Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Playing Politics with Timetables

by MARJORIE COHN

In another Woody Allen moment reminiscent of George W. Bush pinning the Medal of Freedom on disgraced ex-CIA Director George Tenet, a third George – General Casey – has taken a page from the Democrats’ troop withdrawal playbook.

After being prepped with the Pentagon’s 74-page cheat sheet about “staying the course” rather than “cutting-and-running” from Iraq, the Republicans walked in lockstep for the past two weeks, shooting down the Democrats’ calls for bringing our soldiers home.

Late last week, Casey, the US commander in Iraq, condemned the concept of a withdrawal timetable. “I don’t like it,” he declared. “I feel it would limit my flexibility. I think it would give the enemy a fixed timetable, and I think it would send a terrible signal to a new government of national unity in Iraq that’s trying to stand up and get its legs underneath it.”

At the same time, speaking out of both sides of his medals, Casey was secretly recommending that Bush drastically reduce our troop commitment, coincidentally, just before the November elections. How bizarre.

Maybe it wasn’t Woody Allen who said, “When you’re being run out of town, get in front of the crowd and make it look like a parade.” But that’s just what the un-indicted Karl Rove is best at.

Karl Rove knows that the mess his boss created in Iraq will be on voters’ minds come November. By pulling the rug out from under the (semi-unified) Democrats’ strongest issue, he maximizes the chances of GOP retention of Congress.

Senator John Kerry, who finally admitted a couple of weeks ago he was wrong to vote for the war, said Casey’s plan “looks an awful lot like what the Republicans spent the last week attacking. Will the partisan attack dogs now turn their venom and disinformation campaign on General Casey?” Unlikely, given the GOP’s proclivity to goosestep to its commander in chief.

Keeping his options open, Bush conditions the pullback on the Iraqis’ ability to do the job. He can always send the troops back in after the election.

Things are not going swimmingly in Iraq right now. Twelve US troops died or were found dead this week. On Friday, a car bomb killed at least 5 people and wounded 18 in Basra. A bomb hit the Sunni mosque in Hibhib northeast of Baghdad where Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed earlier this month; Friday’s bomb killed 10 worshippers and wounded 15. Also on Friday, the Iraqi government declared a state of emergency in Baghdad as US and Iraqi forces battled resistance fighters armed with rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades and rifles near the Green Zone.

On Monday, bombs at markets in two Iraqi cities killed at least 40 people and at least 22 others died throughout Iraq.

The same day, Zalmay Khalizad, US ambassador to Iraq, verified claims in a paper he signed documenting retaliation against Iraqis working with the US in the Green Zone. He touted the 8 hours of electricity per day that people in Baghdad now enjoy, up from 4 just a month ago.

Ultimately, the Bush administration plans to retain a small contingent of about 50,000 troops and the large “super” military bases it is building in Iraq, the raison d’etre for Operation “Iraqi Freedom.” Bush has no intention of ever leaving Iraq.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki presented a 24-point national reconciliation plan on Sunday.

It calls for the recognition of the legitimacy of the national resistance, differentiating it from the terrorists. The plan also calls for a timetable for withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq but specifies no actual date.

According to recent surveys, 87 percent of Iraqis favor a withdrawal timetable for US forces. On Monday, one Sunni leader in Iraq said the insurgency would persist until Washington sets such a timetable, but 7 Sunni groups offered the government a conditional truce.

The prime minister’s plan aims to offer amnesty to insurgents “not proved to be involved in crimes, terrorist activities and war crimes against humanity.” That would seem to exclude Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice.

Oddly, it was the Democrats who screamed the loudest about the amnesty plan. Senator Carl Levin called it “unconscionable,” exclaiming, “For heaven’s sake, we liberated that country.”

Tell that to the Iraqi people.

MARJORIE COHN is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president-elect of the National Lawyers Guild.

 

 

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She writes, speaks and does media about human rights and U.S. foreign policy. Her most recent book is “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.” Visit her website at http://marjoriecohn.com/ and follow her on Twitter at @marjoriecohn.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
James McEnteer
Eugene, Oregon and the Rising Cost of Cool
Norman Pollack
The Great Debate: Proto-Fascism vs. the Real Thing
Michael Winship
The Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears
John Steppling
Fear Level Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Debate Night: Undecided is Everything, Advantage Trump
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail