Monday, October 17, 2011

Iraqis to take their sovereignty back

So the United State's Iraq war and occupation will finally end this year. The military's pipe dream of keeping troops in the "independent" Iraq is not to be.

The U.S. signed an agreement to get out way back in 2008 under George W., but our generals and hawks always thought they'd somehow find an excuse to maintain U.S. forces in that unfortunate country. After all, now that we'd thoroughly trashed the place and touched off a civil war, they must still need our "help." Right?

Wrong. There's a bitter satisfaction that the ostensible reason why troops will now go turns on a question of law. The war was always an assault on legality itself, begun on the basis of made-up evidence of non-existent weapons without U.N. sanction. In a just world, our politicians might have found themselves hauled into a court, charged as were Nazi leaders with "making aggressive war." Now the U.S. military is departing because the Iraqis refuse to exempt their future behavior from prosecutions in Iraqi courts. Guess Iraqis want their country back, complete with the power to enforce their own laws.

Iraqi leaders have adamantly refused to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, and the Americans have refused to stay without it.

Juan Cole explains:

It turns out that the day on which the US military lost Iraq once and for all was September 16, 2007, when Blackwater private security guards, all decorated ex-military, opened fire in Nisoor Square under the mistaken impression that they were under attack by the ordinary civilian motorists there. 17 were killed, dozens wounded, and the incident became a cause celebre for Iraqis eager to see an end to a foreign military presence in their country. That the US courts declined to punish the perpetrators of the massacre was a nail in the coffin for extraterritoriality. The Iraqis wouldn’t grant it after all that.

... The US will receive no benefit from its illegal war of aggression, no permanent bases, no bulwark against Iran, no new Arab friend to Israel, no $14 a barrel petroleum– all thing things Washington had dreamed of. Dreams that turned out to be flimsy and unsubstantial and tragic.

It's hard to imagine a peaceful or happy future for this still war-torn country. But at least it will be Iraqis sorting it out. The U.S. is leaving, ignominiously.

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