As predicted, if the approaching “show of hands” vote by the 275-member Iraqi assembly goes as expected, the United States will be mired in Iraq for another three years. The assembly is set to vote on a pact between the United States vis-a-vis “W” and Iraqi officials. The Iraqi cabinet has already approved the pact.
Iraq won a number of concessions in the deal, including a hard timeline for withdrawal – from Iraqi cities by the end of June 2009 and from Iraq by the end of 2011. The act also gives Iraq the right to search U.S. military cargo and the right to try U.S. Soldiers for crimes committed while they are off their bases and off-duty.
Other included terms require that U.S. troops obtain Iraqi permission for all military operations, and that they hand over the files of all detainees in U.S. custody to the Iraqi authorities, who will decide their fate. The pact also forbids U.S. troops from using Iraq as a launch-pad or transit point for attacking another country, which may reassure Syria and Iran.
Although the pact has the potential to pass by a bare majority – a vote of 138 – officials are nervous that such a slim majority will hinder the effectiveness of the pact. In addition to such a slight majority, several groups oppose the pact and are demanding that it be put to a national referendum.
So, buckle up, we are approaching six years of a war that was touted as “Mission Accomplished” in May 2003. We aren’t coming home – something that Americans had better learn to accept. And along with accepting our entrenchment in Iraq, we better be able to accept the fact that hundreds more American lives and Iraqi lives will be lost before this is over – if it is ever over.
Photo credit: The Nation