It’s been a while since we’ve turned a corner in Iraq. You might remember that we used to turn corners with some frequency. Iraqis held various elections resulting in a dysfunctional government; adopted a half-assed constitution that needed massive revision; and my favorite — giving Iraq back its sovereignty — are just a few examples. Now Charles Krauthammer says we’ve turned another another corner.
The barbarism in Mumbai and the economic crisis at home have largely overshadowed an otherwise singular event: the ratification of military and strategic cooperation agreements between Iraq and the United States.
Wow, and we only had to spend about $700 billion so far and occupy Iraq for 5-1/2 years to achieve that.
Reporting from Baghdad — Explosions tore through two police stations Thursday in the western Iraqi city of Fallouja, leaving at least 16 people dead, and a blast in a northern city killed two U.S. soldiers in the latest reminders of this country’s fragile security situation.
The attacks came on the heels of other large blasts this week that targeted Iraqi and U.S. security forces and left dozens of people dead.
With U.S. combat troops scheduled to begin pulling out of Iraqi cities and towns early next year, the bombings were an ominous sign of what Iraqi security forces may face on their own after the drawdown.
Iraq’s three-member Presidency Council on Thursday formally ratified a Status of Forces Agreement that mandates the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from population centers by June 30 and from the country by the end of 2011. Iraq’s parliament approved the pact Nov. 27. Ratification by Iraq’s president and two vice presidents was necessary for it to take effect Jan. 1, after the United Nations mandate governing the U.S. troop presence expires.
In other words, Krauthammer looks at a pile of shit and sees a pony.
The agreement forces the Bush Administration and Pentagon to back down from long-held positions, especially over deadlines. The barracking of American troops in remote areas by June 2009 will be a retreat from offensive operations. More important, the language of the agreement in Arabic stipulates that all American forces, not merely combat units, will be withdrawn by 2011. …
…This is not “out now”, but that was never possible politically or militarily. It’s not literally “ending the war in 2009” as Obama promised. But this pact is officially known as “the withdrawal agreement” to all proud Iraqis. Read carefully, it is an agreed 2009 timetable for ending the war, the occupation, the troop presence and closing the military bases in three years.
Only a few weeks ago Prime Minister al-Maliki was praising Obama’s 16-month timetable. Obviously something or someone got to him. American embassy officials, according to press accounts, were button-holing Iraqi parliamentarians in the hallways in the days before the final voter. There are no registered lobbyists or even lobbying laws in Baghdad.
The Iraqis, finally, were fixin’ to just kick us out, and somehow the Bushies threatened or bribed enough people to make “the withdrawal agreement” look like a mutual agreement between Washington and Baghdad, just to let George W. Bush save face.