June 8, 2008
George W. Bush brought death and chaos to Iraq on the basis of lies. Now, as he staggers through the last months of his failed presidency, he is trying one more bit of trickery — forcing the Nuri Al-Maliki government to legitimize a long-term military occupation of Iraq in a treaty, which will make that sovereign country an American colony. The treaty would permit the maintenance of up to 50 American bases from which US forces could operate against perceived threats to their interests, and at no point would US military personnel nor contractors be answerable to Iraqis. Vice President Dick Cheney has reportedly been leading the negotiations on this agreement — characterized euphemistically as “ a strategic alliance” and has been bullying the Al-Maliki administration to agree to the deal before the end of this month.
It is hard to think of a more effective way of demonstrating so clearly that whatever specious nonsense the Bush administration may have spouted about liberating the Iraqi people from dictatorship and bringing them the blessings of democracy, the real truth all along was that the invasion was all about Washington’s desire to control a major oil-producing country. To realize that ambition, tens of thousands of Iraqis have died, hundreds of thousands more have been maimed and injured and countless others have had their lives ruined and torn apart.
Yet the Bush occupation was all wrapped up in the big promise that as soon as stability was restored to Iraq, US troops would pack up and leave. Washington’s British allies were certainly told and believed this falsehood — UK troops have been itching to leave Basra for months. But with the leaked news of negotiations on this “strategic alliance,” the lies are exposed and the real neocolonialist ambitions of this administration are laid bare.
The problem is that outrageous as the proposals may be, they are just as outrageously stupid. Only a blinkered and desperate president with his few remaining neocon acolytes could be so dumb as to imagine that forcing the Iraqi government to sign a piece of paper would in any way reinforce the US position in the country. Indeed, it is not necessary to be too smart to see that if such a deal were to be cut, it would, at a stroke, destroy what remains of US credibility in the region. Even more to the point, every Iraqi, every Arab and every decent citizen anywhere in the world would recoil at this brazen attempt to usurp the sovereignty of another country.
The Al-Maliki-led national unity government would be shattered before the ink had dried. The McCain Republican campaign might be tempted to embrace the deal but it is certain that Obama and the Democrats will reject it. Iran would walk away from any rapprochement with Washington and Al-Qaeda and its killers would welcome a new excuse for revenge butchery.
The “strategic alliance” talks must therefore be trashed — as is fitting for the last two-bit policy from a two-term, two-timing president who has tried to deceive everyone but has succeeded mostly in deceiving himself.
– Khaled Al-Maeena