Monday, March 03, 2008

Victory In Mesopotamia

The War is over.

Iraq lost.

Iran won.

And we
got stuck
with the occupation.
Bush will be leaving office with America holding his bag. And McCain is willing to see to it that we hold on to it for another 100 years.

When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to pay his first state visit to Iraq, he did not come like a thief, unannounced, in the dead of night. He came in like a victor, pre-announced, in the light of day. Unlike Bush and McCain visits, Ahmadinejad did not come wearing Kevlar; neither did he have to be flown in by helicopter, but traveled by ground convoy. Security was not cleared with American occupation troops. His flight in was handled by Iraqi air traffic controllers, and security on the ground was assigned to Peshmarga. After landing in Iraq, Ahmadinejad's motorcade took Iraq's notoriously dangerous airport road to Talabani's palace at the start of his two-day visit, eschewing the helicopter trip usually taken by other visiting dignitaries as a security measure. Yes. I said two days. Bush has never stayed overnight in any of his three visits. Bush's last trip in September 2007 was to a desert airbase in Anbar province in Iraq's west. He flew in unannounced to ward off insurgent attacks and the visit was over in a few hours.

Ahmadinejad was welcomed by Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani,
with the traditional pomp and ceremony of a red-carpet greeting and honor guard as a military band played their national anthems. As the two walked along the red carpet, the Iranian president shook hands with members of the Iraqi government, and was presented with flowers by children. In their joint Baghdad news conference, the Iraqi President told Ahmadinejad
Your trip to Iraq carries a message for other countries that they should visit Iraq and never undermine the Iraqi nation. Iraq with its friends such as the Islamic Republic of Iran will remain powerful, said the Iraqi president.

We hope the visit will lead to further expansion of ties and cooperation between the two countries.
Talabani told Ahmadinejad to call him 'Uncle Jalal,' as he known in Iraq's Kurdish north. Ahmedenejad responded to this warm welcome,
This is a new page in the history of the relations between the two countries.

We have the same understanding of things and the two parties are determined to strengthen their political, economic and cultural cooperation.
An interpreter translated their conversation for reporters, even though Talabani is a fluent speaker of Farsi. Halfway through the news conference Talabani, who is 74 and overweight, signalled for a chair so he could sit down. His Iranian counterpart, a spry 51, remained on his feet.

Outside the Talabani compound, US troops who normally man
key intersections near the residence were nowhere to be seen.

After seeing Talabani, Ahmadinejad drove to Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone
to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in his office just two kilometers (one mile) from the US embassy. Maliki was equally warm in his welcome, saying that Ahmadinejad's visit was a "positive" signal to the other Arab countries.
There was a high level of trust and I frankly say that the recent Iranian position towards Iraq is extremely helpful. The visit will encourage and motivate neighboring countries to visit Iraq.
Ahmadinejad used the platform with Maliki to lash out at Bush's accusation that Tehran was supporting militants in their attacks on US troops in Iraq. In the heart of the Green Zone, Ahmadinejad said,
Bush cannot solve US problems in the region by accusing others. Gone is the era of accusations. The Iraqi nation does not want the US.

Six years ago, there were no terrorists in our region. As soon as the others landed in this country and the region, we witnessed their arrival and presence.
Bush said Saturday that he had advised al-Maliki to give the Iranian leader a message:
He's a neighbor. And the message needs to be, quit sending in sophisticated equipment that's killing our citizens.
And the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, came to Baghdad, unannounced and wearing Kevlar, to deliver Bush’s message to Maliki and other Iraqi officials. I'm betting Mullen's mission had little effect. It really doesn't add up: before the invasion, the Iraqis supposedly were building enough sophisticated WMDs to destroy Western civilization. But, after the invasion, they don't know how to build a shaped charge? Only those wily Persians know how to do that?

Bush's Mesopotamia is clearly a quagmire. The tragedy is compounded because there were many who foresaw to consequences of this reckless invasion. There were just not enough in the Congress in October of 2002 smart enough and brave enough to say "No". For example, Barack Obama had not yet reached the Senate.. Had he been there to answer the same call Hillary Clinton answered on red phone at 3:00 am in the morning, he would have said, as he actually did say then,
I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the middle east, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.
That's why I'm supporting Barack Obama for President. We've tried it the other way for the past 7+ years. Now we have to get absolutely the smartest and bravest people into positions of national leadership.

9 Moderated Comments:

Blogger TomCat said...

Ahmadinejad had no reason to fear. He wasn't the one that had destroyed their country. Obama was right to oppose the war from the beginning.

3/04/2008 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Stella by Starlight said...

Ray-Gun bombed Iran
Pappa Bush almost invaded Iraq
Busheney completed the job...
What have we accomplished?

I posted an excerpt of this article over at Swiftspeech because the Repthugs' insistence on continuing to waste now accomplished a potential peace they never saw.

Dead on comment, tomcat.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron."
~Dwight D. Eisenhower, speech, American Society of Newspaper Editors, 16 April 1953

"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."
~Voltaire, War

3/04/2008 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Very good analysis Vigil.

Ahmadinejad coming home to roost! How ironic indeed. And to think that barely 48 hours ago, the UN had imposed sanctions against Iran.

Extraordinary change in fortunes.

3/04/2008 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Commander Zaius said...

Listen carefully in the direction of Tehran and you will hear the laughter. Quagmire? That is on a good day. For all the flowers and sunshine Bush and McCain like to say is happening over there right now just a few minor changes and we will be back at square negative-one.

3/04/2008 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger GetaLife-ReadUrNews said...

Quote of the day:

Times of London, foreign editor Richard Beeston summed it up in one succinct sentence:

"Without the need to fire a shot, Iran is becoming Iraq's indispensable political ally and trading partner."

3/04/2008 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Q & A during Ahmadinejad's departure from Iraq:

One question was about US accusations of Iranian meddling in Iraq.


"We discussed with the Iraqi side the issues that serve the interests of the two countries. We are not committed to answer the demands of others."

Another question was about whether Shi'ite Muslim Iran would cultivate ties with Iraq's Sunni groups as well as with the Shi'ite political parties and Kurdish militias it once sheltered and nurtured to fight Saddam Hussein's regime.


"Our relations with all the factions in Iraq are good. This [distinction] may be important for the foreigners. But we view things differently.

Peace and stability will return to the region if the foreigners leave. We believe the powers that came from overseas thousands of miles away must leave this region and leave the issues in the hands of the locals. If they claim that they want to spend their money to develop the region, I think it's better to spend this money in their own country."


"Two months of preparations were made for your visit to Iraq. But the foreigners come secretly and discreetly. You came and stayed two days. Why?"


"We lived with each other for hundreds of years. Visits must be made openly. You should ask [the foreigners] why they make their visits secret."

3/05/2008 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"We lived with each other for hundreds of years. Visits must be made openly. You should ask [the foreigners] why they make their visits secret."

Not quite secret but almost always not publicly known but yes, I too would like to know why.

3/05/2008 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

You don't sound totally convinced Hills. If not, you should read Robert Scheer, Telling sign of a failed Iraq strategy:

....can one explain the meager attention paid to the truly historic visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Iraq?

Not only is he the first Mideast head of state to visit the country since its alleged liberation, but the very warm official welcome offered by the Iraqi government to the most vociferous critic of the United States speaks volumes to the abject failure of the Bush doctrine.

.... what leverage does the United States have over Iran when, as the image of Ahmadinejad holding hands with the top leaders of Iraq demonstrated to the world, we have put the disciples of the Iranian ayatollahs in power in Baghdad? There is no face-saving exit from Iraq without the cooperation of Tehran, and the folks who call America the "Great Satan" now hold the high cards.

... Ahmadinejad, unlike a U.S. president who has to be airlifted unannounced into ultra-secure bases, was able to convoy in from the airport in broad daylight on a road that U.S. dignitaries fear to travel. His love fest with Iraq President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd who fought on Iran's side against Iraq and who speaks Farsi, even took place outside of the safety of the Green Zone, adding emphasis to Ahmadinejad's claim that while he is welcome in Iraq, the Americans are not.

Nor did the Iraqi leaders take exception to Ahmadinejad's insistence that the U.S. has brought only terror to the region and that the continued American presence is the main obstacle to peace. On the contrary, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pronounced his talks with fellow Shiite Ahmadinejad "friendly, positive and full of trust." Video of Talabani, who asked that Ahmadinejad call him "Uncle Jalal" after holding hands and exchanging kisses with the Iranian president, was broadcast throughout the region.

... Instead of isolating the "rogue regime" of Iran, the Bush administration has catapulted the theocrats of Tehran into the center of Mideast political power. There can be no peace, whether in Lebanon, Gaza or Iraq, without the cooperation of the ayatollahs of Iran. If that was the intention of the neoconservative cabal that led Bush into this folly, its members should be tried for treason.

..... for Bush, his signature issue, the battle against terrorism, is a shambles. The terrorists are very much on the rise in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which Bush neglected for an Iraq sideshow that has cost over a trillion dollars and tens of thousands of lives. But the long-run price will be far higher, with the blowback from the massive instability that he has engendered in the region .....

Did you see this visit covered on your TV? I don't recall seeing it on ours.

3/06/2008 07:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Vigil,

Yep, read that (had already linked it too.)

Just to set the record straight: I'm convinced that Bush's trip to Iraq and that of his fellow neo-con pals were always secret -- wasn't referring to US where media folks had been more unfortunate but in relation to public exposure via UK and European media of our own Bush lapdog's Iraqi trips; you see Blair's, and even Brown's, trips to Iraq have always been public over here.

To echo what Republican Cong King said -- on Lord Trimble's pooh-poohing Hillary Clinton's participation in the N Ireland peace process, "fair is fair" i.e., "she did participate..."

3/09/2008 07:17:00 PM  

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