One tribal sheik, Youseff Ahmad, spoke about the debate about the future role of United States forces here that has dominated Iraqi public life of late. “We want them to leave, even before the end of this year,” Mr. Ahmad said. “They’ve destroyed us. They’ve only brought killing and disaster.”
This (via Greenwald) is what was said to American journalists following a botched night raid in Iraq this week which resulted in the death of three men and five people seriously wounded, among them two young girls. The targeted suspect was nowhere to be found. Almost a decade of invasion, occupation, murder, destruction, humiliation, and oopsie-daisies like this and yet Americans still can’t grasp the justified hatred of America swelling up in the Iraqi heart.
This comes after weeks of what everyone implicitly recognizes as U.S. officials badgering the Iraqi government into keeping a large contingent of American troops there indefinitely. Prime Minister Maliki has been playing politics on who this is actually up to, deferring to parliament and then quickly revoking said deference, understanding full well what his overlords in Washington expect in a troop level decision while simultaneously aware of the domestic revulsion against keeping a single occupier there past the December deadline.
According to the New York Times piece reviewing the aftermath of the night raid gone wrong, the U.S. government conducts public opinion polls in Iraq and refuses to publish them. Why might they do that? The only possible reason is that they know the vast majority of Iraqis want an end to the occupation, but don’t want that coming up as a part of the equation on a status of forces agreement. It is the most irrelevant feature of the entire political landscape what might be the preferences of the people we occupy. Only two constituencies of folks matter in that decision: an American public kept intentionally ignorant about the facts, and the imperialists in charge. Which policy is likely to win out?