According to the Times, highlights of the 28-point plan the Iraqi government is offering to resistance groups include:
--A schedule for coalition forces to withdraw
-- General amnesty for prisoners “who have not shed innocent Iraqis’ blood”
-- A halt to “anti-terrorist operations” by coalition forces in insurgent areas
Young Mister Bush may well be reluctant to swallow this horse pill.
Iraq intends to work with the UN on the withdrawal timeline. So the international body that didn't throw in with us on the invasion will be part of the plan to throw us out.
The amnesty offer, in essence, forgives any insurgents who attacked U.S. troops. As the Times states, "[O]ne big potential obstacle is whether the US would be willing to grant an amnesty to insurgents who have killed US soldiers but who are not members of extreme groups such as al-Qaeda. The Bush Administration is thought to be split on the issue." The Bush administration may be split on the issue, but they don't have spit to say about it--unless, of course, they want to come right out and admit that the new Iraqi government they've been crowing about is nothing more than a U.S. puppet.
By halting coalition anti-terrorist operations, the Iraq government will be telling U.S. forces what they can and cannot do. Talk about putting a burr in our commander in chief's saddle.
The Iraqi government's intent is to isolate Iraq's native insurgent forces from the external al Qaeda terrorist fighters. The proposed deal also promises to crack down on Shiite militias and death squads and to review the "de-Baathification" process by which thousands of Sunni government workers lost their jobs after the fall of Baghdad.
This is a brilliant piece of statesmanship. Stand by to watch Condi Rice step in and put the kibosh on it.
Heck, we can't have the Iraqis making their own domestic policies, can we? The next thing you know, they'll want to sell their oil for cheap to somebody other than us.
We're Still Being Had
The paper trail of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) makes it abundantly clear that key members Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby and others planned to make an invasion of Iraq the cornerstone of American foreign policy years before George W. Bush became the GOP presidential nominee. They did, in fact, intend to take control of the Middle East by military force even if Saddam Hussein was no longer in power. It's little wonder that the administration and its GOP lapdogs in Congress have time after time rejected any call for a coherent exit strategy or any resolution that the U.S. will not seek to establish permanent military bases in Iraq.
I don't think we'll be leaving Iraq while the neoconservative cabal remains in power, and the way things are going, that might well be a long, long time. The Democratic Party, always a somewhat disorganized political entity, is unlikely to defeat the well-oiled GOP machine until the majority of the electorate decides it's had enough.
That sort of shift in public opinion may be far off. Increasingly, the major information media outlets have knuckled under pressure to pander to the right. Conservative pundit Monica Crowley is now a "news anchor" on MSNBC. Dick Cheney continues to castigate the press for disclosing "vital national security programs, thereby making it more difficult for us to prevent future attacks against the American people." That sort of stuff "offends" him, and thereby offends his loyal followers as well.
The very existence of "loyal Dick Cheney followers" should give you an idea of just how bizarre the America political environment has become. Cheney epitomizes the Orwellian, neoconservative "fear and loathing" strategy that put and kept the present administration in power. Yes, recent polls indicate that a minority of Americans buy into the Bush bilge water anymore, but enough of the majority of voters may well remain frightened enough of the Rovewellian boo noise to keep this totalitarian regime in power come November.
If that happens, stand by for continued imperial shenanigans. And stand by for America to dig an even bigger foxhole in Iraq.
When the Iraqi government objects to that, will we hear about it in the U.S. press?
Not from the likes of Monica Crowley we won't.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his weekday commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.