The U.S. and Iraq: what now?

Published on PEOPLE’S WORLD, by PW Editorial Board, August 27 2010.

… Actually there are several big questions.

To what extent are “combat troops” being replaced by Special Operations forces, other U.S. personnel, and private contractor mercenaries?

Will all U.S. troops leave in December 2011, as the U.S.-Iraqi agreement specifies? Reports are that Special Operations forces will stay on. What about other U.S. forces and private contractors? 

What exactly is the U.S. role in Iraq between now and the end of 2011? And what will it be beyond that?

What is the U.S. responsibility to the Iraqi people, and how should it be fulfilled? … //

… We do have a responsibility to help rebuild their hospitals, water systems, schools, cultural facilities – wrecked in the invasion or later under our watch or by our own contractors. But the U.S. should not be directing the money or deciding the projects.

Unfortunately, we’re seeing some warning signs that point in the wrong direction. A massive State Department presence in Iraq is being developed. Vast numbers of private U.S. contractors are deployed there. And notions are being floated that the U.S. military presence may “need” to continue beyond next year.

Let’s make sure all of our occupation of Iraq ends – military, economic and political.

It’s time to shed the old foreign policy habit, that sees Iraq as nothing but a giant oil well to fuel America’s oil-based economy, and a geopolitical pawn and military launch-pad to keep the rest of the region’s oil flowing our way. We just can’t afford it – not in taxpayer dollars, not in human lives, not in the survival of our planet. (full text).

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