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June 17, 2008

So Be It

Roy Meachum

Iraq was never about military success; the war has always been a political mess: unwinnable at its best. That truth trumped all American pretensions from the start. But U.S. deaths settled down to a point when the casualties could be tolerated by the public. More or less.


As last week ended, the White House received a mighty comeuppance from the Baghdad leaders Washington claimed relied upon us for freedom and democracy. Forget Moqtada al-Sadr and the Sunni insurgency generated by al-Qaeda in Iraq. America's chief sycophant declared the urgent security talks "at a dead end and deadlock."


Considered by many in the Muslim world as George W. Bush's puppet, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stressed "the importance of sovereignty" in blasting "the possibility that Iraq will be chained by agreements." With national elections scheduled for later this year, in both countries, Iraqi politicians desperately must avoid appearing as lackeys for the occupation. That way lies booting out of public life and probable assassination.


You can ignore assurances and reassurances along the line that Iraq gets better and better every day. It's not happening. All but the brashest, most desperate insurgents learned long ago there's no point standing up to the invaders who have newer, more lethal forces. Besides, their money is good.


Your taxpayer dollars now go to pay off Sunnis; at $300 a month they agree to control violence, at their own convenience. If not convenient, they walk away. In addition, the Bush/Cheney administration ponies up weapons, which are accepted with the certain expectation they will be vital for standing up to competitors, after the American "crusaders" vanish. And they will, sooner or later. It's a given.


The only certain winners are the Iranians. Expectations they will rule through Baghdad are dead wrong. As demonstrated throughout the history of the land once known as Mesopotamia, outsiders are not welcome; they are useful chiefly in fighting off other outsiders. Iranians' position improves only by comparison, to Western countries. And so it goes.


Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, "pope" to the country's Shiite majority, did not deliver Friday's sermon in the "holy city of Karbala;" his chief aide did. "Iraq's sovereignty and economy must be protected," the text asserted.


Not surprisingly, the line out of the Sadrist camp charges the side-railed security talks really intend to "cement the (U.S.) foothold in the Middle East." Americans were again accused of manipulation: "This agreement is a project of domination and control."


Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post columnist, wrote Friday "Make the Election About Iraq." He wishes Iraq were the end-all-be-all of November's presidential voting. Again I find myself distressed that intelligent people can be so blind. But all of us listen only to the lute singers that please us.


In scrambling hopelessly to save their own political necks against their aroused electorate, Iraq's leaders promise to tear down their American backers, Mr. Krauthammer included.


So be it.

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