The revelation that Bush will sign an agreement for a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq before his term is up confirms the real reason he invaded Iraq and changed its regime.
It was never about weapons of mass destruction. It was never about ties between Saddam and al Qaeda. And it was never about bringing democracy to the Iraqi people. These claims were lies to cover up the real motive for Operation Iraqi Freedom: to create a permanent American presence in Iraq. With Bush’s November 26, 2007 announcement that the United States and Iraq were negotiating a permanent “security relationship,” his lies have been exposed.
Bush declared, Iraqi leaders “understand that their success will require U.S. political, economic, and security engagement that extends beyond my presidency.” His outline for the permanent U.S.-Iraqi “Economic” relationship is “to encourage the flow of foreign investments to Iraq.” Two senior Iraqi officials told the Associated Press that Bush is negotiating preferential treatment for U.S. investments.
This isn’t the first time Bush has tried to turn Iraq into an investment haven for U.S. oil companies. He used to tout the “Iraqi oil law,” which would transfer control of three-quarters of Iraq’s oil to foreign companies, as the benchmark for Iraqi progress. But in the face of opposition by the Iraqi oil unions, the parliament has refused to pass that law.
All along, Bush has been building mega-bases In Iraq. Camp Anaconda, which sits on 15 square miles of Iraqi soil, has a pool, gym, theater, beauty salon, school and six apartment buildings. Our $600 million American embassy in the Green Zone just opened. The largest embassy in the world, it is a self-contained city with no need for Iraqi electricity, food or water.
Although Bush has negotiated terms to keep U.S. troops in Iraq in perpetuity, the majority of American people oppose a permanent American occupation of Iraq.
So do many Iraqis. University of Michigan Juan Cole’s blog, “Informed Comment,” cited an Al-Hayat report in Arabic that the Sadr Movement and the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front rejected the “memorandum of understanding” between the United States and Iraq that Bush and Nuri al-Maliki signed. These groups say this agreement would be illegal unless agreed to by the legislature, and they complain about the absence of any timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
No wonder Iraqis oppose the U.S. occupation. The organization Just Foreign Policy has estimated that 1,118,846 Iraqis have been killed since Operation Iraqi Freedom began. Australian born journalist John Pilger wrote, “The scale of death caused by the British and U.S. governments may well have surpassed that of the Rwanda genocide, making it the biggest single act of mass murder of the late 20th century and the 21st century.”
Yet Congress refuses to reign in the President. When Bush announced that violence is down in Baghdad so he can withdraw 5,000 troops, the Democratic candidates cheered, diverting their criticism to the lack of political progress in Iraq. But with so many Iraqis dead, there are fewer to kill.
We the people have to keep the pressure on. As we demand the United States withdraw completely from Iraq, we must also forbid Bush to attack Iran. Our voices must be heard – by Congress, by the media, and throughout the world.
MARJORIE COHN is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law