End Game

“I’m gaming for November.”

That is what Bush said about Iraq just a few months ago, and unlike virtually everything else that he has attempted in Iraq, at least this one single thing has gone off like clockwork.

The quote, taken from a recent biography written about the president, meant that Bush was trying to affect the political landscape such that by this month he could feasibly change the dialogue on Iraq to one that would make allow for a permanent US presence there.

This a vast departure from the original mission statement of Iraq and even running contrary to Bush’s 2000 campaign where he scoffed at the idea of nation building.  Iraq was supposed to be quick and easy, so quick and easy, in fact, that the mission was declared accomplished mere months after its beginning.

It wasn’t until this year that the administration began cranking up a new kind of spin, one that put the white house ahead of the eight ball as opposed to the game of catch up it had been playing since that politically disastrous declaration four and a half years ago.  The definition of victory was successfully muddled to the point where anyone supporting the Iraq War could claim victory at any time they liked, but always with the qualifier that we have to stay there in order for the victory to remain.

Also, and more importantly, the goal posts on US presence in Iraq have been moved, not in the style and periodicity of the “six months” that we have heard repeated ad nauseum throughout the Iraq war, but instead an indefinite occupation, the “Korea Model”.

And here, in the closing days of November, this end game seems as though it is coming to fruition; a deal struck between the leaders of the few against the wishes of the many.  Key members of the Iraqi government are willing to deal to keep a permanent US presence in their country.

It is, as mentioned before, something of a sham, a bargain that ignores both the will of the American people who still want us out of Iraq, and the Iraqis themselves whose own nationalistic tendancies balks at the presence of an occupying force.

And tucked away in the proffered agreement shows a hint not only as to what is going on, but why it is wrong, and why such an action would be yet another rehashed repeat of the kind of mistakes that has made the Middle East and the Muslim World a hotbed of negativity towards us:

Iraq’s government is prepared to offer the U.S. a long-term troop presence in Iraq and preferential treatment for American investments in return for an American guarantee of long-term security including defense against internal coups, The Associated Press learned Monday.

(bold added for emphasis)

This is not a deal for the benefit of the Iraqi people, it is a deal for the benefit of Nouri al-Maliki and his puppet government that seems unable to break itself out of reconciliatory grid lock.  This is Maliki setting the stage for the US to act as his own personal bodyguard.

What’s more, depending on how the final language on this deal would be inked, this would be a blow for Iraqi self determination, which runs scarily parallel to what got us into this whole mess in the first place.

If you want the shorter version of why we have such a hard time with the Muslim World, it is because we continue to stick our noses where they don’t belong, and in a manner this is not only not becoming of what the US should be, but also very likely to garner the ire of extermists and reformers alike.

Recalling back to October of 2004, Osama bin Laden released a video tape in which he point blank explained why we were attacked on September 11th 2001.  On a broad scale it was because of the fact that the US has a habit of propping up dictators in the Muslim World that may be beneficial to US economic interests, but also detrimental to their very own people.

Even though bin Laden is evil and wrong, it is still the wise person that heeds his words and plucks the nuggets of truth out from the deception, and here I don’t think he was lying.  From Saudi Arabia to, yes, Iraq, we have a long and entrenched history of backing the wrong horse for our own gains, and ending up in the end getting bitten because of it.

After four years of war, after claiming to change direction with the so-called “surge”, it would seem that administration with the help of key pro US occupation allies in the Iraqi government offers nothing remotely similar to change, but instead simply the same old Middle East Policies that have set the region against us from the first place.

This is the end game; war forever more.

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