PRESIDENT BUSH'S surprise visit to Baghdad for a face-to-face meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was arrogant and presumptive. His unfortunate political gambit did anything but provide support for Iraq's embattled government.
Iraqis need to establish the legitimacy and
independence of their nation. When the American president jets
in, without even notifying the head of the nation, Iraq's
neighbors see this as evidence that Iraq has no legitimacy or
As long as Bechtel, Halliburton, and other transnational
corporations shut out Iraq, her people, her neighbors, and most of
our allies from participation in this reconstruction, our troops
will remain targets. The use of our troops as virtual
mercenaries for this corporate cartel is untenable,
counterproductive, and wrong-headed.
The sabotage carried out by former Ba'athists, Islamist fanatics,
Iraqi nationalists, and the families of civilians lost in this
war... will not end until the occupier leaves the country.
We cannot ignore history. This neo-con corporate colonialism
Presumably, Bush was saying Iraqis can trust his administration not to abandon them prematurely. But Iraqis have had to live with the chain of disasters traceable to an attitude Rumsfeld expressed when he responded to an ominous outbreak of postwar looting by saying glibly: ``Stuff happens."
What Bush should have told Maliki in private is that he will honor his obligation to help Iraqis cope with the Sunni Arab insurgency -- but not indefinitely. America cannot let Iraq become a safe haven for Al Qaeda, but nevertheless Iraqis must soon take the lead in waging and winning their war against insurgents who are overwhelmingly Iraqi.
...If Bush is serious about finding the
right policy balance for Iraq, he will order an end to petty and
divisive political tricks. There are Republicans who want to
withdraw now from Iraq and Democrats who are willing to stay until
the worst outcomes have been prevented. The fate of Iraq is too
important to America and the world to be determined by the dishonest
slogans of partisans.
GLOBE EDITORIAL: Bush's Baghdad visit(Boston Globe, 6/14/06)
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