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Iraq Vote: "Operation Deception"
By Bill Scheurer, Peace Majority Report
The Democratic Congress served up another bowl of political slush this week with its latest vote on Iraq, designed to isolate Republicans in November 2008.
Fortunately, no one seems to be paying much attention this time -- partly
because the Bush press conference on the Iraq interim progress report overshadowed it in the news, but mostly because more people in the peace movement are getting wise to their game.
Like their last upside-down Iraq vote, PeaceMajority Report will not be including this
"Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act" in our scorecard when updates resume.
Even though there was enough window-dressing in this bill to marshal all but one of the Progressive and Out-of-Iraq Caucus members -- Dennis Kucinich stood alone in resisting this charade -- we cannot play along with their political game.
We cannot endorse a bill that still empowers this President to develop a "comprehensive United States strategy for Iraq" that would assert "United States national security interests in Iraq and the broader Middle East region." This is what he says he has been doing all along!
The so-called "redeployment" would still allow remaining forces to fully pursue "al-Qaeda and its affiliated organizations in Iraq," and to train and equip "members of the Iraqi Security Forces."
Moreover, the measure expressly includes only legitimate military forces, which would allow the massive mercenary force of private contractors to remain without limitation.
Combine these elements with massive air support, and you can see the bipartisan convergence for an indefinite occupation of Iraq, propping up complicit Iraqi governments at will.
Happily, there is no rejoicing in the peace community this time. About this "flawed" bill, Sue Udry of United for Peace and Justice said this: "We all know that the key will be the vote in September on the next Iraq/Afghanistan funding bill ($145 billion) ... It must be made clear to Congress that ALL U.S. troops and military contractors must come home from Iraq on a rapid timeline."
While the corporate mainstream media cluelessly parrots the party line -- with headlines like "House Votes to Force Bush to Withdraw US Troops From Iraq" and "US House votes for troop pullout" -- more discriminating news sources are smelling the political stench.
An article in The Hill astutely notes: "Pointing to recent poll numbers, Democratic operatives are confident that Republicans who have consistently supported the president on Iraq will regret their votes in November 2008." Which, of course, is the whole purpose of their game.
Likewise, McClatchy News (one of the consistently more reliable sources) reports: "Both the House vote and a similar one planned in the Senate next week add pressure on Republicans facing widespread frustration with the war." This article accurately characterized the bill as "a dramatic change of course - a troop withdrawal to start in four months and a shift in the mission by next year mainly to fight against international terrorists" (emphasis added), rather than a full withdrawal and troop pullout to end the occupation.
Meanwhile, our sharpest analysts appropriately expose these maneuvers toward a so-called "exit plan" as an emerging political deal "to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq in exchange for bipartisan Congressional support for the long-term (read: more or less permanent) garrisoning of that country." Yes, both parties plan to stay. Read that loud and clear.
Sadly, this is where these votes are really leading, while the Democrats exact their political pound of flesh along the way. Hopefully, we are not falling for this "Iraq: Operation Deception" anymore.