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May 18, 2004

The Sovereignty Promise as Exit Strategy/Excuse

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:29 pm

This weblog usually stays away from politics, so let’s just call this posting prognostication — a little musing spiced with our customary skepticism.


exit  Many in the press and public are wondering whether the June 30th date for the transfer of power in Iraq will hold (e.g., Newsweek, Pencil It In,” 05-17-05).  Others ponder what “sovereignty” really is, if U.S. troops are still in Iraq (e.g., Consortium News. com, Iraq’s “Sovereignty” Mirage, 05-18-04). 


The pyj team had an “aha! moment” on Sunday, when we heard Secretary of State Colin Powell being interviewed on ABC This Week.  Secretary Powell told George Stephanopoulos that theoretically the new Iraqi government can demand that foreign troops leave and America would respect such a request from a sovereign state. 


Our reaction:  that’s their exit strategy! 





  • As in: America has to keep its word, and we promised the Iraqi people and the world that we’d hand over sovereignty.  Evil-doers lie, but God’s Good Guys don’t.

Secretary Powell, the good man and good solider, sent up the signal on Sunday.  Weren’t we listening?  Some administration officials are said to be preparing talking points, in case they announce that sovereignty will be delayed.   But, couldn’t that be a distraction or a bureaucratic sop?

 

idea dude small  If we were political strategists, with an eye toward averting a re-election disaster in November, we would certainly be looking for a way to cut America’s losses in Iraq, in order to heal the Administration’s wounds before they’re mortal.  No matter how many American troops stay in Iraq after the handover of sovereignty, more Americans will be killed, much more American money will be spent there, and ugly turmoil or rebellion will surely take place.  There certainly won’t be any great success tableau to present to the voters before Election Day.

 

Seems to us that it would be politically advantageous to pull out under the cover of promised sovereignty for the great people of Iraq.  Sure, we can leave some advisors and earmark reconstruction funds, but politics dictates bringing our boys and girls home and showing the world that we keep our promises.  If Iraq turns into a hell hole, we can always say “they asked us to leave, although we advised against it.  We are not occupiers or imperialists.”   When you have no exit strategy and no control over events, the Sovereignty Excuse must look very good as a way out. 

 

What do you think?



  • Update (05-25-04):  Somebody needs to remind TChirs at TalkLeft that Colin Powell has already told the nation that we would pull out American troops when the new Iraqi government asks us to do so.  All the vagueness about a withdrawal timetable will just make it easier for the Aministration to say it’s surprised when the new government asks us to leave, and we “reluctantly” acquiesce to their full sovereignty.

2 Comments

  1. The coming October surprise: Yup, I too thought that Powell’s comment hadn’t been reported on enough, but I hadn’t thought of the political implications. Like, the new Iraqi government starts in August, then by mid-Sept (say, just after the GOP convention), it requests a US withdrawal, and the first phase starts in time for some of our boys to visibly come home in the last half of October. Of course, that doesn’t have to be the end of it; there could be “problems” after the election that keep the rest of the troops there for a few more years, but the Bush campaign would harvest the political value of their “exit strategy”.

    Comment by ken — May 23, 2004 @ 2:35 am

  2. The coming October surprise: Yup, I too thought that Powell’s comment hadn’t been reported on enough, but I hadn’t thought of the political implications. Like, the new Iraqi government starts in August, then by mid-Sept (say, just after the GOP convention), it requests a US withdrawal, and the first phase starts in time for some of our boys to visibly come home in the last half of October. Of course, that doesn’t have to be the end of it; there could be “problems” after the election that keep the rest of the troops there for a few more years, but the Bush campaign would harvest the political value of their “exit strategy”.

    Comment by ken — May 23, 2004 @ 2:35 am

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