[HCCN] Fwd: Business as Usual in Iraq

Judith Robbins JUDY at ROBBINSandROBBINS.com
Mon Sep 13 15:17:09 EDT 2010



>
> Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and  
> past President of the National Lawyers Guild, is the deputy  
> secretary general for external communications of the International  
> Association of Democratic Lawyers, and the U.S. representative to  
> the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists..   
> She is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has  
> Defied the Law and co-author of Rules of Disengagement: The  
> Politics and Honor of Military Dissent (with Kathleen Gilberd).   
> Her anthology, The United States and Torture: Interrogation,  
> Incarceration and Abuse, will be published in 2010 by NYU Press.  
> Her articles are archived at www.marjoriecohn.com
>

> "As I ponder events unfolding in Iraq, and Obama's efforts to  
> explain them to us, I am reminded of the highly decorated Marine  
> Corps General Smedley Butler. Nearly 70 years ago he declared that,  
> "War is a racket." He was referring to the use of Marines in  
> Central America during the early 20th Century to protect U.S.  
> corporations like United Fruit, which were exploiting agricultural  
> resources in that region. In my view, the Iraq war had a similar  
> purpose – to secure the rich Iraqi oil fields and make them  
> available to corporations that will continue to feed America's  
> petroleum addiction. " - M Cohn
>
  Marjorie Cohn's complete article follows
> Published on Monday, September 13, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
>
> Business as Usual in Iraq
>
> by Marjorie Cohn
>
> Last week, President Obama ceremoniously announced that U.S. combat  
> operations had ended in Iraq. As Democrats face an uphill battle in  
> the upcoming midterm elections, Obama felt he had to make good on  
> his campaign promise to move the fighting from Iraq to Afghanistan.  
> But while he has escalated the killing in Afghanistan, it’s  
> business as usual in Iraq.
>
> The United States, with its huge embassy in Baghdad and five large  
> bases throughout Iraq, will continue to pull the strings there.  
> Last week, Vice President Biden delivered a power-sharing plan to  
> the Iraqis, who have been unable to form a government in the six  
> months since the March election resulted in a stalemate. “We think  
> that’s better for the future of Iraq,” Biden declared. The New York  
> Times speculated about whether “the Americans can close the deal.”  
> But the United States will continue to do a lot more than simply  
> make suggestions about how Iraqis should share political power.
>
> The timing of Obama's announcement that combat troops are leaving  
> Iraq is based on the status of forces agreement (SOFA) the Bush  
> administration negotiated with the Iraqis in 2008. It calls for  
> U.S. combat troops to leave Iraq by August 31, 2010. The SOFA also  
> requires the Pentagon to withdraw all of its forces by the end of  
> 2011, but this date may be extended.
>
> Obama's speech about withdrawing combat troops from Iraq is an  
> effort to demonstrate compliance with the SOFA as the midterm  
> elections draw near. But events on the ground reveal that he is  
> playing a political version of the old shell game. As Obama  
> proclaimed the redeployment of a Stryker battalion out of Iraq,  
> 3,000 combat troops from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment  
> redeployed back into Iraq from Fort Hood, Texas. And that cavalry  
> regiment will have plenty of company. The State Department is more  
> than doubling its “security contractors” to 7,000 to make sure U.S.  
> interests are protected. And with them will come 24 Blackhawk  
> helicopters, 50 Mine Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles and other  
> military equipment.
>
> Fifty thousand U.S. military troops remain in Iraq. Forty-five  
> hundred U.S. special forces troops continue to fight and kill with  
> Iraqi special forces. American troops are still authorized to take  
> preemptive action against any threat they perceive. The policy  
> regarding air strikes and bombings will remain unchanged. And  
> untold numbers of "civilian contractors" – more accurately called  
> mercenaries – will stay in Iraq, unaccountable for their war crimes.
>
> When Obama spoke to the nation about ending combat operations in  
> Iraq, he delivered his message with a spin that would make George  
> W. Bush proud. Obama renamed the U.S. occupation of Iraq “Operation  
> New Dawn,” and talked of the sacrifices we made during “Operation  
> Iraqi Freedom.” But he failed to mention the more than 100,000 dead  
> Iraqis, the untold numbers of wounded Iraqis and the 2 million  
> Iraqis who went into exile. He said nothing about the few hours per  
> day that most Iraqis enjoy electricity. He neglected to note that  
> unions have been outlawed and Iraq’s infrastructure is in shambles.  
> And he omitted any reference to the illegality of Bush’s war of  
> aggression – in violation of the UN Charter – and Bush’s policy of  
> torture and abuse of Iraqis – in violation of the Geneva  
> Conventions. Obama chose instead to praise his predecessor, saying,  
> “No one could doubt President Bush’s . . . commitment to our  
> security.” But foreign occupation of Iraq and mistreatment of  
> prisoners never made us more secure.
>
> Obama also failed to remind us that we went to war based on two  
> lies by the Bush administration: that Iraq had weapons of mass  
> destruction, and that al Qaeda was in bed with Saddam Hussein.
>
> Obama spoke of “credible elections” in Iraq. But “Iraq does not  
> have a functional democracy,” said Raed Jarrar, Iraq consultant for  
> American Friends Service Committee and a senior fellow at Peace  
> Action. “We cannot expect to have a functional democracy from Iraq  
> that was imposed by a foreign occupation,” he said on Democracy Now!
>
> “The new Iraqi state is among the most corrupt in the world,”  
> journalist Nir Rosen wrote in Foreign Policy. “It is only effective  
> at being brutal and providing a minimum level of security. It fails  
> to provide adequate services to its people, millions of whom are  
> barely able to survive. Iraqis are traumatized. Every day there are  
> assassinations with silenced pistols and the small magnetic car  
> bombs known as sticky bombs.”
>
> Obama put the cost of the wars at $3 trillion, an awesome sum that  
> could well be used to provide universal health care, quality  
> education, and improved infrastructure to create jobs in this  
> country. But he overlooked the cost of treating our disabled  
> veterans, many of whom return with traumatic brain injury and post  
> traumatic stress disorder. “There is no question that the Iraq war  
> added substantially to the federal debt,” Joseph Stiglitz and Linda  
> Bilmes wrote in the Washington Post. “The global financial crisis  
> was due, at least in part, to the war,” they added.
>
> Regardless of how Obama tries to spin his message about the  
> disaster the United States has created in Iraq, 60 percent of  
> Americans think the U.S. invasion of Iraq was a mistake, 70 percent  
> believe it wasn’t worth sacrificing American lives, and only one  
> quarter feel it made us safer. The majority of Iraqis also oppose  
> the U.S. occupation.
>
> As I ponder events unfolding in Iraq, and Obama's efforts to  
> explain them to us, I am reminded of the highly decorated Marine  
> Corps General Smedley Butler. Nearly 70 years ago he declared that,  
> "War is a racket." He was referring to the use of Marines in  
> Central America during the early 20th Century to protect U.S.  
> corporations like United Fruit, which were exploiting agricultural  
> resources in that region. In my view, the Iraq war had a similar  
> purpose – to secure the rich Iraqi oil fields and make them  
> available to corporations that will continue to feed America's  
> petroleum addiction.
>
> In a more honest speech, Obama would have said we successfully  
> removed a leader who was unfriendly to American geopolitical and  
> economic interests and replaced him with people beholden to U.S.  
> money and materiel. U.S. forces have been downsized and re-branded.  
> The “enduring presence posts” (new nomenclature for U.S. bases in  
> Iraq) will ensure that we maintain hegemony in Iraq. Mission  
> accomplished.
>
>
>
>
>
>

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