The Maliki Govt. that the US worked to create has finally come into its own; so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED indeed. When we first took over Baghdad we sought ties to Ayatollah Sistani as the leading figure in Iraq. Since then we went through a bloody full circle to where now the American-made Gov of Iraq, a Shia led concoction headed by Maliki has also turned to Sistani for guidance. Sistani, in turn has turned to Iran for guidance. The latter, in turn, has altered Sadr's JAM before we could kill them off. Now Maliki is taking a hard line, but not a totally unreasonable one, towards the Sunni "Awakening." He is also taking a hard line with the US, insisting on a) a date certain for US withdrawal, b) US personnel and troops liable to Iraqi courts for all crimes off-base, c) Iraqi accord on any military ops as key to a SOFA accord. I would have given my right arm for this accord in Vietnam. Alas, so fearful were we that they would make a deal with Hanoi that,
after removing Diem in 1963, we kept replacing the generals one after another upon taking power as they conspired with the French to propose a "neutrality" deal to Hanoi. By the time a general-president, Nguyen Van Thieu, finally stood up to us, we were looking for concessions to Hanoi for a way out and he said "no," suggesting instead that we leave and they'll fight on.
Much the same trajectory is unfolding in Iraq. But we are now at the stage where the Maliki Gov is as strong politically as Saigon was under Thieu and can tell the US that it is time for us to TOTALLY leave Iraq.
Prof. Rahimi has a most enlightening piece in the latest TERRORISM MONITOR of the Jamestown Foundation about some current events in Iraq:http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/ar...ticleid=2374392
showing that the regional perspective is to get the US out so that the region can deal with its own problems in its own way. Even Iran would rather have us out than fight. Furthermore, in a rather persuasive piece in the May/June FOREIGN AFFAIRS, Steven Simon clearly made the case for Maliki's concern that America wishes to , as much as had the British in the last century, "divide and conquer" Iraq through its support for the "Sons of Iraq" and its attempted oil deals with the Kurds. Reading that article and much of the detailed reports of Reidar Visser from Iraq,http://historiae.org/index.asp
one can better understand why Maliki definitely wants the US out rather than just posturing for political imagery. In fact, it is little of a secret that the White House is desperate to keep quiet that the "victory" McCain is alleging is really "Mission Accomplished" from the Baghdad Gov's perspective so now is time for the US to get out. Yet Bush must be heavily perspiring that the August deadline for SOFA is nowhere in sight.
Too many scholars, it seems to me, failed to note the phrase added to the end of about all official mantra referring to the consequences of our "defeat" in Iraq. Time after time, when all the other ballyhoo over an alQaeda base in Iraq and security of the Iraqis over civil war issues are cataloged, snicked in as an afterthought-- much like the disclaimer about "may be fatal" in a TV prescription drug ad-- is a statement about Iraq's importance to our "energy security." A look at official arguments for men dying to hold Iraq since the British first discovered oil there shows a never ending preoccupation with Iraq's oil. But, as often predicted, the DoS effort to force a PRODUCTION oil deal on the Iraqis has had to be scaled down to a SERVICE deal. And that too was canceled while a $50 billion deal with China was announced instead.
All this leads to the conclusion that, having been asked to leave, we can claim no further obligation to the Iraqis as excuse for force investment and, having lost direct access to its oil, we can claim no further gains from investing $2 billion a month there and putting 140,000 troops at risk with a SOFA accord that is less US controlled than any ever signed since WW II.
McCain has given us a full cafeteria from "we won victory" to "we are winning victory" to "we will win victory." But, as is characteristic of the victory crowd, they never got to the facts, not to speak of settling on tense. His latest offer is a tentative 2013 withdrawal. Given that the Iraqis are holding out on signing a SOFA (that will be needed by December 2008 to justify our presence) until we agree to a DATE CERTAIN of 2010, it would seem that he is more in line with the Obama position, as can be seen from the DER SPIEGEL interview with Maliki:http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/...,566852,00.html
(read both parts I & II please)
However one feels about the Iraq War and its Afghan competitor for assets, the many Middle East and Central Asia experts on this list have an obligation to remember what the 60s student revolution was all about: MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE. Only through exchange of fact based and reasoned views can the rough edges be smoothed on both sides and consensus reached. Back when there was a draft, campuses were a-rage with teach-ins, exposing the issues through meaningful dialogue. Are we now suffering from the "ain't my kid going to Iraq" disconnect syndrome because colleges face no conscription pressure?
Well, be forewarned that McCain sees no other solution to the spade of "jihads" the US faces across the globe as indicated in a "town hall" in which he was directly asked that question. Americans can today still be scared into sending the neighbor's kid to combat "terrorism," but when there's a draft, one can only wonder if they will see things in much the same trusting in the White House attitude. It is academia's obligation to initiate the dialogue at least at a level of sophistication much as academia demands of its students in order to give them passing grades. The silence of academia is as deafening as the screech of think-tanks. That is a violation of professional duty to the nation. This Fall should be a time when the American people are made aware of the war issues in the Mideast for oil blood price for young Americans at the well despite their preoccupation with the dollars price of oil at the pump.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED for academia will only be evident when Middle East policy is as much a part of the debate as are more personal economic issues.
Daniel E. Teodoru