Pact, Approved in Iraq, Sets Time for U.S. Pullout
The proposed agreement, which took nearly a year to negotiate with the United States, not only sets a date for American troop withdrawal, but puts new restrictions on American combat operations in Iraq starting Jan. 1 and requires an American military pullback from urban areas by June 30. Those hard dates reflect a significant concession by the departing Bush administration, which had been publicly averse to timetables.
Just a year ago we were all enjoying another round of Democrats are terrorists sympahizers for pushing for a close approximation of what Bush has agreed to. Over the last week the same bloggers and right-wing pundits that were also against time-lines and security agreements, declared victory or SOFA day. U.S. Security Agreements and Iraq
Details of the draft agreements, aspects of which have been negotiated for more than a year, have leaked in recent months. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker, testifying before Congress in April 2008, confirmed two separate accords are on the table. The first is a status-of-forces agreement (GlobalSecurity.org), called a SOFA, which would codify legal protections for U.S. military personnel and property in Iraq.
One of the hold ups to the security agreements was that Iran, with whom Iraq now has close arrangements, objected because they wanted to include, pushed through their political allies in Iraq, a provision that would not allow attacks against them to be launched from inside Iraq,
A section of the agreement that Iraqi officials said barred the United States from launching attacks on neighboring countries from Iraq also may have diminished Iranian resistance.
“We sent messages to neighboring countries to say, ‘This is in our interest,’ ” said Mr. Fayyadh, the Shiite lawmaker. “Specifically we spoke to the Iranians and gave them guarantees that ‘no one will use our country to attack you.’ ” There was no immediate reaction from Iran to the vote.
Neocon Fred Kagan was on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show spinning like a rat on speed,
What that timetable is embedded in, is an agreement that is about a strategic partnership between the United States of America and Iraq that is intended to develop over the long term to help us deal with common enemies that we face. And the number one common enemy that we both identify, both Americans and Iraqis, is al Qaeda. And Iraq has been committed to the fight against al Qaeda, remains committed to the fight against al Qaeda.
Kagan is either lying or doesn’t know that Iraq has always been a predominately Shiite nation and al Qaeda, being a Sunni organization would make them natural enemies. AQ never stood a chance of directing Iraq’s government. They took advantage of the ill planned and disastrous post invasion to create a lot of havoc, killing as many Americans as they could when not killing Shiia and non-aligned Sunnis. Fred goes on,
FK: Well, actually, it’s opposed by Iran, not just Iranian-affiliated groups. The Iranian leadership has been pulling out all the stops to get the Iraqis not to do this. The Iranians are desperate for Iraq not to align itself strategically with the United States, and they have been literally trying to bribe everybody they can bribe in Iraq, and running a fantastic information operations campaign in Iraq to make this an unpopular and hard thing to do. And the Iraqi government has done it anyway. And that is actually a great accomplishment for us,
Just plain false as the SOFA reads as of today. Iran got what it wanted, security assurances against a US invasion originating in Iraq. Bush, Fred and the rest of the gang lied us into Iraq under the ridiculous premise that Iraq’s rag-tag military was a security threat to the US, there were WMD – nukes in particular and on going collaboration between Saddam and AQ. There was plenty of evidence at the time these guys were lying their asses off. Now with possibly hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead – you know the people we were saving, thousands of American troops dead, ten of thousands wounded and Fred, Hugh and th Right are declaring everything is great, victory, we won something – who knows what. Certainly not the war against the type of non-state terrorism responsible for 9-11.
al-Qaida with a push from president Obama, moderates in the Middle-East and our allies is probably on its last legs, but not because of Iraq, Intelligence Report Say Farewell To American Supremacy
Despite a more precarious world situation, the report also says al-Qaida’s terrorist franchise could decay “sooner than people think.” It cites its growing unpopularity in the Muslim world, where it kills most of its victims.
“The prospect that al-Qaida will be among the small number of groups able to transcend the generational timeline is not high, given its harsh ideology, unachievable strategic objectives and inability to become a mass movement,” the report states.
The report forecasts a geopolitical rise in non-Arab Muslim states outside of the Middle East, including Turkey and Indonesia, and says Iran could also be a central player in a new world order if it sheds its theocracy.
The monetary costs of occupying Iraq is likely to top $3 trillion, The Iraq War Will Cost Us $3 Trillion, and Much More
Why doesn’t the public understand the staggering scale of our expenditures? In part because the administration talks only about the upfront costs, which are mostly handled by emergency appropriations. (Iraq funding is apparently still an emergency five years after the war began.) These costs, by our calculations, are now running at $12 billion a month — $16 billion if you include Afghanistan. By the time you add in the costs hidden in the defense budget, the money we’ll have to spend to help future veterans, and money to refurbish a military whose equipment and materiel have been greatly depleted, the total tab to the federal government will almost surely exceed $1.5 trillion.
But the costs to our society and economy are far greater. When a young soldier is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, his or her family will receive a U.S. government check for just $500,000 (combining life insurance with a “death gratuity”) — far less than the typical amount paid by insurance companies for the death of a young person in a car accident. The stark “budgetary cost” of $500,000 is clearly only a fraction of the total cost society pays for the loss of life — and no one can ever really compensate the families. Moreover, disability pay seldom provides adequate compensation for wounded troops or their families. Indeed, in one out of five cases of seriously injured soldiers, someone in their family has to give up a job to take care of them.
But beyond this is the cost to the already sputtering U.S. economy. All told, the bill for the Iraq war is likely to top $3 trillion. And that’s a conservative estimate.
When the Iraq invasion started the population was about 25 million people – since then 2 million have become refugees. We could have bribed every single Iraqi with a million dollars paid out over five years to over throw Saddam and agree to fight against foreign terrorists. All of which may sound ridiculous, but less ridiculous then $3 trillion dollars. The U.S. Gross Domestic Product(GDP) is down, people are losing their homes, unemployment is up, consumer spending and confidence is down and we might not have a domestic auto manufacturing business.
update: Why the U.S. blinked on its troop agreement with Iraq
Officials said U.S. negotiators had failed to understand how the two countries’ political timetables would force the U.S. to make major concessions that relinquish much of the control over U.S. forces in Iraq. They said President Bush gave in to Iraqi demands to avoid leaving the decisions to his successor, Barack Obama.
At times, “President Bush wanted this deal more than the Iraqis did,” said a senior administration official who closely monitored the negotiations.
[ ]…Pentagon officials, however, said the White House made unprecedented concessions. In addition to allowing Iraq to search cargo and mail under some conditions, the deal bars U.S. forces from launching attacks on other countries from Iraqi soil and permits Iraq to prosecute U.S. military contractors, and in some cases perhaps also American troops, under Iraqi law.
Just as the Right is now trying to blame Bush’s economic record on President Obama, they will try and blame the weaknesses in this agreement on him.