LA Times Op-ed

A hastily imposed plan for democracy has little chance to succeed in Iraq

America’s colonial efforts in Iraq are peculiarly un-American in both their spirit and implementation. But the most disturbing aspect of American policy in Iraq may be the new plan to hurriedly turn over sovereignty to a democratically elected Iraqi government.

It is the height of hubris to think that self-appointed American occupiers, who rode into Iraq on the backs of tanks, can now simply order Iraqis to become free and democratic — and on a timetable that was designed more to address White House domestic political concerns than to respond to realities on the ground in Iraq.

The non-withdrawal withdrawal

There is widespread agreement that some reduced contingent of U.S. troops will be needed to maintain peace in the country long after sovereignty is returned to the Iraqis

So a “withdrawal” cynically timed for the Presidential elections won’t be a withdrawal at all. If an occupying army remains in Iraq, then Iraq is not really sovereign – and our troops will continue  to be targets.

I doubt Saddam’s capture will make much difference in the level of attacks launched by the insurgents. Someone hiding under a house, looking disheveled and covered with lice, couldn’t have been leading an insurgency. And indeed, a car bomb exploded near Baghdad after his capture killing at least 17.

The resistance is a loose network, not a rigidly controlled hierarchy. In fact, they may increase the attacks to show they are still active.
A reporter on KPFK just pointed out a war crimes trial of Saddam could be embarrassing for the US, as some of the harshest rule of the Baath Party happened in the 80’s – when the US actively supported Saddam.