Out by 2010

"A senior British official said Maliki’s unity government will speed the handover of security control from U.S.-led forces to Iraqis, letting London bring some troops home by mid-year.

Three years after the invasion to topple Saddam, the United States has some 133,000 troops in Iraq while the British troop strength is around 7,000, mainly patrolling Iraq’s south.

At least 2,450 U.S. soldiers and 111 British troops have been killed in Iraq since 2003, and both countries are keen to start drawing down their military presence.

"The aim is to take Iraq to a position where the multinational force is able to withdraw during its (the government’s) period in office," said a British official, accompanying Blair on his fifth visit to Iraq since the war."  Reuters


US and British policy in Iraq has rested on two assumptions:

– The insurgencies have little or no popular support.

– The successful completion of a fair and open democratic political process will bring an end to both the unsupported (sic) insurgencies and sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia Arabs in the country.

A minor theme that has emerged recently is found in the pronouncements of LTG Chiarelli , USA who has been saying from Baghdad that the violence is motivated largely by unemployment.  This is the same officer who during a previous tour of duty in Iraq insisted that there were really no important differences between the Sunni and Shia communities, and that they all saw themselves as "Iraqis together."

The claim that the insurgents do not have significant public support is nonsensical.  They could not exist without significant support in various forms.

The belief that political process will halt the violence appears to be based on the notion that the ethno-religious communities do not have real and differing interests, and that what has happened in Iraq is somehow a matter of mis-communication which can be straightened out by lawyering things into shape.

I don’t think any of that is true, but now we are going to know for sure and I, for one, would be glad to be proven wrong in my pessimism.

Pat Lang


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13 Responses to Out by 2010

  1. jonst says:

    Many ‘senior officials’ have gone from their deceptive period to their delusional one.
    I just finished reading the Red Tsar (a stunning and incredible book by the way about my candidate for the most terrible son of bitch in modern history. And that is saying something ). Anyway….I would argue you could see clearly in the book that the Russian leaders of the 20’s 30’s and 40’s understood that their propaganda was just that, propaganda. They approached it with the prerequisite level of cynicism. It was something to toss the masses but not something to be believed by the leadership.
    I would argue that as the leadership got to the 60s and 70s they began to believe their own propaganda. Hence the term deceptive to the delusional. The delusional phase is a much more deadly one.

  2. wtofd says:

    jonst, that’s consistent with the repetition ad nauseum of their inaccurate talking points and the “mission shifts” (from WMD and AQ to spreading democracy). I wonder if another explanation might be their overly hopeful view of “their” intelligence and planning. The They’ll Join on Us on the Road to Take Baghdad false presumption.

  3. jonst says:

    I was watching Nir Rosen and Ahmed Hashim, (the latter teaches at the Naval War College, I believe,)on C-Span last night. The picture they painted of the Iraq, and perhaps, more important, of the entire region was not comforting. To say the least. They imply things are going to get much worse, and the war may spread beyond the borders of Iraq. Then, right after they were done speaking the ‘news’ came on ABC. Bush was coming out to announce how fine things were going to be now that Iraq had a govt (assuming of course, you rule out the vital national security cabinet posts). I swear….I thought, and think, one of us is nuts. He was beaming….it one of the moments where a chill runs down your spine as you silent say to yourself: “this really gonna spin out of control, far beyond what we see.These guys are clueless”. Or, as noted, one of us is.

  4. zanzibar says:

    The polls have both Bush and Blair with the Iraq anchor around their neck.
    As the public as measured by the polls have turned decisively against the Iraq misadventure, I believe we will see more and more pronouncements that things are going swimmingly fine. After all it is a PR issue. We should definitely expect a token withdrawal timed for the mid-terms with all the festoons of victory.
    I wonder with the Iran disinformation campaign well underway with false stories that all Jews in Iran must now wear a yellow marker and the Bush supporting PMs of Australia and Canada repeating that canard, if the Bush-Cheney administration will now really ratchet up the fear rhetoric of “mushroom clouds” emanating from Iran. Nov is just a short few months away and the battle for congress will see an all out assault soon.
    What happened to all the orange terror threat alerts that were so prevalent before the 2004 election?

  5. Eric says:

    In A “Long War”, everyone should have a good calendar.
    Here is one:
    The Iraq War has been going on 1158 days. WWII, For America, lasted 1347 days. In WWII terms, it’s time now for the liberation of Paris.
    What amazes me, I guess, is that the Iraqis haven’t gone full-scale berserk.
    Three scorching summers going on four. Unemployment, according to one knowledgeable recent talking head at 60%. Food spoilage due to inadequte refrigeration. Spotty electricity for other equally needed usages, such as lighting and air conditioning.
    These people must calm themselves by reading Zen in the dark.

  6. Patrick Henry says:

    Just listened to Major Gen. John Batiste discuss the Policy and Planning and Decisions..made OVER IRAQ .on .”Hardball..”
    Good Interview..He sounds like a Good Man..who Cares about Good Leadership..and the Best for the TROOPERS..
    He was very critical of Don Rumsfeld..
    .and how poorly people around Him.. have served the President..
    They talked about hopeful signs that bush is going to make some appropiate changes..
    But they wondered why the continued loyaltys and bond between .President bush and Don Rumsfeld..
    I think thats the tightest Bond and the core of thier Inner Circle..
    I think one of those bonds is the one thing they all have in Most in Common..
    When it came TO The
    Planning and Operational proceedures and Decisions..
    (POOR PLANNING..We`all kinow)
    Thier One Common Thread..
    What MOTIVATED Them..??.
    What was “THE PLAN..?”
    Like the General Said..
    “Its about Accountability”
    And No ones Been held accountable..”

  7. canuck says:

    Possibly sooner:

    A statement issued by the Iraqi and British governments said: “By the end of this year, responsibility for much of Iraq’s territorial security should have been transferred to Iraqi control.”


  8. Norbert Schulz says:

    The other point is how long after that it will take until Iraq re-emerges on the US enemy list. I do strongly doubt that, despite persistent US meddling and armtwisting, a pro-US gvt will come out in the end.
    As for now, the current one started with joing the Arab embargo against Israel, to the deep delight of the neo-cons I presume.

  9. Norbert Schulz says:

    … and of course, british meddling, …

  10. zanzibar says:

    “Nuri al-Maliki, the new Iraqi prime minister, had a surprise for Tony Blair and his entourage in Baghdad yesterday. At a joint press conference, Mr Maliki said British troops would hand over responsibility in two provinces to Iraqi security forces by next month and that he expected US, British and other foreign troops out of 16 of the country’s 18 provinces by the end of the year, a much speedier and more ambitious schedule than the US and Britain have so far admitted to.”
    Withdrawal Sooner??

  11. canuck says:

    A more realistic article about how long it will be before the troops can come home:
    Mercury News

  12. canuck says:

    correction: ‘of news’ Dratted keyboard keeps making stupid errors. 🙂

  13. Curious says:

    (note: sorry, I posted the other one on wrong thread.)
    I don’t know where to put this. but this is a pretty good ground indicator.
    VOA is pulling out of Iraq.
    The Voice of America’s bureau in Baghdad has been closed for the past six months, ever since the government-funded agency withdrew its only reporter in Iraq after she was fired upon in an ambush and her security guard was later killed.
    All Western news organizations have struggled with the dangerous conditions in Iraq, which have led to such high-profile incidents as the kidnapping of Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll and the wounding of ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff. But for a federally funded information service to pull out of Baghdad for such a prolonged period raises questions about the Bush administration’s insistence that conditions there are gradually improving.

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