Monday, October 03, 2005

'Just World News' compares various plans to draw down or end US troop presence; looks at Bush "achievements" in Iraq Hi. Over the weekend I put two Iraq-related posts up onto JWN. In the first one I did a bit more analysis than I've seen elsewhere of the 'Strategic redeployment' plan for Iraq released Sept. 29th by the (centrist, Democratic Party-linked) "Center for American Progress". This plan calls for a reconfiguration/drawdown of US troops in Iraq to a level of 60,000 troops by the end of 2006. In my book, anything less than a total and speedy pullout of US troops from Iraq is a recipe for disaster. But still, it is interesting to see people connected with Dem Party heavy-hitters calling for a significant drawdown. (Unlike, e.g., John Kerry who this time last year was calling-- along with Tom Friedman-- for a significant increase in troop levels...) The new plan's authors also spell out the nature of the paralysis inside the Democratic Party nationally:
Opponents of President Bush’s policies in Iraq and beyond have allowed themselves to be boxed into a corner. Some who initially supported the war in Iraq do not want to admit that they were wrong. Others fear being branded as weak.
So they position themselves carefully to avoid giving the appearance of being "weak". (Primarily, by ridiculing and caricaturing those of us who have already, earlier, proposed plans for a drawdown or withdrawal from Iraq.) ...Anyway, to help everyone analyze and compare the increasing numbers of drawdown or pullout plans that are now being produced, I also put into that JWN post a table with five side-headings that can help us to compare them. (If you want to send me additional drawdown plans that I could evaluate using these these side-heads and put into the table as well, just send me any relevant URLs.) If you want to look at the table and skip my analysis, click here. The second post, which I wrote last night, is what I hope readers will find is a useful general summary of what the Bush administration has "achieved" in Iraq to date. I just wanted to pull together the record regarding all the Bushies' claimed "achievements" concerning: ... So I examine the evidence in each category, and discover that the entire litany of claimed "achievements" is a sham. Regarding the constitution-- the referendum on which will be held just 12 days from now-- I predict this:

Let's be clear, whether this draft constituion is accepted or rejected on October 15, the following will happen:

1.There will be an election for a new National Assembly on December 15. (The only question is over whether this will be a "post-constitutional" assembly, or yet another "transitional" assembly.)

2. One or more of Iraq's three major population groups will be majorly pissed off, and inter-group tensions-- having been exacerbated by the very framing and holding of the referendum itself--can be guaranteed to continue.

3. There will remain many fundamental details of the constitution to be decided, and

4. The Kurds will continue their march toward secession/ independence, whether with more or less speed.
So actually-- tragically-- I don't think the referendum will make much difference at all to the general trajectory the country is following. Talking of which-- I just followed the link that friendly Fire gave here on TII to the latest post on Riverbend's brilliant blog. The bit I really loved was where Riverbend was sitting in her yard (garden) earnestly reading through and marking up a copy of the draft constitution.... And her neighbor, Umm F is in the neighboring yard, doing some clean-up work there... River asks Umm F if she's read the constitution, and Umm F replies "No", and in effect, "Does it anythng to do with me?" ... River insists that Umm F ought to read it, and hands her the copy she's been reading. Then this:
I watched as she split the pile of 20 papers in two- she began sweeping the top edge of the wall with one pile, and using the other pile like a dustpan, she started to gather the wilted, drying tooki [bits of a berry tree] scattered on the wall. “I don’t have time or patience to read it. We’re not getting water- the electricity has been terrible and Abu F. hasn’t been able to get gasoline for three days… And you want me to read a constitution?” “But what will you vote?” I asked, watching the papers as they became streaked with the crimson, blood-like tooki stains. “You’ll actually vote?” She scoffed. “It will be a joke like the elections… They want this constitution and the Americans want it- do you think it will make a difference if you vote against it?” She had finished clearing the top edge of the wall of the wilting tooki and she dumped it all on our side. She put the now dusty, took- stained sheets of paper back together and smiled as she handed them back, “In any case, let no one tell you it wasn’t a useful constitution- look how clean the wall is now! I’ll vote for it!” And Umm F. and the hedge clippers disappeared. It occurred to me then that not everyone was as fascinated with the constitution as I was, or as some of my acquaintances both abroad and inside of the country were. People are so preoccupied trying to stay alive and safe and just get to work and send their children off to school in the morning, that the constitution is a minor thing. The trouble is that as the referendum gets nearer, interest seems to diminish...
So maybe the people running the US occupation of Iraq would not be too unhappy with this development? Maybe they'd be happy enough to see the onset of "election fatigue" in the Iraqi citizenry, as this would make it easier to install the strong man of their choice there and hope to have a compliant government, with his help, for several decades to come? Well, I'd better get back to JWN and write more about Riverbend's post there...


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