Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 26, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

CLIENT STATE UPDATE....Iraq czar Douglas Lute says the United States has begun talking to Iraq about "a set of principles from which to begin formal negotiations" about our long-term presence in Iraq:

Two senior Iraqi officials said Iraqi authorities had discussed the broad outlines of the proposal with U.S. military and diplomatic representatives. The Americans appeared generally favorable subject to negotiations on the details, which include preferential treatment for American investments, according to the Iraqi officials involved in the discussions.

....Preferential treatment for U.S. investors could provide a huge windfall if Iraq can achieve enough stability to exploit its vast oil resources. Such a deal would also enable the United States to maintain leverage against Iranian expansion at a time of growing fears about Tehran's nuclear aspirations.

....The Iraqi officials said that under the proposed formula, Iraq would get full responsibility for internal security and U.S. troops would relocate to bases outside the cities. Iraqi officials foresee a long-term presence of about 50,000 U.S. troops, down from the current figure of more than 160,000.

We appeared to be "generally favorable" to these terms, eh? Knock me over with a bowling ball.

Kevin Drum 12:03 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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Comments

Hello...I'm excited for my 10, 8 and 5 year old sons...they are gonna get a crack at Iraq. Thanks Dubya for extended the war to the next generation. Best President Ever (BPE)!

Posted by: WTF on November 26, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Why does it take a bowling ball?

After all, this is the payoff; this is what the oil boys were going after in the first place.

A compliant puppet state sitting on top of a sea of oil, with US oilcos getting preference in pumping out same. Unlimited room for as many US troops, aircraft, support bases, etc., as we could wish for, at any time, against any regional power (which includes just about every major potential threat of the century, such as Russia, China, India, Iran, and Pakistan). And, oh yes, a convenient bulwark and local ally for Israel.

What's not to like? Other than the $100 billion/year upkeep I mean. And the casualties, although presumably those will decline once we retreat to the deserts.

Posted by: bleh on November 26, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

I've never been one of those who thought this was principally a war for oil, but I'm changing my mind. I just wondering how long we are going to keep up the facade of having a republic instead of an empire, you know, like the Romans did all those many years ago. Pat Buchanan may not have all the right reasons, but his ultimate diagnosis, the destruction of America as we know it, isn't all that far away.

Posted by: Jim on November 26, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't you just know, Lute-the-war-czar is behind times: it's a done-and-announced deal. See here or here.

Posted by: lotus on November 26, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Iraqis are expected to acquiesce to becoming a part of the American Empire in the oil rich Middle East. It's easy to bribe the government, but the people….not so much. The war will continue as long as Republicans hold power in the US.

Posted by: Mike on November 26, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

It'll never fly. The moment Maliki signs off on it is the moment Moqtada al Sadr and "al Qaeda in Iraq" fight to see who's first in line at leaving a car bomb outside his residence.

Mike, you see Hillary, Obama or Edwards volunteering us for a complete withdrawal? Just because Bush is leaving the White House doesn't mean that this isn't the plan that will still go down from the U.S. side. Sorry, the end of Republican power at the hands of one of the front-running Democrats really isn't going to change much.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on November 26, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin doesn't like this deal, but yet he supports Hillary.

Posted by: nathan on November 26, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Heck, I thought Bush said if the Iraq government asked us, we would simply leave?

My, what a silly person I am. (snark).

Posted by: Buford on November 26, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't Congress supposed to be involved in making treaties with foreign governments? Not that that would make any difference.

Posted by: AJ on November 26, 2007 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not inclined to believe that a continuing US presence in Iraq will be as easy to negotiate as the two 'senior Iraqi officials' and Gen. Lute suggest.

Posted by: nepeta on November 26, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Don't they know that colonies never work? The damn natives always tend to screw things up, not liking, well, being colonized and all.

Posted by: BeingThere on November 26, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Well, yeah, the damn natives often are a problem. But that's the sweet part of this deal.

... under the proposed formula, Iraq would get full responsibility for internal security and U.S. troops would relocate to bases outside the cities.

See? We get preferred treatment when it comes to contracts -- which is all ruling-class stuff anyway -- and the biggest damn aircraft carrier you ever saw, smack in the middle of the Middle East, and the locals handle all the, um, local problems.

I'm sure there'll be enough, um, lubricant to make sure that pretty much any local official or politician of any importance ultimately sees the wisdom of the arrangement.

Posted by: bleh on November 26, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

A little behind schedule, but Iraq looks to be back on course!

Posted by: Model 62 on November 26, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Just thinking... For this neocon oil dream scenario to play out, the Maliki government, with its strong ties to Iran, would have to fall and be replaced with Sunni rule. I wonder what Iran's position is on all of this. The end game appoaches, and will be played intently by whoever becomes Prez in '08.

Posted by: nepeta on November 26, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

There's a couple of things that you should all remember: If Bushco's mouth is moving he is lying!
That, and I TOLD YOU SO!
HEH!

Posted by: jay boilswater on November 26, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

For this neocon oil dream scenario to play out, the Maliki government, with its strong ties to Iran, would have to fall and be replaced with Sunni rule.

nepeta, I think we will continue to hand out cash and weapons to both groups. If the Shia start getting antsy about wanting us to leave, we'll give them more guns and money. If the Sunni start to whine, we will do the same for them. That soldier in the recent New Yorker article wasn't kidding when he called it "shitsurfing". There will be a tipping point sooner or later where one of the groups (or both) will make the decision to tell us to fuck off and get out of their way (leave the country?). That's when there may be a slight problem keeping the 50K troops in their bases, and oil "contracts" become meaningless.

We may have the idea of putting the Sunni back in power and getting the oil contracts we want, or at least threatening the Shia with that possibility, but this game isn't going to work for long. The question is-how long can the inevitable failure be postponed?

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on November 26, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

It was always about the oil

The oil companies have know about peak oil for 20 years. I clearly remember the discussions in the business in the late 80s.

Big Oil has had it's eye on this pie ever since. It would have been done it the 90's, but "Pappy" got cold feet (at the insistance of Schwartzkopf and Powell). Georgie and Dick have no such problems, as they were handpicked by Big Oil.

The bases will remain so that we can conrol the oil of the "Free People of Iraq." We get to sit on top of it for the next 30 years. More than enough time to put the squeeze on Chinese and Indian energy needs as well as exert regional leverage on Iran.

Really, how else can you explain such a total screw up as Iraq...unless it was the plan all along. We don't want to "win" or see peace in Iraq. Perpetual chaos keeps us there indefinitely. It's all part of the plan.

Posted by: MLuther on November 26, 2007 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Ha, I'd forgotten that there was even was an Iraq war czar. I don't think I've heard or read his name since Bush appointed him to the job.....

Posted by: BEmama on November 27, 2007 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

' The question is-how long can the inevitable failure be postponed?'

Doc, I just hope that the US doesn't get its greedy paws on a single drop of Iraqi oil or make a single dollar on its production. Bad enough that the US has devastated Iraq without the additional charge of rape.

Posted by: nepeta on November 27, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Douglas is a Satrap.

Posted by: Brojo on November 29, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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