Just So We’re Clear About This Occupation Thingy

You know when sometimes pro-war politicians are asked about withdrawal from Iraq and they act all innocent and shrug saying things like- We are there at the insistence of the democratically elected Iraqi government and When they want us to leave we will and Talk of withdrawal damages the democratically elected Iraq government’s security and that of our forces etc etc blah blah blah.

…in June 2006 in which al-Maliki circulated a draft policy calling for negotiation of just such a withdrawal timetable and the George W. Bush administration had to intervene to force the prime minister to drop it.

“We must agree on a time schedule to pull out the troops from Iraq, while at the same time building up the Iraqi forces that will guarantee Iraqi security, and this must be supported by a United Nations Security Council decision.”

That formula, linking a withdrawal timetable with the buildup of Iraqi forces, was consistent with the position taken by Sunni armed groups in their previous talks with U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, which was that the timetable for withdrawal would be “linked to the timescale necessary to rebuild Iraq’s armed forces and security services”. One of the Sunni commanders who had negotiated with Khalilzad described the resistance position in those words to the London-based Arabic-language Alsharq al Awsat in May 2006.

The Iraqi government draft was already completed when Bush arrived in Baghdad Jun. 13 without any previous consultation with al-Maliki, giving the Iraqi leader five minutes’ notice that Bush would be meeting him in person rather than by videoconference.

The al-Maliki cabinet sought to persuade Bush to go along with the withdrawal provision of the document. In his press conference upon returning, Bush conceded that Iraqi cabinet members in the meeting had repeatedly brought up the issue of reconciliation with the Sunni insurgents.

In fact, after Bush had left, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni, said he had asked Bush to agree to a timetable for withdrawal of all foreign forces. Then President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, released a statement of support for that request.

Nevertheless, Bush signaled his rejection of the Iraqi initiative in his Jun. 14 press conference, deceitfully attributing his own rejection of a timetable to the Iraqi government. “And the willingness of some to say that if we’re in power we’ll withdraw on a set timetable concerns people in Iraq,” Bush declared.

When the final version of the plan was released to the public Jun. 25, the offending withdrawal timetable provision had disappeared. Bush was insisting that the al-Maliki government embrace the idea of a “conditions-based” U.S. troop withdrawal. Khalilzad gave an interview with Newsweek the week the final reconciliation plan was made public in which he referred to a “conditions-driven roadmap”.

I mean only the weak of thinking buy that schtick about being there because the Iraqis want us to keep killling them some more stay, but this incident from June 06 needs to be thrown in their face anytime they try and pull that shit. Which y’know, is quite often.