It's the neocon's nightmare scenario. You invade a country, institute "regime change," and declare it a free and sovereign nation -- then it starts actually believing it's a free and sovereign nation. Next thing you know, they start thinking they can tell you what to do and make you obey their laws. Give them an inch and they'll take a mile; tell them they're a free and sovereign nation and they'll start thinking they really are.
Of course, they're as free as they're allowed to be. But it puts you in kind of a tight spot. Do you play along and wind up doing something you'd rather not do or do you drop the pretense and expose the lie for all the world to see?
I've said before that neocons want world domination. That's probably not exactly true -- at least, it's an oversimplification. What neocons believe is that we already have world domination, but that we can't let anyone know that. After the fall of the Soviet Union, they figure the last superpower standing won -- not just the cold war, but everything. World dom isn't our goal, but our right. And we get to march around the globe exercising that right.
But the rest of the world isn't really on the same page. Neocons like former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton literally believed that it was the place of the United Nations to do what the US told them to. Donald Rumsfeld dismissed "old Europe" after those countries didn't back the invasion of Iraq. The new Europe -- the former Soviet states -- understood the new world order. Everything was changed after the USSR fell, it became an American world, but not enough people accepted that truth. In the neocon mind, the United States has the right to do anything -- naysayers are merely deluded, hanging on to the old international system in the same way that Dickens' Miss Haversham wore her wedding dress every day. They were all living in the past.
Who'd have thought that many of those backwards, antiquated attitudes existed in Iraq? The government of Iraq actually believes they can dictate terms to the US and tell us when to leave.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has raised the prospect of setting a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.
It comes as the US attempts to push through a new security deal before the end of 2008, when the UN mandate allowing a US presence in Iraq expires.
The Pentagon has played down the suggestion of a withdrawal timetable.
But correspondents say Iraqi MPs would be more likely to back Mr Maliki if the deal includes such a timetable.
Iraq apparently never got the memo; George W. Bush doesn't do timetables. He said so just last month. Maliki seems to believe that his bosses live in Iraq. He's wrong. His boss lives on Pennsylvania Avenue.
In fact, Maliki's belief that he can dictate terms to his invaders and overlords was so unthinkable that State Department spokesperson Sean McCormick said the press must've gotten Maliki's statement screwed up somehow. "I’ve seen the same press reports that you have," he told reporters, "but I haven’t yet had an opportunity to get greater clarify as to exactly to what Mr. Maliki was referring or if, in fact, that’s an accurate reporting of what he said."
There are a lot of reasons why Bush is eager to keep this occupation going. Primary among these is that history must not remember Bush as the president who "lost" Iraq. The whole thing's going to go to hell sooner or later, but it's better that some other president -- a Democrat would be a bonus -- preside over that. Then, the neocons can come back and say, "See? We told you so. This proves that we were right all along."
But if the end begins now, then it'd be hard for Bush and the neocons to pretend it's all someone else's fault. Further, John McCain would find himself up the river without a war, seriously undercutting his case for his presidency. There can be no withdrawal, the war cannot end, because Bush and McCain rely on it so damned much to justify their existences. No matter how free and sovereign a nation Iraq is, it's not free or sovereign enough to screw up Bush's legacy or McCain's already slim chances.
Those two are among history's great men and their political ambitions are more important than the lives of Iraqi shopkeepers or mere Lance Corporals from Omaha. Where saner men avoid war, Bush and McCain seem intent on avoiding peace.
So Iraq can make noise, it can flex its international muscle, but it will never, ever, be allowed to start the clock ticking on their own occupation. At least, not if the neocons have their way. Iraq is as free and as sovereign a nation as they're allowed to be.
Technorati tags: politics; neocon; propaganda; diplomacy; Bush and John McCain won't allow timetable for withdrawal from Iraq -- they need war more than they need peace