November 28, 2008

Did We Win?

Jonathan Steel in The Guardian examines the latest US-Iraq agreement:
It is remarkable for the number and scope of the concessions that the Iraqi government has managed to get from the Bush administration. They amount to a series of U-turns that spell the complete defeat of the neoconservative plan to turn Iraq into a pro-western ally and a platform from which to project US power across the Middle East.

The title gives the game away - Agreement on the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organisation of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq. Remember how Bush (and his ally, Gordon Brown) constantly rejected any "artificial timetables" for pulling out the troops. Everything had to be "conditions-based", meaning that no dates could be given in advance since all depended on whether Iraq's own forces were ready to fill the gap. It was an elastic formula that allowed Washington to delay a withdrawal for ever.

That has gone by the board. The agreement stipulates that "all US forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31 2011". More remarkably, all combat troops will leave Iraqi towns and villages and go back to base by the end of June next year. Pause for a moment and take that in. Six years and three months after the invasion, Iraqi streets will be a US-free zone again.

Iraq will have a veto over all US military operations. A clause added at the last minute after pressure from Iran says that Iraqi land, sea and air may not be used as a launch pad or transit point for attacks on other countries. The Iraqi government eagerly took up the point after US helicopters flew into Syria and attacked a compound there last month, claiming it was a base from which foreign fighters entered Iraq. Iraq joined Syria in protesting against the raid.

Under the withdrawal agreement, no Iraqi can be arrested by US forces except with permission from Iraqi authorities, and every Iraqi who is arrested in these circumstances must be handed to Iraqi forces within 24 hours. The tens of thousands of detainees in US custody must either be released or turned over to the Iraqis immediately. US troops may not enter or search any Iraqi house without an Iraqi judge's warrant, except if they are conducting a joint combat operation with the Iraqi military.

US contractors - the armed mercenaries in their SUVs whom Iraqis hate even more than the American military - will lose their immunity and be subject to Iraqi law, a development that is already prompting many security firms to start pulling out. US troops who rape Iraqi women or commit any other crime while off duty and off base will have to stand trial in Iraqi courts.

The deal gives Iraq's national resistance almost everything it fought for.
Of course, signing an agreement is one thing. Abiding by it is another.

But it's clear the US public, at least, has no more stomach for this war.

In other words, I think we might have won. Time will tell.

5 comments:

Bukko_in_Australia said...

Can we really be said to have won when there's a million bodies under the dust, though? I suppose it's a win in terms of how it prevents another million from joining them. But I worry now about a Kampuchea in the sand. The IraKilling Fields...

gandhi said...

No disrespect, Bukko. You know I appreciate all your input to this blog.

But I don't think you appreciate where I am coming from these days.

Everything is dark. When I say "Did We Win?" I assume that "WTF Does It Matter Anyway etc" is assumed.

A million dead. Damned right.

And ???, I know it makes no sense and is not logically coherent and intellectually beautiful.

I wish I had the time and energy to closely archive the dying days of this criminal administration.

But I dont.

Circumstances overtake us all.

gandhi said...

And when I say, "Maybe Obama will fix things" what I mean is "There is at least a mathematical possibility of this happening, for which we should be grateful."

Because otherwise there is...?

Bukko_in_Australia said...

Oh, I got your dark drift, that there is no "winning" even though the goal of getting U.S. invasion troops out of the Babylon Oil Colony might be achieved in the next three years or so. (Sick, isn't it, how Bush manages to both tie Obama's hands with a pre-emptive agreement that "O" has no part in, while guaranteeing that U.S. soldiers will keep killing for years to come?) I predict they'll be out of there sooner, as things fall apart inside the U.S. and the cost of keeping a huge army of mercenaries in a distant land becomes superfluous to the crisis at home.

Sorry to hear it's darkening for you. I hope it's not the health of you or your family. Financial setbacks can be overcome in the long run. If that's what it is, take whatever heart you can in the notion that so many other people will be in the same leaky boat as you. Hopefully, people will bail each other out.

Our dinky-di friends here had to auction their house yesterday. While they're pleased to have gotten over 700K for it (they had nightmares about a failed auction) it's still a shocker to have to move to a rental when you're over 60 and newly retired. She's having to do clerical temp jobs and he's going for job interviews at places that pay less than half his old managerial salary. It's like being in the position of a 20-year-old when they're grandparent age.

Although we know intellectually what's coming, it doesn't make it any easier to have it unfold in our own lives. It's like warning for years "We're headed off a cliff" and then grabbing helplessly for a handhold as we slide over the edge we saw all along. You know what's happening, but you're powerless to stop it. It will sweep the world, and grind billions under the wheels. And the sad fact is, the bastards at the top who made it happen will be insulated from the worst of it, unless terrorists find where they live and kill some of them. Sad to think that the only hope for "justice" is murder.

gandhi said...

Murder is not justice.

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