battery for the machine, but at least the steak is juicy and has taste, people dread to find out what the actual reality is like. It’s less conflicting to live life in the belief that fundamentally things are ok, and whilst there are problems with our system, there isn’t a better one to replace it with, at least none which would be as tasty and juicy. Revolution is a scary word for many, so let’s satisfy ourselves with corrections merely to the fringes and any social conscience we might have gets channelled into one’s pet cause.

E, The laws governing the human trade of sheepish behaviour when it comes to authority are almost prehistoric, when say homo erectus came about, or even earlier. Lets call it herd instinct. Know your place in society and follow the leader of the pack.

This list of reasons for why many people prefer to keep their head in the sand could go on and on. And I’d like to point out that I myself to varying degrees am susceptible to all of them. I can’t say I can see the full picture either, akin to a blind person being led to a hyena for the first time. I get to touch its rough hairy back, legs, head and tail, and from that deduct what the creature must look like. I guess the reason I frequent the MoA almost daily (lurking mostly) is because it is one of the select few places where attempts are made to describe the spit dripping from its mouths and investigate the contents of its belly.

To put the above in context with the Iraq / Afghanistan debate, we just witnessed mass murder of epic proportions, perpetrated by willing soldiers paid for with our taxes. We are looking the beast straight in its eyes, describing its every move, and yet we don’t/can’t stop it. The invasion of Iraq, terrorising its people with shock and awe, bombing entire cities into blood and rubble, was so glaringly obvious a despicable war crime, but still Bush, Blair & Howard all got re-elected. The key word here is faith. Without it the world as we know it would come to a sudden end. People have faith that the machine in the bank’s ATM will dispense some printed paper, too small to be even useful as toilet tissue, and that it is exchangeable for goods and services. People have faith in their leaders and trust that what is done in their name is rightful and for the greater good. All they want in return for their trust is bread and games, or the modern version, microwavable precooked dinners and a big screen plasma TV to go with it.

To become aware that for all those years one has been chasing the tangling carrot in a closed circle labyrinth, with big signs and arrows everywhere announcing that wealth is just around the next corner, is a shattering experience, one that most people in rich western societies are not prepared to make. Instead, they cling to their visions of western grandeur, thoughtlessly accepting the lies and half truth spread by their beloved MSM as true.

But then, after years of slaughter and endless debacles, first a few, then more and more people start to smell the rat, one by one waking up to the scheme they are unwittingly a pawn in. The puppeteers running the show, picking up on the grumbling vibes coming from the audience, quickly redecorate the scene and offer a black guy as presidential candidate who promises to bring “change”. Hip hip hurray, the king is dead, long live the king. And so the emphasis changes exactly one iota, from subduing Iraqis back to killing Afghanis.

During his time in public office Obama made a number of statements on foreign policy issues that clearly indicated his will to continue the maintenance if not expansion of the US’s sphere of power, with the military playing the same prominent role as it always did. His rhetoric, whilst less blatant than Bush’s, is nevertheless pretty clear when it comes to who should rule the world - by any means necessary. And ruling the world means controlling the resources and their distribution, keeping your enemies close and your armed forces in training and action. Afghanistan meets all criteria.

Why not sell the embarrassing conditions the SOFA entails to your respective electorates as a success? The US citizenry is being told that the Iraqi resistance has been pacified, that Iraq is now democratic and has gained the ability to look after its own affairs, mission accomplished, troops are heroes. The Iraqis are given the spiel that they have regained their sovereignty and that the invaders have been shown the door. In reality though, the troops are simply shifted two houses down the road to raid their Afghani brothers and sisters homes instead of theirs, and should the Iraqis behave like the Palestinians and use their democracy to elect an openly anti-western government, the helicopter gunships and boots through the door at 3am would be back in no time, SOFA or not.

I might be completely wrong, but from the bits I’ve learned about the hyena, that’s what its plans are. Although it’s weakening by the day, it still knows how to make a kill. Divide and conquer.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Dec 14 2008 14:46 utc | 41

D Bacon #33:

2. The war has enabled domestic repression and huge profits for the well-connected.

Debs is dead #36:

flag waving fools like Bacon

He shouldn't attack his allies ("off meds" etc.), that is indeed foolish, but he's been no flag waver.

Posted by: plushtown | Dec 14 2008 14:47 utc | 42

Sometimes reading all of these comments makes me want to just live my life and not be concerned about any of the United States' War on the World which will continue with or without my notice or consent. Many excellent comments to be sure, but all anyone can do is observe reality as it is unfolded before us.
Something so far out of anyone's control almost doesn't quality as reality.

Posted by: James Crow | Dec 14 2008 17:06 utc | 43

try again:
Something so far out of anyone's control almost doesn't qualiFy as reality.

Posted by: James Crow | Dec 14 2008 17:08 utc | 44

@ Juan Moment and James Crow

hear! hear!

there is little consolation in being able to see how things really work. some people sneer at you, others are uncomfortable hearing you express your opinion, still others will seek to ridicule and marginalize you.

it is saddening, makes one cynical more than what is healthy sometimes. still I greatly appreciate the knowledge and insight shared here and wouldn't have it any other way.

Posted by: dan of steele | Dec 14 2008 17:51 utc | 45

Debs, I have been thinking about this and, you know... even if the US really pulls the last soldier from Iraq and retains no say at all in what happens afterwards, their opinion makers will not face it as a defeat
until the US is made to pay full reparations.


Two items from Aswat:

Bush, Maliki to sign SOFA within hours

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will meet with U.S. President George W. Bush within the next few hours to officially sign the troop withdrawal agreement, according to a cabinet source.

“A joint press conference will be held after signing the pact,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq.
Earlier today, Bush arrived on a surprise visit to the capital Baghdad and met with President Jalal al-Talabani.
Bush’s visit comes only 17 days ahead of the beginning of the implementation of the long-term security pact with Iraq, known as the status of forces agreement (SOFA), scheduled to come into effect on January 1, 2009.

MP says Odierno’s statements breach of agreement

A parliamentarian from the Iraqi National List (INL) on Sunday described top U.S. commander Raymond Odierno’s statements about the presence of non-combat troops in Iraqi cities after June 2009 as a prelude to “a series of breaches” of the troop withdrawal pact.

“The U.S. side will not abide by the published text of the agreement, which has been approved by the Parliament. There will be clear breaches of the agreement…,” MP Osama al-Nejefi told Aswat al-Iraq.
“The first breach was U.S. Commander Raymond Odierno’s statements about the presence of U.S. troops in cities after June 2009…,” Nejefi added.

Posted by: Alamet | Dec 14 2008 19:14 utc | 46

The U.S. government has refused to provide a copy of the SOFA, so how is it that Cockburn and Debs can be so familiar with its wording?

The (Democratic) Senate has not held hearings on the SOFA as a part of its refusal to perform its constitutional duties of advice & consent, with not a peep from Senator Obama, but the House has held hearings, chaired by Rep. Bill Delahunt, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations and Human Rights.

from Reuters:
Delahunt, who has urged President George W. Bush to renew the U.N. mandate rather than sign a bilateral agreement with Iraq, held the eighth in a series of hearings on the Status of Forces Agreement.

He said the Bush administration had turned down an invitation to attend the open hearing, saying it was a "sensitive time." Experts testifying before his subcommittee were forced to rely on an unofficial English translation of the security deal.

"Even now the National Security Council has requested that we do not show this document to our witnesses or release it to the public. Now that's incredible -- meantime the Iraqi government has posted this document [in Arabic] on its media website," Delahunt, a Massachusetts Democrat, said.
Debs: "So what is in the Sofa that makes it such a win? . . ."

Are Cockburn and Debs able to read Arabic? Or are they basing their definitive comments on an unofficial translation?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 14 2008 20:13 utc | 47

As I see it, this is one of two situtations.

1) the US has lost the war - military or financially - and decided to pull out. The SOFA is a cover.

2) the US has intended to stay. The powers that be considers it better to get a SOFA and then break the terms of it (it is not like the US cares about legalities anyway) then to stay without a paper supporting it.

Either way, we will see what happens down the road.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Dec 14 2008 20:27 utc | 48

swedish kind of death, I cannot imagine that the US does not intend to stay. That's why all Americans on Iraqi soil must by driven out, killed, and otherwise discouraged from staying.

When the pain becomes insupportable, and the replacements--uniformed or contracted mercenaries--refuse to cross the Iraqi border, then the cost of maintaining the bases (from the military's point of view, an "opportunity cost") can only reach a level so high that the military itself will have to "decide" to take its adventures elsewhere (because the adventures themselves will never stop--they define the United States as a political entity).

How else to explain the comedy currently unfolding in Afghanistan?

Posted by: alabama | Dec 14 2008 23:34 utc | 49

We're talking in circles but perhaps Don Bacon it would be wiser to ask yourself why it is that amerikan pols refuse to provide a copy of a publicly available (in Iraq where it was tabled in the Parliament) document, than continue to question the credibility of Patrick Cockburn who has been living in and reporting from Iraq since before this whole shitstorm begun.
Unlike any amerikan pol I can think of Cockburn who has covered every inch of this horror has not been caught out in a deliberate lie.
He has access to many capable and honest translators and has spoken with a diverse range of Iraqis who who have read the SoFA.
When the first edition of the SoFA was put up for signing by the Iraqi parliament back in March, amerika trumpeted it's contents across the world, and it has only been in the last few weeks when the agreement (it was agreed between heads of government in amerika and Iraq before it went to the Iraqi legislature) but now they try to say this publicly available (in Arabic) document is secret.

Use your head man. Why hasn't the champion of all the news that's fit to print or whatever the lie on their masthead is, the NYT hired a translator and published the thing? For the same reason they published lies about WMD and more recently about Iran (in those cases arabic and farsi translators were easy to find), they don't want to upset the applecart.
Of course part of the plan or one element of foreign policy on the run as practised by the empire will be to keep the contents quiet to deny the SoFA legitimacy should the opportunity present, but the amount of resources and time which has gone into trying to get a document signed which gives the amerikan presense legitimacy suggests that even the gung-ho factions in state and the pentagon see an agreement to get the fuck outta Dodge as being a major obstacle.
They are playing for time, time to come up with a subversive play, but as I wrote above they're unlikely to have more suitable conditions in the future than now, or time to let amerikans down slowly.

Look - the only thing which would allow a change of attitude by Iraqis, the population whose opinion Maliki is careful to heed, would be if there was a huge turn-around in the Iraqi economic situation.
But what chance is there of amerika spending the billions required to repair the damage that has been done to Iraq's infrastructure when they need what they can spare, what ever is left over from paying off the elites, to rebuild amerika's infrastructure. Do you really think amerikan shit kickers would be happy to see Iraq get roads, hospitals, power stations and schools ahead of amerikan infrastructure needs?

The direct attacks on military targets have slowed somewhat but now the Iraqi resistance is concentrating on high value targets such as the embedded anthropologists in the direly named "Human Terrain System" program which is quietly coming unstuck anyhow.

The failure of HTS puts the military option back on the table as being the only means of subjugating Iraqis. Except of course there are gonna be less amerikan murderers and rapists in Iraq to do that subjugation by force. That in turn means those remaining are expected to achieve with much less resources a goal they didn't come close to attaining when amerika's number one priority, mind, and resources were concentrated on getting there.

As so many have said time will tell. I am going to continue to celebrate the Iraqi victory because whatever we may think, most pols live by the precept that "Perception is reality"; so as well as the power given to Iraqis by shouting from the roof top that amerika has agreed in writing to get all military assets out within 3 years, in the meantime not to use any forces to attack other countries, making this back-down (surrender really) by the Iraqis public will assist in reinforcing the perception that the Iraqis have won, and that will speed up the acceptance of that fact by the political class in amerika and allies.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 15 2008 0:38 utc | 50>Reporter throws his shoes at Bush at press conference

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 15 2008 2:51 utc | 51

I wish I could believe Patrick Cockburn and DiD are correct. But its beginning to like like they are not. Perhaps the written terms are favorable to Iraq. But if the agreement will be amended at will, then it really doesn't matter.


Yesterday, top US military commander in Iraq General Ray Odierno said that, though the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) explicitly requires all US forces to be out of Iraqi cities by June 30, he expects troops will remain in the cities past that date. The Sadr bloc’s Liwaa Sumeissim said this underscored their belief that the US doesn’t feel bound by the pact, and that he expects the US to use any pretext to keep forces in Iraq beyond that 2011 deadline as well.

And once again, the Iraqi government seems to have little objection with the US going back on one of the key tenets of the SOFA it sold to parliament. The Iraqi Defense Ministry says that US troops will be allowed to remain in cities past the deadline with permission from the Iraqi government. The permission to flout the terms of the SOFA seems remarkably easy for the US to obtain, leaving open the question of which clauses of the pact will carry any weight going forward.

The parliamentary bloc of Shi’ite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stood as the primary opponents of the SOFA, which narrowly passed late last month. The bloc said the SOFA would legitimize the US occupation, and expressed skepticism that the US would honor the terms at any rate. The last few days have only strengthened that case.

And on Friday Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, at a Pentagon press briefing, was already speaking of keeping American forces in Iraq past the 2011 “firm” deadline the SOFA dictates

The original has additional links.

Posted by: Lysander | Dec 15 2008 6:16 utc | 52

We share disdain for US military actions but our understanding of "victory" and our predictions for the future differ. If Obama were trumpeting the SOFA it would be one thing, but Mr. Change doesn't even mention it, and for good reason: the Pentagon has told him to accept the inevitable. The SOFA in fact doesn't even exist in the US, does it.

What the Iraqis want? It's of little consequence, and more US troop deaths are merely proof that they need to stay (the thinking goes). It's for US security and freedom, blah blah blah.

As the Spanish say: vamos a ver.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 15 2008 22:54 utc | 53

Very late to the party...

Thanks for this thread, DiD, excellent contributions by all. I wish we had been more rigorous at the beginning defining "success" so that we don't argue apples and oranges. I tend to more cynically fall into the oppposition camp to your thesis, but as we all agree, time will tell. This seems the end of act three, with a minimum, it seems to me, of two to follow.

Recent articles (supporting the less sanguine interpretation):

US Military Defiant on Key Terms of Iraqi Pact by the usually reliable Gareth Porter

Iraq official puppet says U.S. troops might be needed for a decade [only?]

And finally, Dahr Jamail on the quality of NYTimes reporting of Iraq

Posted by: Malooga | Dec 20 2008 6:07 utc | 54

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