Cut and Run

The London Times reports that UK and US troops are fixin’ to begin a pullout of Iraq at the beginning of 2006.

Richard Beeston and Stephen Farrell in Baghdad and Michael Evans in Basra write,

BRITAIN and America are planning a phased withdrawal of their forces from Iraq as soon as a permanent government is installed in Baghdad after this week’s elections.

In a move that has caused alarm in the outgoing Iraqi administration, American and British officials have made clear that they regard the end of Iraq’s two-and-a-half-year transitional period as the green light to begin withdrawing some of their combined force of around 170,000 troops as early as March. …

…The moves appear to run contrary to statements by President Bush and John Reid, the Defence Secretary, who insist that coalition forces will not “cut and run” and will stay until the mission in Iraq is complete.

Indeed, in his speech today, Bush said,

We are pursuing a comprehensive strategy in Iraq. Our goal is victory. And victory will be achieved when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq’s democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens, and when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks against our nation.

… or by the end of 2006, whichever comes first.

BTW, I really liked this part of today’s speech:

I’ve come to discuss an issue that’s really important, and that is victory in the war on terror. And that war started on September the 11th, 2001, when our nation awoke to a sudden attack.

Like generations before us, we have accepted new responsibilities. We’re confronting dangers with new resolve. We’re taking the fight to those who attacked us and to those who share their murderous vision for future attacks.

We will fight this war without wavering, and we’ll prevail.

The war on terror will take many turns, and the enemy must be defeated on every battlefield, from the streets of Western cities, to the mountains of Afghanistan, to the tribal regions of Pakistan, to the islands of Southeast Asia and to the Horn of Africa.

Yet the terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity.

So we must recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror.

That boy’s still tying 9/11 to Iraq. He ain’t givin’ up.

He presented a slightly different angle during the question-and-answer session:

QUESTION: Mr. President, I would like to know why it is that you and others in your administration keep linking 9/11 to the invasion of Iraq when no respected journalists or Middle Eastern expert confirmed that such a link existed.

BUSH: What did she – I missed the question. Sorry.

I beg your pardon. I didn’t hear you. Seriously.

QUESTION: I would like to know why you and others in your administration invoke 9/11 as justification for the invasion of Iraq when no respected journalists or other Middle Eastern experts confirm that such a link existed.

BUSH: Oh, I appreciate that.

9/11 changed my look on foreign policy. I mean, it said that oceans no longer protect us; that we can’t take threats for granted; that if we see a threat, we’ve got to deal with it. It doesn’t have to be militarily necessarily but we got to deal with it. We can’t just hope for the best anymore.

So the first decision I made, as you know, was to deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan because they were harboring terrorists. This is where the terrorists plan and plotted.

And the second decision – which was a very difficult decision for me, by the way, and it’s one that I didn’t take lightly – was that Saddam Hussein was a threat. He is a declared enemy of the United States. He had used weapons of mass destruction. The entire world thought he had weapons of mass destruction. The United Nations had declared in more than 10 – I can’t remember the exact number of resolutions – that disclose or disarm or face serious consequences.

I mean, there was a serious international effort to say to Saddam Hussein: `You’re a threat.’ And the 9/11 attacks accentuated that threat, as far as I’m concerned.

And so we gave Saddam Hussein the chance to disclose or disarm. And he refused.

And I made a tough decision. And knowing what I know today, I’d make the decision again. Removing Saddam Hussein makes this world a better place and America a safer country.

Are we making sense yet?

8 thoughts on “Cut and Run

  1. Howard Roberts

    A Seven-point plan for an Exit Strategy in Iraq

    1) A timetable for the complete withdrawal of American and British forces must be announced.
    I envision the following procedure, but suitable fine-tuning can be applied by all the people involved.

    A) A ceasefire should be offered by the Occupying side to representatives of both the Sunni insurgency and the Shiite community. These representatives would be guaranteed safe passage, to any meetings. The individual insurgency groups would designate who would attend.
    At this meeting a written document declaring a one-month ceasefire, witnessed by a United Nations authority, will be fashioned and eventually signed. This document will be released in full, to all Iraqi newspapers, the foreign press, and the Internet.
    B) US and British command will make public its withdrawal, within sixth-months of 80 % of their troops.

    C) Every month, a team of United Nations observers will verify the effectiveness of the ceasefire.
    All incidences on both sides will be reported.

    D) Combined representative armed forces of both the Occupying nations and the insurgency organizations that agreed to the cease fire will protect the Iraqi people from actions by terrorist cells.

    E) Combined representative armed forces from both the Occupying nations and the insurgency organizations will begin creating a new military and police force. Those who served, with out extenuating circumstances, in the previous Iraqi military or police, will be given the first option to serve.

    F) After the second month of the ceasefire, and thereafter, in increments of 10-20% ,a total of 80% will be withdrawn, to enclaves in Qatar and Bahrain. The governments of these countries will work out a temporary land-lease housing arrangement for these troops. During the time the troops will be in these countries they will not stand down, and can be re-activated in the theater, if both the chain of the command still in Iraq, the newly formed Iraqi military, the leaders of the insurgency, and two international ombudsman (one from the Arab League, one from the United Nations), as a majority, deem it necessary.

    G) One-half of those troops in enclaves will leave three-months after they arrive, for the United States or other locations, not including Iraq.

    H) The other half of the troops in enclaves will leave after six-months.

    I) The remaining 20 % of the Occupying troops will, during this six month interval, be used as peace-keepers, and will work with all the designated organizations, to aid in reconstruction and nation-building.

    J) After four months they will be moved to enclaves in the above mentioned countries.
    They will remain, still active, for two month, until their return to the States, Britain and the other involved nations.

    2) At the beginning of this period the United States will file a letter with the Secretary General of the Security Council of the United Nations, making null and void all written and proscribed orders by the CPA, under R. Paul Bremer. This will be announced and duly noted.

    3) At the beginning of this period all contracts signed by foreign countries will be considered in abeyance until a system of fair bidding, by both Iraqi and foreign countries, will be implemented ,by an interim Productivity and Investment Board, chosen from pertinent sectors of the Iraqi economy.
    Local representatives of the 18 provinces of Iraq will put this board together, in local elections.

    4) At the beginning of this period, the United Nations will declare that Iraq is a sovereign state again, and will be forming a Union of 18 autonomous regions. Each region will, with the help of international experts, and local bureaucrats, do a census as a first step toward the creation of a municipal government for all 18 provinces. After the census, a voting roll will be completed. Any group that gets a list of 15% of the names on this census will be able to nominate a slate of representatives. When all the parties have chosen their slates, a period of one-month will be allowed for campaigning.
    Then in a popular election the group with the most votes will represent that province.
    When the voters choose a slate, they will also be asked to choose five individual members of any of the slates.
    The individuals who have the five highest vote counts will represent a National government.
    This whole process, in every province, will be watched by international observers as well as the local bureaucrats.

    During this process of local elections, a central governing board, made up of United Nations, election governing experts, insurgency organizations, US and British peacekeepers, and Arab league representatives, will assume the temporary duties of administering Baghdad, and the central duties of governing.

    When the ninety representatives are elected they will assume the legislative duties of Iraq for two years.

    Within three months the parties that have at least 15% of the representatives will nominate candidates for President and Prime Minister.

    A national wide election for these offices will be held within three months from their nomination.

    The President and the Vice President and the Prime Minister will choose their cabinet, after the election.

    5) All debts accrued by Iraq will be rescheduled to begin payment, on the principal after one year, and on the interest after two years. If Iraq is able to handle another loan during this period she should be given a grace period of two years, from the taking of the loan, to comply with any structural adjustments.

    6) The United States and the United Kingdom shall pay Iraq reparations for its invasion in the total of 120 billion dollars over a period of twenty years for damages to its infrastructure. This money can be defrayed as investment, if the return does not exceed 6.5 %.

    7) During beginning period Saddam Hussein and any other prisoners who are deemed by a Council of Iraqi Judges, elected by the National representative body, as having committed crimes will be put up for trial.
    The trial of Saddam Hussein will be before seven judges, chosen from this Council of Judges.
    One judge, one jury, again chosen by this Council, will try all other prisoners.
    All defendants will have the right to present any evidence they want, and to choose freely their own lawyers.

  2. Bush went to war with Iraq to run for re-election as a war president. Now, with the 2006 elections coming up, he needs another election ploy to keep the Repugs in power. So what if lives are lost–as long as they aren’t lives who contribute big time to Republican coffers. The man and the people he surrounds himself with are amoral.

  3. And so we gave Saddam Hussein the chance to disclose or disarm. And he refused.

    Yeah, just like the inquisition and trying to defend yourself against a charge of blasphemy….the charge was the conviction. How do you prove that you don’t have what you don’t have? They framed Saddam’s ass real good with their lies, the more Saddam tried to comply the guiltier he became, while Bush appeared magnanimous and reasonable. I guess in one sense it was a slam dunk…the frame -up.

  4. He “learned” from 9-11 that oceans no longer protect us??? Have they ever? The British burning Washington and marching through New Orleans. The Japanese bombing Hawaii and firing guns at Washington State? What the hell was the “oceans” doing then? George really does not know his American history.

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