If we are to believe that the United States is involved in a “war” and not an open ended occupation of Iraq, then we are supposed to give credence to the Iraqi government and its wishes. We shouldn’t be exerting undue influence in their affairs or votes. We should be respecting their wishes, even if Bush wants to ignore Congress, his own generals (past and current) as well as the will of the American people.
Yet, over the past few years, there have been a number of occasions where the Iraqi Parliament has had numerous members (most recently in January, when approximately 130 of 190 members) who signed off on a petition for the US to withdraw troops from Iraq. Wouldn’t this little tidbit be important? Wouldn’t the three or four other times this has been raised by the very government Bush is attempting to say is legitimate be something that the American people should know? Would another 5%, 10%, 15% of Americans be in favor of withdrawal if they knew this?
Yet all we get are “Republicans say Democrats are weak and defeatists” and other mindless horseshit. So much for the “fourth estate” finally waking up and doing their job.
I got an email forwarded to me yesterday by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream from “Voters for Peace”, which contained the following paragraph:
This week, VotersForPeace met with an Iraqi parliamentarian in Washington, DC and learned that in January, 2007, 130 of 190 Iraqi Parliamentarians voted for withdrawal of US troops. This overwhelming majority vote in favor of U.S. withdrawal by the Iraqi Parliament was not reported in the U.S. media and continues to be ignored by the Bush Administration. We cannot allow the US government to continue to bully its way through Iraq. We need to get the message out to Bush, to Congress, and to the American people that Congress needs to react to the president's veto by passing an even stronger bill than the current one - a bill without loopholes - a bill that really brings the troops home and that will work toward the political solution needed to bring peace to the people of Iraq.
Not being the kind of guy who takes things that are asserted by activist groups at face value, I wanted to do some digging here. Of course, they were right – this hasn’t received a peep in the media. Maybe Keith Olbermann would be interested in this information.
All recent surveys indicate that majorities of both Sunni and Shi’a support the right of armed resistance against American forces. All surveys show that the vast majority of Iraqis want the US to set a deadline for withdrawal. At least 131 members of the Iraqi parliament have petitioned for a withdrawal deadline. Instead of accepting the will of the people and the parliament, the US continues to recognize, fund and militarily support a tiny sectarian clique in power. The White House national security adviser, in a leaked memorandum, has suggested reshaping the Baghdad regime by offering money to compliant Iraqi political factions.
Earlier today, a post in Iraq Slogger (haven’t heard of it before, but it links to and refers to similar sources as Juan Cole) noted the following:
The Sadrist Current repeated its criticisms against al-Maliki for his refusal to push for the departure of occupation forces from Iraq, and announced that 133 Iraqi deputies (out of 275) have signed a petition calling for a scheduled withdrawal.
The post in Iraq Slogger refers to the current summit in Egypt and also refers to Maliki’s government refusing to put language into a “final declaration” of the summit (interestingly, it is reported to already have been 99% written, even though the summit isn’t over for another 2 days) which calls for a timetable for US troop withdrawal fro Iraq.
What this shows, to me, is that there is further weakening of support in Iraq for Maliki. Over the past few weeks, a further splintering of the Shiite factions in Iraq’s government has continued, in addition to the precarious position that Maliki is in.
Back in March, 2007, Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) and a few other members of Congress held a videoconference with various Iraqi officials. Of course, this also got little notice here, but there were some very telling quotes here as well.
M.P. Saleh al-Mutlak:
I will like to emphasize a point when you are talking about the Parliament and when you are talking about the people. I think the question, or part of it, says if the Parliament would vote tomorrow would they vote for the American presence in Iraq or to leave Iraq. As a parliamentary person as the head of a block in the Parliament I would like to tell you now that the Parliament is not representing the Iraqi people anymore.
People who elected us at some point they would not elect us now if the government will continue as it is. Because we failed. We failed to bring to a government that can bring peace and security and services to the people. Unless this government will be changed then do not expect to see us again in the parliament. There were some forces before when we talked about democracy in Iraq everyone in Iraq know that this election was not the decent and the right election in Iraq. The cheating in this election was huge.
So much for the “purple fingers”.
M.P. Mohammed al-Dynee:
And my heart is bleeding for our youngsters and yours that are being killed every single day. All nationalists want a scheduling of American forces withdrawing from Iraq. However, this withdrawal has to be scheduled and studied by both, the American side and the Nationalist Iraqi movement without any influence of the Iranians who have interests in Iraq.
I want to tell you about an incident that has happened members of the Parliament a group of the Iraqi parliament that have visited the Iranians in Tehran in the past period. The first request for harmony was the immediate withdrawal of the American forces from Iraq. After the return of this group more than 109 members of the Parliament have signed a petition in approval for this move. This is something that whoever that is viewing us right now and the American people have to know about.
The war that has been waged against Iraq has resulted in nothing but destruction and death. There is more than one million Iraqis that have been killed. Nine million people, the Iraq people have become refugees which is about 33 percent of the Iraqi population until today. There is more than 300,000 Iraqis that are unaccounted for. 90,000 Iraqis in prison that are run by the American forces, the Iraqi government that is related to the Death Squads and the militia, the Iranian militia, or the militias that are in Iraq. And this is something that we want the American public to know about because the American people have associations and organizations that are concerned with the rights of animals.
So much for “not doing body counts”.
M.P. Osama al-Nujaifi:
I thank you. I assure you no Parliament member dares to say that he wants the American forces to stay in Iraq. This is the truthful wish and desire of seventy percent of the honest Parliamentary members, and this excludes the ones that are loyal to Iran and the Kurdistan coalition that has interests in the American forces staying in Iraq. There is a clear desire for American forces to exit Iraq. However, right now we are talking about the method American forces chooses to leave Iraq. We have to set a timetable, a schedule for this withdrawal.
M.P. Nadim al-Jaberi (on the phone):
This issue is a very complicated and complex issue, and cannot be solved easily. Problems would have been avoided if the withdrawal happened from the first year of the invasion. But postponing the withdrawal all this time has complicated the Iraqi situation furthermore. The U.S. presence in Iraq has caused the creation of a many military groups in Iraq. They were formed as a reaction for the U.S. military presence in Iraq. Some of these groups are fighting against the U.S. presence in Iraq and some of the other groups are fighting against the Iraqis and the political process in Iraq.
I believe that putting a timetable for withdrawing the U.S. troops would be a very important step in giving all Iraqis confidence that this occupation is going to end.
Could this be ANY clearer? 70% of Iraqi parliament members are for a withdrawal. Usually, there are around 80 or so of the 250 members who are not present at any given time. That makes the percentage of Iraqi parliament members in favor of withdrawal even higher. In September 2006 (link right above), 104 members voted for withdrawal. In July 2005, over 100 parliament members voted for a withdrawal.
Where is the press? Where is the coverage? Where is the outrage? What about the will of the Iraqi people? Or their government, regardless of the level of legitimacy?
And why aren’t the Democrats citing these votes every chance they get? Wouldn’t this bolster their position? Wouldn’t this completely undercut the republicans’ and Bush’s position? Wouldn’t this help in the debate over the current funding bill?
Don’tcha think this is a wee bit important?