Monday, November 26, 2007


That's the answer to the question "How much longer?"as in "How much longer in Iraq."

The White House on Monday announced the U.S.-Iraq Declaration of Principles for Friendship and Cooperation, a vaguely Soviet-sounding arrangement that means we're going to be in Iraq for a long, long time.

Here's what it has to say about security:

To support the Iraqi government in training, equipping, and arming the Iraqi Security Forces so they can provide security and stability to all Iraqis; support the Iraqi government in contributing to the international fight against terrorism by confronting terrorists such as Al-Qaeda, its affiliates, other terrorist groups, as well as all other outlaw groups, such as criminal remnants of the former regime; and to provide security assurances to the Iraqi Government to deter any external aggression and to ensure the integrity of Iraq's territory.

Doesn't sound like the Iraqis are going to be self-reliant anytime soon, now, does it? Indeed, it sounds like President Maliki -- unpopular with both Shi'ites and Sunni -- is going to have the biggest, baddest gang on the block.

Talking Point Memo's Spencer Ackerman provides analysis.

The Brawler, more than once prophetic, yesterday asked Patrick McIlheran over how long he thought we should remain in Iraq. McIlheran, happy to call opponents of the war cut and runners, has never answered that question. He's never felt the need to even remotely qualify the scope of sacrifice he'd tolerate in the name of remaining in Iraq. The closest he came to saying anything was no one expected us to be there for as long as we were in West Germany facing down the Soviets. Given today's news it's not inconceivable we'll be there for 44 years. It's quite likely the duration of our occupation could be measured in decades -- and if it isn't it won't be for lack of bloodshed. Arrangements like this always end in tears.

Today's news was totally foreseeable but its pronouncement still depresses. Still, the Brawler looks forward to columns from McIlheran et al explaining why the open-ended occupation of Iraq is a great idea. Or columns explaining that when they said we're bringing liberty to Iraq what they meant to say is that we're bringing Iraq the liberty of a divided, garrison state.

Perhaps some of them will also be able to explain how our invasion of Iraq, which was based on lies and distortions, and our ongoing occupation demonstrates the moral superiority of Christianity to Islam.

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