Wednesday, October 22, 2008
not with a bang but a whimper?
Iraq's Cabinet asked for changes to a draft U.S.-Iraqi security agreement Tuesday, once more casting doubt on the document's speedy passage, less than three months before the U.N. mandate authorizing the presence of American troops in the country is to expire.
The first Cabinet session to review the document revealed how divisive the security agreement has become. Only the country's Kurdish bloc is publicly backing the current accord, while Shiite Muslim and Sunni Arab allies of the U.S. remain wary of endorsing the draft, which had been described by Americans and Iraqis as in its final form. The Iraqi side again called for more negotiations.
In Washington, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told wire service reporters that the door to change was "pretty far closed" and warned that failure to reach a deal or renew the United Nations mandate would mean suspension of U.S. operations.
"There is great reluctance to engage further in the drafting process," he said.
this is probably all brinksmanship, but there's little doubt in this conservative mind that operations should soon end and the vast majority if not all american troops should be recalled as soon as possible in light of events at home. even given the long-term importance of oil resources to the extant american economy, iraq has become an insanely expensive boondoggle for a country with a crippled economy and borrowing trillions per annum to finance public expenditures ranging from war to bank bailouts, corporate lending to social programs. this is what the end of empire looks like, and notwithstanding the now-comical pride and hubris of the 'national greatness' crowd (which i suspect has never understood the extent of the charity which has funded their arrogance) the united states is going to have to get small or tempt much greater economic disasters than a standard-issue deflationary depression. that al-qaeda's strategy seems in fact to be working will certainly be a bitter pill for all of us, but that was a probable outcome from the moment on september 12, 2001, when the bush adminstration decided that the horrible events of that day would provide sufficient excuse for embarking on a long-desired program of imperial adventurism in the middle east.
viewed in this light, the failure to compromise on a SOFA would be a blessing for both america -- and could well be what iraq needs to begin to find a civil arrangement, and is certainly politically popular there. as such, the stalemate may be allowed to persist and end the rolling disaster that george bush, dick cheney, paul wolfowitz and the rest of the neoconservatives kicked off in 2003.