02-19-2017  7:57 pm      •     

The national discussion concerning Iraq has taken some very peculiar turns. Ever since the Bush administration launched its Baghdad "surge" (increased U.S. troop presence in Baghdad in order to crush the Iraqi resistance) the discussion has revolved around whether there should be a surge; whether a surge will succeed; and how long it should last.
This all misses the point. Whether this surge or any surge succeeds and defeats the Iraqi resistance is actually beside the point. The issue is that the war itself is wrong and has been since it was first launched.
Some people of good will have suggested that the surge, and for that matter continued U.S. military involvement in Iraq, are critical because otherwise Iraq will completely disintegrate. My first response is simple: Have you been watching what has been playing out ever since the United States invaded?
My second response is better explained through this analogy. Let's suppose that someone informed the police that there were drugs in your home. In the middle of the night the police bang down the door and invade your home, ransacking it in search of drugs; handcuffing you and your family and taking you to jail; seizing your money and other assets. Members of your family have been abused, and are traumatized as a result of imprisonment. 
Then, one day, it is "discovered" that there never were any drugs in your home. The police never apologize, but they do TELL you that they will rebuild your home according to specifications that THEY decide. They will set you and your family free, but there will, nevertheless, be periodic police visits to your home. They will return your money, but they insist that they will tell you how and where to spend it.
Would you call that a good deal? Would you want the police to stay around? Would you trust the police to rebuild your home?
What we, in the United States, cannot step around is a very simple fact, a fact that should control all other facts: we had no legal basis to invade Iraq and none to remain as occupier. The pretexts for the invasion were falsehoods, spread by the Bush administration in order to create fear here in the United States and elsewhere. 
One cannot correct this illegal action by insisting on staying in Iraq until things get "better." Even if the Iraqi resistance is militarily defeated, it will prove nothing more than that the United States has a stronger military force. The bottom line, which comes through in opinion poll after opinion poll of the Iraqi people, is that they want the United States out of Iraq.
For this reason, the failure of most of the presidential candidates to declare themselves in favor of an immediate withdrawal is unconscionable. Just as the police would be unable to correct their unjustified action of invading your home by staying around and rebuilding your home according to how THEY would like to see it, so too is it the case that the United States will never be able to build trust and stability even if it succeeds in defeating the Iraqi resistance.
What is the most likely scenario if the United States announced it intended to withdraw from Iraq? Most probably the United Nations, along with Iraq's neighbors, would get directly involved in peace and reconciliation talks. They would not have a cloud over them as acting in the interests of the United States, a problem that haunts all parties who might currently wish to assist in bringing about peace in Iraq as long as the United States remains entrenched in that country.

Bill Fletcher Jr. is a senior scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies.

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all
Carpentry Professionals
Calendar

PHOTO GALLERY

Reed College Jobs
His Eye is on the Sparrow