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The MSM Picks Up On The Permanent-Iraq-Bases Story

Indulge me for a second. Two years ago I shopped around a deeply-reported piece about U.S. plans for permanent bases. No one wanted it. Print and TV. Seriously. Too shrill, too conspiracy-theory, too hot. The American Prospect‘s Mike Tomasky was the only editor I could interest, and I’m proud of the result.

Now McClatchy and the Washington Post are all over the permanent-bases story, since Bush keeps proving the shrillbots correct. The Post:

High-level negotiations over the future role of the U.S. military in Iraq have turned into an increasingly acrimonious public debate, with Iraqi politicians denouncing what they say are U.S. demands to maintain nearly 60 bases in their country indefinitely.

Top Iraqi officials are calling for a radical reduction of the U.S. military’s role here after the U.N. mandate authorizing its presence expires at the end of this year. Encouraged by recent Iraqi military successes, government officials have said that the United States should agree to confine American troops to military bases unless the Iraqis ask for their assistance, with some saying Iraq might be better off without them.

“The Americans are making demands that would lead to the colonization of Iraq,” said Sami al-Askari, a senior Shiite politician on parliament’s foreign relations committee who is close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. “If we can’t reach a fair agreement, many people think we should say, ‘Goodbye, U.S. troops. We don’t need you here anymore.’ “

More al-Askari, to McClatchy, where he tones down the shrill:

“There is only one agenda for us-we need foreign troops because our forces are not capable yet to defend Iraq inside and outside of Iraq,” al Askari said. But when Iraq reaches the point it can defend itself, “That’s it, no more foreign troops on our soil,” he added.

“It seems from the draft (agreement) and from the discussions that the Americans have something else in their mind, for instance fighting Al Qaida or terrorism. That’s why they want a free hand in arresting any Iraqi. But the Iraqis say, ‘no you don’t have the free hand’.”

The up-is-downism is insane here. David Satterfield from the State Department tells the Post that a plan the Iraqis describe as taking 58 permanent bases is intended to “to see Iraqi sovereignty strengthened, not weakened.” Not a single Iraqi who isn’t Nouri al-Maliki — dependent on the U.S. at this point for his power — accepts the deal. It isn’t in our interest, it isn’t in Iraq’s interest, but it most certainly is in al-Qaeda’s interest.

If some people have in the past argued about the fact of the occupation, all the people of the Peninsula have now acknowledged it. The best proof of this is the Americans’ continuing aggression against the Iraqi people using the Peninsula as a staging post, even though all its rulers are against their territories being used to that end, but they are helpless.

That’s from Usama bin Laden’s 1998 declaration of jihad against the “Jews and the Crusaders.” Everything Bush is now doing bolsters bin Laden’s propaganda. Americans will die because of the Bush/Maliki deal. Maybe if there was some MSM interest in the stakes here a couple years ago, we wouldn’t have been so sandbagged by this latest Iraq disaster.

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