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.