Sunday, October 19, 2008


Meanwhile, back in Iraq, the US still hasn't closed the deal to extend its mandate for occupying Iraq beyond the UN deadline of December 31. Negotiations with Iraq once again appear to be at an impasse, and it's beginning to look like the Iraqi Parliament may very well not approve any deal which allows US forces to remain until 2011, with or without immunity from Iraqi law. One Iraqi leader in particular is working to ensure that the plan is dashed, according to this article in today's Los Angeles Times.

Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr warned Iraqi lawmakers that approving a U.S. troop agreement would be tantamount to a betrayal of the Iraqi people, as his supporters rallied Saturday against the deal.

As many as 20,000 protesters shouted, "No, no, America!" in a visceral display of the deep apprehension among Iraqis over the security pact that would extend the U.S. military presence in Iraq after a United Nations mandate expires in December. ...

"They have portrayed this agreement in a manner as if it would end the presence of the occupation on our land, but the occupiers will remain with their bases, and anyone who tells you that this agreement will make us sovereign is a liar," Sadr said in a statement that was read by Sheik Abdul Hadi Mohamedawi to a sea of people waving red, white and black Iraqi flags.

I'm reasonably certain that the Bush Administration's spin on all of this will be that Muqtada Sadr is just jockeying for power in Iraq, but the fact of the matter is that the Iraqi people just want us out, now. And that's certainly not hard to understand. We've made a shambles of that country to the point that after five years of occupation the country still doesn't have reliable electricity and water. They still can't count on being safe in their homes, even during the holy month of Ramadan.

The depth of the Iraqi anger was eloquently expressed in an editorial in Kitabat, an Iraqi newspaper, after its author confirmed that a large family was wiped out by a missile allegedly fired by the US. His visceral response is remarkable.

Get out of our country, you killers, today and not tomorrow. You and all that came with you are among the followers of Al Qaeda, the international terrorists, and the mercenaries who sell their parents for a cheap dollar. ...

Our weariness which we live with every day and every night is dark and without water or electricity or food to satisfy the mouths of our children! Our weariness is the tears of our orphans who dream of a game or new clothes or a piece of candy. Our weariness is cancer, hepatitis, and cholera. These are the exotic diseases that followed your great liberation of us! These serious diseases, which were transferred to us, consumed the bodies of the poor and those with disabilities and injuries. We either die of a disease or hunger or under bombs of your planes. ...

America, get out from our country and give us a chance to heal our wounds and remedy our pain and to build our shacks and provide for our orphans. We are totally incapable of confronting you with the sophisticated weapons which you have used to killed us. But we will confront you with our words ...

Heckuva job, George.



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