In a curious move, the Bush Administration is now refusing a demand from the duly elected Iraqi government for a date of withdrawal. It appears that we are not done rescuing the Iraqis — no matter what the Iraqis may think. So it appears that a continued open-ended occupation now opposed by a majority of voters, a majority in Congress, and a majority of Iraqis will continue until the White House is satisfied. It appears that all that business about the freely elected government was simply aspirational.
State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos issued the rejection: “The US government and the government of Iraq are in agreement that we, the US government, we want to withdraw, we will withdraw. However, that decision will be conditions-based.”
One condition is apparently not the will of the Iraqi people or its government. While the Bush Administration insists that it is not an “occupying power,” this decision would confirms that status. If the Iraqi government cannot demand our departure by a date certain, it would seem that we remain in the role of an occupying power.
On Tuesday, Iraq insisted that it will not consent to any security part with the United States without a date for the pullout of U.S. troops.
For the full story, click here.