Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Cut and run from Iraq? No way

No way the US can abandon Iraq

From The Statesman

George Tenet, the former CIA director, who was awarded the presidential medal of freedom (for providing intelligence about Afghanistan and Iraq) has come out with a book in which he states that the Bush gang, Vice-President Dick Cheney and former secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld, turned the intelligence agency into nothing but a propaganda machine for educating the US Congress into supporting the war against Iraq and bamboozling the international community into believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and in fact he was the enemy of mankind (read the United States.)

Since his retirement from the cloak and dagger agency, Tenet has been a sort of an academic at Georgetown University; and now with a $4 million book advance, the former spymaster has been going from talk-show to talk-show peddling his own version of truth and washing his hands of all that had been said and done in his name. But every time he opens his mouth, the talk show host shows the picture of the former secretary of state Colin Powell showing fake satellite images of Saddam’s preparations for weapons of mass destruction. Behind Powell is seen Tenet with a “Slam Dunk” confident face.

Tenet’s book cannot undo the television images of his complicity in the war that has turned Iraq into a hellhole. Based on faulty intelligence about weapons of mass destruction, in 2002 the US Congress authorised President George W Bush to go to war in Iraq. Mission accomplished, said Bush four years ago on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of California; but instead of drums of freedom Iraq ironically exploded with ancient Shia-Sunni hatred. The United States has been trying to stamp out sectarian civil war with the help of an impotent government, albeit democratically elected.

There seems to be no way out. Americans did not expect a future of this kind, a bloody mess that has killed hundreds of thousands of the Iraqis and driven millions out of the country. Seeing the ceaseless daily carnage of civilians being blown off in streets and the marketplace we have become numbed. Why no one ever in the US Congress imagined the probability of this kind of scenario of hell? Having been complicit in the war, along with the US news media, Congress has no means of ending the raging sectarian violence, insurgency or civil war, by whatever name you call it, and bring peace to the region. With its funding power

Congress tried to force the president to bring troops back home but Bush vetoed the spending bill. Bush does not want to abandon Iraq. That will be an act of cowardliness and national humiliation. Supporting the US combat forces in Iraq while opposing the additional deployment represents the raging but impotent rhetoric in the country. Like most of the American people Congress wants troops back home but does not want to leave the Iraqi people to chaos; or at the mercy of their neighbor Iran or other surrounding Sunni Arab countries. Hence the political schizophrenia and confusion worse confounding at the Capitol Hill.

Iraq is splintered on ethnic lines among Kurds, Shias and Sunnis, and unfortunately there is no well-organized force strong enough to transcend sectarianism and impose order on the country and put it together again. The American people, though overwhelmingly opposed to the President’s Iraq policy, do not want troops to be denied of necessary funds. And probably there in lies the source of Bush’s persistence in pursuing his policy of troop surge in spite of the fact that repeated polls have been pushing him down the popularity ladder. He refuses to be a lame duck. He is still a man with a mission though you see the agony of failure on his face.

Increasing confrontation with Democratic controlled Congress is nonetheless compelling Bush to explore some other ways of mitigating the situation; for example, reluctantly recognising Iran and Syria as parties to the conflict and bringing them to the negotiating table as it was tried in the last week’s Middle East conference held in Egypt. A diplomatic breakthrough the kind recently achieved with North Korea, based on negotiations with regional powers, is a way out. But the search for diplomatic solution requires that the Bush administration must think about new strategies in dealing with Iran.

Congress can be very effective in using its power of the purse by stressing the importance diplomatic means of negotiating peace in Iraq. It must urge the Bush administration to shed its inhibition in talking with Iranian authorities and develop common grounds with Iran in ending ethnic conflict in Iraq, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been trying to do with Syria. In the meantime watch people like George Tenet getting out of the White House and run after mega-million book deals.

There is nothing more spectacular and pathetic than a former loyalist develop sudden pangs of conscience and begin telling kitchen and bedroom tales for a handful of silver.

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