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Bush's Feel-Good Iraq Plan Versus Reality: an Anti-B.S. Guide

Tonight (5/24), Americans will be presented with Bush's "vision" for Iraq, a speech that should be retitled, "What the White House Wants You to Believe This Week." Various previews of the content of the speech have indicated that the "vision" is simply business as usual for Bush. Business as usual being, of course, hiding beneath a thin PR veneer constructed of half-truths and corporate doubletalk glued together by feel-good platitudes and evangelical exhortations against "evil."

Based on the "talking points" expected to be presented, here's an "anti-B.S." guide to Bush's Iraq plan

Bush Plan:
Authorize a multinational peacekeeping force to maintain order.

The UN and individual nations have repeatedly said in recent weeks that until the situation in Iraq calms down, they WILL NOT send any forces into Iraq. So while "multinational peacekeeping forces" may sound good in a speech, the existence of such a thing on the ground in Iraq in the near future is highly unlikely.

In the wording of the UN Security Council Resolution just submitted by Bush and Blair, they refer to "multinational forces" as if they were already on the ground in one section, then speaks of the creation of a "multinational force" in a later section. What happened to "coalition forces?" Are they now interchangeable terms? This is just one example of the "intentional ambiguity" built into the resolution.

Bush Plan:
The US will keep 130,000 troops in Iraq after June 30 to "keep peace."

Even some of America's European allies have warned that keeping such a large US force in Iraq would be proof to the Iraqis that the nation is still under US domination. That being the perception, any "peace" is highly unlikely in the near future.

Bush Plan
The future Iraqi government will be allowed to "review" the presence of the U.S.-led multinational force. The force's mandate would be reviewed in 12 months "or at the request of the Transitional Government of Iraq."

Notice that the phrasing of the resolution proposed by Blair and Bush calls for a multinational force. And because, as stated above, a multinational force is highly unlikely to exist for some time to come, this is a meaningless "sound good" phrase at best - a cynical corporate trick of rhetoric at worst. Afterall, Bush can claim later that US forces - as opposed to a multinational force - is NOT subject to any review.

And speaking of cheap corporate tricks of rhetoric, how about the phrases "future Iraqi government" and "transitional government"? As the "Baltimore Sun" pointed out on 5/24, "It wasn't immediately clear whether this was a reference to the interim government that will take over on June 30 or the government chosen by the Transitional National Assembly due to be elected by Jan. 31." The Bush administration has continually used the "open to interpretation" trick to manuver and change the rules as it goes along. I would call this modus operandi the "label now, redefine later bait and switch game." And by floating several different terms (coalition gov, interim gov, transitional gov) at once, the White House is insuring (intentionally) maximum confusion in the public mind.

Bush Plan:
The US will remove its troops if the present coalition government asks it to.

The present coalition government, having been hand-picked by the Bush administration, is hardly likely to ask the Bush administration to leave. And as the offer to "leave if asked" apparently applies only to the Coalition government, this means Bush can later say NO if the Interim Government picked by Brahmini asks the US to leave. It will be interesting to see how Bush qualifies this - or if he does.

Bush Plan:
The new interim government would be given "control" over oil and gas resources -- as well as a fund now in the hands of the United States and Britain where oil revenue has (allegedly) been deposited.

Again we have corporate rhetoric. "Control" on paper for the new government is not the same as real control. The real control of Iraq's oil and gas resources is in the hands of the western corporations and their private security contractors, who have taken possession of the oil extraction and refining facilities. The number of Iraqis working at these facilities is extremely low, with many former workers having been displaced as soon as the western contractors took over. In fact, the Iraqi managers of the facilities were the first to be pushed out. As to a "fund" - Bush must be referring to the Iraqi government payroll because nearly all Iraqi oil and gas revenues are currently being used just to keep the government going. Very little has gone into reconstruction or human services for the general Iraqi public.

In addition, Bush has placed John Negroponte, a Kissinger-like corporazi with a record of human rights abuse complicity in Central America, in charge of all Iraq aid funds. That includes all monies for reconstruction, which means Negroponte can decide who gets the contracts in the oil and gas industries and thus who has the real control. By the way, Bush is using shady corporate rhetoric where Negroponte is concerned. Bush keeps asserting that Negroponte is not replacing Bremer, implying intentionally that Negroponte won't have the same powers. Well, guess what? Negroponte will have MORE power than Bremer. In fact, Negroponte himself describes his duties as "vast."

The only way that real control of Iraq's oil and gas can be given to Iraqis is for US corporations to turn the ACTUAL FACILITIES over to Iraqis, leaving only a few advisors, and then only if those are requested.

Bush Plan:
U.S.-led international forces will continue "to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq including by preventing and deterring terrorism."

As we all now know by now, giving the Bush cartel the right to take "all necessary measures" is not a good plan. Especially with the extremely open and general wording of the Bush/Blair resolution. I suspect that "deterring terrorism" will continue to be used as an excuse to commit all sorts of economic and human rights abuses. Under this sort of carte blanche, I would expect to see the same situation shaping up around Iraq's oil and gas fields that occurred around US corporate holdings in Indonesia and Burma - a human rights and environmental nightmare where countless horrific abuses have been committed in the name of "security."

If you want to see the NeoCon "template" for Iraq, read: "Bloody Hands Full of Gold," the story of Henry Kissinger and his corporazi pals in Indonesia.

Bush Plan
Iraqi security forces will be under the control of an Iraqi general who will operate "in partnership" with coalition forces.

On May 24, Deputy Sec. of State Richard Armitage stated unequivocally that the US plans to retain complete control of Iraq's police, security forces and military. Doesn't sound like much of a "partnership" to me. And you can bet that any Iraqi general partnering with the coalition will first get the Bush rubber stamp.

I think the reality of a "sovereign Iraq" under the Bush scheme has been summed up best by laws of war expert Sir Adam Roberts:

"Critics may view the situation as comparable to that of "independent" satellite governments under axis domination before the second world war, as described by George Kennan in a 1939 report on Slovakia to the US state department: "In internal matters, it has exactly the same independence as a dog on a leash. As long as the dog trots quietly and cheerfully at his master's side - and in the same direction - he is quite free; if he starts out on any tangents of his own, he feels the pull at once."
-Guardian, May 25 (UK), 2004