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The Definition Of Withdrawal,” As Applied To Iraq


The definition of “withdrawal,” as applied to Iraq
By Michael Schwartz, Stony Brook State University

I have just come across a fascinating document, written at the Army War College by a Lieutenant Colonel who has just returned from an assignment in Baghdad as "Deputy Health Attaché to the US Embassy in Baghdad, working directly with the Minster of Health on the first implemented health policy since Operation IRAQI FREEDOM began." This alone is interesting, since it documents once again the way the US administrative apparatus is interlaced with the Iraqi government (i.e., US overseers sit next to the top Iraqi officials).

But look at what he says in the abstract to his 38 page report written just last month:

"Following combat operations and phasing into stabilization operations, basic health care infrastructure and systems have often been either disrupted or degraded altogether. To address this situation, the U.S. Government requires a coordinated interagency approach to formulate a strategic health care plan. Incorporating all relevant players into this endeavor will promote sound organizational design, unity of effort, and a culture favor- able to synchronization. This paper contains specific recommendations and advocates a renewed effort toward addressing them. The primary constructs under review are U.S. Government organization, leadership, and culture as they relate to a strategic health care policy. This approach will reduce redundant efforts, conserve resources, and augment the legitimacy of the new Government of Iraq while supporting U.S. national strategic aims." (my italics)

Need I point out the imperial arrogance of this???? The picture here is the US creating and implementing a plan and utilizing Iraqi agencies as instruments of the policy it develops, with the ultimate goal augmenting "the legitimacy of the new Government of Iraq."

And, more broadly, we see here that the U.S. government has not even begun to abandon its original intent of turning Iraq into a client state, that is, fully compliant with U.S. decision-making about both its internal policies (as evidenced here) and its relationship to its neighbors (as evidenced in myriad other documents).

This does not put the lie to the claims of “U.S. withdrawal.” Instead, it simply describes more fully the definition of the term “withdrawal” in the modern Washington vocabulary. The word withdrawal can now take its place in the new dictionary with the terms “collateral damage,” “enduring bases,” “preventive war,” and other new additions to the Washington-speak vocabulary.

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