The fact that the Iraqis have backed away from the negotiations leaves me wondering just exactly what the administration was trying to pull. Let's have an open look at it, side by side with the ones we have with NATO countries and others like Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
In the absence of such, I am forced to wonder if the government is publicly floating this topic as a red herring to keep us from being concerned over the far more troubling rumors about what else is included in our proposed version of a US-Iraq SOFA.
Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi currently based in Washington DC, has an answer for you on his blog ([url]http://raedinthemiddle.blogspot.com/[/url]). Raed was in Portland and spoke in Vancouver most recently in May. He lived and worked in Iraqi during and after the 2003 invasion and has clear headed analysis of Iraqi politics, which he claims is divided primarily along nationalist (anti-occupation) vs. separatist (pro-occupation) lines rather than sectarian ones.
On his blog he wonders whether current leaks concerning the number of bases are a ruse that will allow Maliki's pro-occupation forces to later claim compromise. We don't currently have 58 bases, for example.
I suspect Jeremy Scahill knows Raed and can probably comment about his understanding of the situation in Iraq. Raed arranged the recent visit to Washington DC and NY of two Iraqi parliamentarians who testified to congress. More about Raed can be found at [url]http://www.motherjones.com/news/outfront/2008/05/mr-jarrar-goes-to-washington.html[/url] and [url]http://www.afsc.org/iraq/speakers_bureau/raed_jarrar.htm[/url].
Thanks for the link, it is similar to several sites I have read from in the last few days. Problem is, without an actual draft on hand, we don't know and have to speculate, just as Mr. Jarrar does.
Circumspect? Considering the dearth of information and my preference not to treat something is fact when we are long on rumors and conjecture and have no solid evidence... what would you have had me do? Besides, I was first again and didn't want another cut-and-paste...
Let's note that the contractors fit the Bush/Cheney definition of Enemy Combatants. They wear the uniform of no recognized nation, they swear no allegiance to any nation, they fit the definition of unaligned terrorists, etc.
These private corporate armies are the worst idea since Pinkertons and that ilk.
Military forces ought to be under the tight control of recognized governments and accountable to the world legally for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity and these private Conservative Republican Armies are none of the above.
Consider what will happen when they return to their country of origin, trained and experienced in lawlessness, random murders, intimidation, and who knows what else? Do you want that in your country?
A bad idea gone wild!
Wow. What dustbin did you guys dig the studio guest out of? It must be killing him that he can't let loose a rant on Western imperialism. Is he wearing a Che Guevera shirt?
There are better ways to look at problems in Iraq than to scrape someone like this out of the barrel.
Turning off the show in 3...2...1...
To the guests: What do you think Bremmer's motivations were in writing the immunity clause? Where is Bremmer now? Also, what would it take to overturn this clause, and do you think its likely?
Between the immunity clause, and de-baathafication L Paul Bremmer III single handedly destroyed Iraq, IMO.
L Paul Bremer III was an employee of Kissinger Associates. Remember Henry Kissinger? He and Nixon assassinated Salvador Allende and then overthrew and destroyed the Chilean democracy. Kissinger is a genuine Internationally wanted War Criminal who has very limited travel opportunities because he might be apprehended.
Does that help answer your questions?
What difference is there between the way the contractors treat Iraqis and the way Saddam Hussein treated them?
Does this developing agreement refer at all to the many U.S. military bases that we have been building in Iraq? Will they be manned by contractors? What is their status?
SO FEW bits of information about these bases ever seems to crawl into the news here, it seems like 12-17, or how many ever, major U.S bases in Iraq is a giant expense we know very little about, and a huge implication for status of U.S military power in the Middle East...or is it going to be U.S Contractor Power?
Thank you for doing this great TOL program!
There is good information on U.S. bases in Iraq at [url]http://www.fcnl.org/iraq/bases.htm[/url].
Many thanks for the Bases link, 3heartmike! So appreciated!
Jeremy Scahill's L.A. Times Op-Ed from yesterday.
How many of the contractors are ex-military, and how many of those were kicking out rather than voluntarily left? Doesn't that bring unfit soldiers back to the field that the military dosn't want there?
KBR! I'll be darned, Cheney is still on their payroll. You don't think, ... nah, he's an upright moral Christian, isn't he?
Ha ha ha! Murder for hire, with a get out of jail free card.
Folks, The following email was sent to Jeremy Scahill re: my experience as a caller on today's Think Out Loud:
I am an independent media producer in Eugene, OR. I heard your interview on OPB's "Think out Loud" today. I called in to ask a question re: the use of Blackwater-type mercenary's in the US, i.e. New Orleans post-Katrina, and what impact that means in re: to Bush's executive order gutting of posse comitatus in 2006.
At 20 minutes to the hour, I was told by an OPB intern screener that they didn't have time for my question. When I told her that there were still 20 minutes left in the show, she demurred and I was disconnected. Then I turned up my radio only to hear the host announcing for more callers. I called right back, got the same screener and then was told that my question was 'off-topic'. I asked her why she had lied to me and then she demurred again, saying, "She was sorry I was upset." I got her name, her supervisor's and producer's name and hung up.
With only a few minutes left on the show you made reference to my exact concern.
I thought you might want to know that I had been censored by OPB "Think Out Loud" producers for bringing up that extremely relevant and salient point earlier in the show when you could have addressed it in-depth on the air rather than just make a brief reference to it during the last moments of the show.
Amy Pincus Merwin, InForm Media
2220 Sandy Dr.
Eugene, OR 97401
I've had it with the bashing of military contractors. Most of you are clueless as to the nature of the job(s) or the makeup of the families who are sending in loved ones to fill these jobs. These men (some women) are filling a void in OIF and OEF today. Too bad they cannot receive the thanks and gratitude from the likes of the media for all their hard work and sacrifice. To use them as a venue to bash the President and have a political discussion over Iraq is tasteless and shameful. Thank God for all the families participating in this manner within a war zone today. Shame on the media for exploiting this topic and these families.
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