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A Different Transition: The Illusion of Sovereignty and Stealing of Billions

June 30th, 2004

The “handover of power” in Iraq is not much more than a political illusion. The handover will not give real power to the Iraqi government, it will not be a release of control by the U.S. government, the troops will not be pulled out, and really very little will change other than superficially.

Before leaving, occupation chief Paul Bremer signed more than one hundred edicts controlling everything in Iraq from traffic rules to constitutional amendments. Here are just a few of the facts about the changeover:

  • 138,000 U.S. troops will stay in Iraq, in addition to 20,000 non-U.S. foreign troops
  • Fourteen U.S. military bases are being constructed, many of them permanent
  • The Allawi government will not have the power to change the constitution
  • The Allawi government will not have the power to change the laws set down by Bremer, or make laws of their own
  • U.S. and Western defense contractors will have complete immunity from Iraqi law
  • The U.S. can still ban any political party it wants and prohibit their candidates from running

In short, the handover is one pretty much in name only–our troops will still be there, we will still be hand-picking the leaders and writing the laws, our corporations still running the show.

According to some, this amounts to an occupation power interfering with another country’s sovereignty, which is against international law–but that might be a problem, as we are hearing–only laterally, subtly–that this is not a real handover of power, not real sovereignty. Reports from anonymous senior Bush officials speak of what will happen when Iraq gets “full sovereignty.” Ah, that explains it. What we have now is limited sovereignty, similar to prisoners having “limited” freedom to travel, i.e. from one side of their cell to the other.

And to add insult to injury: billions of dollars of oil revenues from Iraq cannot be accounted for. Apparently, no clear records were kept and we don’t know exactly how much oil was pumped or sold, and there is anywhere from one to four billion dollars missing from the coffers.

Well, that should certainly allay all suspicions around the world that we’re stealing Iraq’s oil.

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  1. Enumclaw
    July 2nd, 2004 at 05:08 | #1

    We have managed to make life nearly impossible for the incoming, caretaker government, and whatever government follows.

    They’re in a Catch-22. If they aren’t aggressive about booting the US out, it gives excuse/reason to the insurgents to continue their fighting and killing; the terrorists will see their campaign as being one fighting for their nation (getting to kill Americans is just a happy side bennie).

    If they ARE aggressive and boot us out, and pull a Phillipines-style rejection of us using permanent bases, then the warlords and mullahs and strongmen types will probably slug it out and go for an all-out power grab, and the Iraqi government doesn’t have enough of an army or police force to do anything about it.

    Like so much of our non-excellent-Iraqi-adventure, it appears that nobody gave thought to “what do we do afterwards?” As much as I was against the war at that time, for that reason, once we were there I figure we should’ve done whatever we needed to make the damn thing work.

    If that meant raising taxes, doubling the strength of the armed forces, and absolutely blanketing Iraq with aid workers, armed forces for security, and personally buying off every Iraqi who didn’t have a job, fine.

    The entire point of going to war with another nation is to remove whatever paradigm exists there and totally/utterly replace it with one that is to your liking. For example, I have never been to Japan, but even I know that the way we “shocked and awed” the Japanese in the aftermath of WWII was pretty tremendous upheaval to their ideas and notions.

    And that’s what it took; they’ve changed into this strangely Easternized version of an industrial, free, liberal society. We blasted ’em apart and rebuilt them (through a relatively heavy hand) into something much closer to what we wanted.

    Well, that’s what we should have done in Iraq. If it meant staying 5 years instead of one, that’s what we should have done. Of course, THAT would have taken true political courage (every time I read about how brave and noble Bush is for “staying the course” in the face of “naysayers”, I wanna puke) and probably cost some jobs.

    Bush’s version- get in, get out, hopefully in time to not dork up the election- just stinks.


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