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July 08, 2008

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Imagine if Iran ordered a co-ordinated blockade of the Green Zone. Helicopters on roofs indeed!

Well, all right, but this:

...even those ambivalent about withdrawal would be forced to concede to the harshness of reality.

The only man whose opinion on this matters, in the final analysis, is George W. Bush. And he has shown no sign whatsoever, in the last five years, of "conceding to the harshness of reality" when our Iraq policy is in question. He was given a major wake-up call by the Iraq Study Group. He responded to their recommendations by doing the opposite -- ordering "the Surge".

George W. Bush is not leaving Iraq, no matter what the conditions on the ground may be.

George W. Bush is not leaving Iraq, no matter what the conditions on the ground may be.

Look, it probably won't come to this because Sistani recognizes that Bush is a lame duck, but if he called on Shiites to openly revolt against the occupation, it might not matter what Bush "wants."

Even he would have little option with the Green Zone overrun, the elected government calling for our departure and casualties going through the roof.

Wow. I strongly suspect that one reason that Bush was so eager to invade Iraq was to provide political cover for his capitulating to Osama Bin Laden's principal demand in the wake of the September 11 attacks: the withdrawal of American military bases from Saudi Arabia.

I am amazed that Bush has gotten a pass on this act of appeasement/capitulation.

Has Senator McCain weighed in on this, or would that require withdrawing his head from his hindquarters?

What Maliki, Sistani, or any Iraqi wants is irrelevant.

So long as any American faces the twin specters of slightly higher marginal rates of income tax, and gay marriage, we must stay.

So long as the shadow of a Democrat White House and a Democrat Congress falls across our great land, we must stay.

Iraq -- not so much a war, as the world's most expensive campaign commercial

Wow.

So is the next step for Maliki to request that the UN Security Council extend the current figleaf into 2009?

I'm wary that this from Rubaie
There should not be any permanent bases in Iraq unless these bases are under Iraqi control

might mean a decorative Iraqi guard outside our mega bases containing a "residual force" of 40-60,000 troops.

But, hey, it's a step forward. We, meaning U.S. citizens, have to be the ones to get the Obama administration to negotiate a complete withdrawal. But the rhetorical climate for that is greatly improved by Iraqi assertions of sovereignty.

"The only man whose opinion on this matters, in the final analysis, is George W. Bush."

January 20, 2009 is only 195 days, 13 hours, and, ah, about 19 minutes away.

If Sistani says go, we go. It's that simple.

With the exception of one very short ambiguous period, IIRC when the Shrine got bombed, Sistani has been telling the US to get the hell out of his country since the day we got there. Or rather telling us in indirect ways, since he doesn't talk to us.

"What do you want from the US? Just leave."

Maybe Sistani could force us out with 2 million surrounding the Green Zone, but very likely thousands would die, so he probably won't take measures like calling a jihad that can't be refused. I think Sistani is totally honest & sincere, but I also think Sistani knows pretty precisely the consequences of his measured statements. He wants us to leave, but he will take care for his people.

Bush doesn't have to listen. Obama can, if he wants to, use Sistani as an excuse.

There would be a real risk of helicopters on rooftops and the like.

And Eric, you don't really want to imagine Sistani trying to militarily force the Americans out of Iraq, say if McCain wins. Andrew Olmsted wrote at least one post about "forced withdrawal plans".

Iraq -- not so much a war, as the world's most expensive campaign commercial.

Yup. When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Every reason ever offered for the invasion of Iraq has proved to have been impossible. So we must conclude that Dick and Dubya's Excellent Adventure was motivated by domestic political considerations. It was never about who wins 'over there' but always about who 'wins' over here. The prize was never oil per se, for supplying cheap oil to us proles is not the GOP's goal. The prize was always elimination of the 'death tax', the corporate profits tax, and (if the Splendid Little War went really well) the Holy Grail of Republicanism: elimination of Social Security as we know it. Just after the 2004 election, please note, Dubya evidently thought the Iraq War was going really, really well.

-- TP

It was never about who wins 'over there' but always about who 'wins' over here.

God damn. I hadn't really thought about this but I think you have a point.

You're making me cry, dude.

The prize was never oil per se, for supplying cheap oil to us proles is not the GOP's goal.

Putting on my tinfoil hat for a moment, I always thought the point of seizing the "oil prize" in Iraq was supplying cheap profits to the balance sheets of the American oil companies who would be handed the right to pump the black gold out of Iraqi soil, rather than having anything to do with the price of gas-o-line paid at the pump by us proles. Especially since the oil in question is a widely traded commodity sold into a globalized market with very sophisticated futures contracts and all, such that by the time it finishes working its way through the supply chain the gas price comes out about the same regardless of exactly who is doing the actual pumping at the wellhead (and collecting the profits thereof).

That doesn't make much sense as an explanation for the war tho', because it would have required that the administration convene a conspiratorial meeting with those same oil companies to hash out a plan to sieze these oil reserves before they led us down the road to war, a sort of "energy task force" as it were. And of course those meetings would have needed to be behind closed doors and kept secret so the real reasons for the war wouldn't come out.

But none of that happened, so I'm sure my conjecture is all wrong. Hopefully someday historians will sort it out.

This is potentially a very positive development. It gives us the perfect face-saving opportunity to withdraw. Our ally, the Iraqi government, asked us to. We respected their sovereignty and complied. Obviously they would not want us to leave unless they considered the war won, so it is obvious that we won and are leaving on honorable terms. What is there not to like?

With the exception of one very short ambiguous period, IIRC when the Shrine got bombed, Sistani has been telling the US to get the hell out of his country since the day we got there.

I don't necessarily agree with this. I think Sistani has been very clear all along that he favors an eventual full US withdrawal, but his main concern has always been the maintenance and preservation of Iraq's Shia community, and the establishment of a Shia controlled government as a means to that end.

Or, to put it another way, Sistani's first order concern has always been the relationship between the people and their clerics. The relationship between the people and the state is second order.

...so, the extent that Sistani has viewed the presence of US troops as necessary to facilitate the establishment of a Shia government under his auspices, he has been willing to grant legitimacy to that presence, though of course always making clear that such legitimacy was grudging and very temporary.

What Duss said.

Obama: "I think it's encouraging ... that the prime minister himself now acknowledges that in cooperation with Iraq, it's time for American forces to start sending out a timeframe for the withdrawal."

Via Badger. As a commenter there points out, while this is a splendid opportunity for Obama to seize on the Iraqi demand for withdrawal to make a smooth transition to his policy, his policy and the Iraqis' are not as close as mine and the Iraqis'.

Rubaie and I, and millions of Iraqis and Americans with us, want the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq -- military and mercenary.

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Whatnot


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