While many of us in this United States were enjoying our turkey and trimmings, Iraqis were debating/celebrating/denouncing the new "status of forces agreement" (SOFA) with the United States that will set the rules under which the U.S. is in Iraq -- until we are not. The agreement replaces the U.N. mandate Bush has been running the war under since he coerced the international body into giving him a fig leaf after invading without any plausible legal pretext.
It took a lot of arm twisting to get the Iraqi parliament to pass the agreement and it still faces a referendum vote by the Iraqi people. My favorite source for news of what Iraqis are thinking, McClatchy's Iraqi reporters, conducted a range of "man in the street" interviews:
These people aren't exactly jumping for joy, but they are convinced they are seeing the beginning of the end of U.S. occupation. I have to say I enjoy contemplating the humiliation it must have been for the conquering Bushies to have to negotiate their way out of their self-inflicted quagmire.
So what's all this mean on the homefront? I stand by my belief that the SOFA is nice -- and won't mean much concretely in the long run. The antiwar group Code Pink has the right slogan -- for most people in the U.S., "THE WAR IS SO OVER!" The incoming administration has a host of real problems and will want to get out as quickly and unobtrusively as possible.
Of course our delusional apostles of empire will try to delay the inevitable. We have trashed the country, smashed not only its infrastructure but also whatever social cohesion it once had, so we are not likely to be happy with the result. Gary Kamiya, in Salon, hazards some predictions. He is not a Pollyanna.
The peace movement needs to
- celebrate the inevitability of U.S. departure (as Code Pink does),
- encourage any willingness we can find among our rulers to cut their losses in the light of domestic penury,
- urge reparations to Iraqis because to do so is just,
- and, above all, combat the "he lost Iraq" meme we can count on the right to try to hang on Obama if he really pulls out.
This is a more complex program than "Bush lied; people died" but some of us need to be able to agitate for a higher standard.