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04 November 2011

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The Moar You Know

“Everyone involved, Iraqi and American, knew that the 2008 SOFA calling for full U.S. withdrawal was meant to be renegotiated. ”

Convenient how he ignores the indisputable fact that, when presented with endless opportunities to renegotiate the agreement, the Iraqis refused to do so.

Many folks would say that Krauthammer is an idiot. I respectfully disagree. He's just taking another page out of Nixon's Vietnam playbook and looking to pin Bush's failure onto the Democratic party. Given Democratic proclivity to curl into a ball, weep in terror and repeatedly apologize rather than fight back against Republican smears, this is a good stratagem, and it is almost certain to work.

Charles

Krauthammer is probably talking to the same Iraqis I have talked to who desperately wanted a limited number of US troops to remain -- Kurd and Shii both. They recognize that neither Germany nor Japan became satrapies because US troops remained, but have real reason to fear external influences like Iran who have infiltrated with both intelligence and direct action forces. All they needed was a little wiggle of an eyebrow from the administration to give them some cover and they would have welcomed a new agreement. Now they are left on their own. Maybe they will survive, but we certainly gave up any opportunity to help them. Hope they fare better than the ones we abandoned in '73.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

You’re a laser beam shining through the claptrap.

I am slow learner and totally naive. But, it is human nature to struggle to try to make sense out of the world. Perhaps life is totally senseless, random crashes of uncontrollable physical forces.

Nevertheless; a couple of themes seem to be playing out in the 21st Century:

First, American foreign policy in the Middle East is directed by Israel contrary to the best interests of a North American nation; i.e. the invasion of Iraq or the future attack of Iran’s nuclear sites.

Second, Multi-National Corporations & Banks along with the 0.01% have seized control of the governments in the Western World. They don’t give a damn if the Greeks are sold out, if there is 18.2 % real unemployment in the USA, or if our troops pull 14 tours before they die.

If the past is any guide; sooner or later, government by and for the people will be restored, either by the Ballot Box or by the Guillotine.

Matthew

Austria would "shock the world by the depth of its ingratitude."

--atrrib. to Prinz Felix zu Schwarzenberg

He had called for Russian help to suppress the Hungarian revolt in 1848 and to block German ambitions. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Felix_of_Schwarzenberg

Neo-cons cannot accept that other people have dreams too. That's why they are always surprised.

oofda

Brett McGurk had an excellent op-ed in the Post today alongside Krathammer's. He offers that those like Krauthammer who think U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq is a failure and a victory for Iran couldn't be more wrong. He points out that the democratic government in Iraq, while perhaps not entirely to our liking, is what the Iraqis voted for, and a victory in itself. We had no choice- and this is under an agreement the Bush Adminisration negotiated in 2008.
He underscores this in the following:


"The decision to complete our withdrawal was not the result of a failed negotiation but rather the byproduct of an independent Iraq that has an open political system and a 325-member parliament, whose proceedings are televised daily. U.S. and Iraqi legal experts determined that any new accord required parliamentary approval to ensure U.S. troops would be immune from Iraqi laws. No bloc in parliament other than the Kurds supported that requirement.

Consequently, our trying to force an agreement through the Iraqi parliament would have been self-destructive. That had nothing to do with Iran and everything to do with Iraqi pride, history and nationalism. Even the most staunchly anti-Iranian Iraqi officials refused to publicly back a residual U.S. force — and in the end, they supported our withdrawal."

Matthew

Charles: "Hope they fare better than the ones we abandoned in '73."

For every Iraqi who wants America to stay, hundreds--if not thousands--want us to go. Argument by anecdote is not argument at all.

Green Zone Cafe

I thought McGurk was spot-on, too. He is a long time Iraq hand.

The Iraqis need a catharsis marking the end of the occupation. There will be a ceremony at the end of the year, with American participation and Iraqi thanks for US service. I agree with McGurk that the US gains more by honoring its commitment than trying to wrangle a tortured executive agreement, which was being talked about earlier this year, even as weak as a simple memorandum between ministries of defense.

The next months will be hairy, but it's their country. Look to the NATO SOFA - it also expires 31 December. If renewed with the immunity it now has, American troops may be back - in the limited training role - next year.

walrus

The Moar you know:

"Many folks would say that Krauthammer is an idiot. I respectfully disagree. He's just taking another page out of Nixon's Vietnam playbook and looking to pin Bush's failure onto the Democratic party. Given Democratic proclivity to curl into a ball, weep in terror and repeatedly apologize rather than fight back against Republican smears, this is a good stratagem, and it is almost certain to work."

The Democrats and Republicans are just Two sides of the same coin. If you think the Democrats are for the 99%, think again.

Matthew:

"Austria would "shock the world by the depth of its ingratitude."

--atrrib. to Prinz Felix zu Schwarzenberg "

Bismarck to Wimpfen after Sedan when France was pleading for honourable capitulation and Prussian generosity:

"one should not, in general, rely on gratitude, and especially not on that of a people."

I wish Condi Rice and others had read their Bismarck. Iraq, Afghanistan and now Greece and probably Italy. We are still stupid enough to expect gratitude for our tender ministrations?

Spend some time in Britain and you will find that there are a lot of the older upper class generation there that are deeply resentful and envious of Americas "rescue" of Britain in WWII and subsequent rise.


arbogast

The Iran-Iraq war never ended. The US came in on the side of Iran and ended it.

What is eating away at Krauthammer is the idea that the shleppers are leaving the ME. The moment has passed. Juan Cole's most recent post points out that it will be nearly impossible for Israel to open hostilities against Iran.

Israel will have to and will learn to live with its neighbors. It is not impossible. Teeth gnashing will be left to the capable jaws of the Krauthammers of the world.

turcopolier

Arbogast

The US did not "come in on the side of Iran." The iraqis attacked massively on the ground and ended the war. Iran accepted the UN sponsored cease fire with iraqi forces on Iranian territory everywhere. They did this because both the iranian Army and IRGC had been largely destroyed as fighting forces. They haad no heavy eqjuipment left after the final Iraqi offensives. IMO opinion Israel is committed to dominating its neighbors, not "living with them.' The only thing holding Israel back from attacking Iran is the unwillngness of the US to join in. I was unaware of Juan's military credentials. pl

William R. Cumming

My guess is events now fully in the saddle and after the next 12-18 months is over none in US leadership circles will be worrying about Iran, Iraq, or Israel. The Triple I's have had their time in the sunshine and now some really big boys are about to play for keeps. IMO of course and could be wrong.

The stakes again are largely over the Eurasian heartland and control over its resources. The USA will be lucky if at the end of the century it still is the leading power in the Western Hemisphere. Long term drought looking as though it might just be dustbowl times again in parts of the USA. Certainly drought will be on the agenda of the world for the rest of the century and beyond.

And in the meantime radioactive debris floats towards Hawaii. Perhaps the Navy will be able to sink it by bombing?

And events in the ARCTIC OCEAN about to get really interesting as the USA dithers over building new icebreakers!

Babak Makkinejad

There is snow ball's chance in Hell of any Iraqi Government would agreeing to consular capitulation; colonialism is over.

eakens

The plus is that with our troops out, there will be fewer targets for Iran and its proxies when the war officially starts.

Perhaps that's why we're leaving. After all, why start respecting agreements and international laws and protocol now after all the BS of the past decade?

Redhand

Well Col. Lang, I commend you for getting through the whole column, in a "You read these morons so I don't have to" kind of way.

The first five words, "'Who lost Iraq?' Barack Obama," told me all I needed to know, except that "in January 2009, he was handed a war that was won."

If Iraq was an American "victory" I'd hate to see what a defeat looks like. A war more meaningless, and self-defeating, than Iraq is hard to imagine. It was a crime that we ever invaded the place.

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