In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
Thursday, November 23, 2017

A road out of Iraq

The U.S.-Iraq pact passed a key, and perhaps final, hurdle when Iraq's three-member presidential council -- a Kurd, a Sunni and a Shiite -- signed the security agreement.

The parliament had approved it earlier. The agreement, at Sunni insistence, may have to be put to a referendum in late July. But U.S. forces will have withdrawn from Iraq's cities a month earlier, so the American presence should be less onerous.

The pact calls for American troops -- except for those the Iraqi government specifically asks to stay -- to be out entirely by Jan. 1, 2012.

Closing Gitmo

It appears that Barack Obama will make closing the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay an early order of business for his administration. The prison has been so tainted in U.S. and world opinion and so damaging to the United States' reputation that it is simply not worth keeping. The problem is what to do with the 250 or so prisoners who remain there. Those who are cleared for release should be repatriated -- if we can find a country willing to take them.

Honoring our Veterans

Veterans Day properly and appropriately honors our veterans, but it also honors an ideal that now seems naive but still survives as a matter of international law. Veterans Day originally honored the truce that ended the fighting in World War I and was called Armistice Day after that agreement. In the stunned aftermath of that conflict, the combatant nations believed that they had fought the war to end all wars. Indeed, the United States and France collaborated on a treaty that its signers hoped would effectively outlaw war among civilized nations.

Top defense leaders are telling Congress the U.S. must be cautious as the Pentagon begins to cut troops in Iraq and focus more attention on the escalating fight in Afghanistan.

President George W. Bush's decision to mount a troop "surge" in Iraq last year was taken against the initial recommendations of his top advisers, including his field commander, The New York Times reported in Sunday editions.

Negotiators have finalized a deal which will see the complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by 2011, the top Iraqi heading the team told AFP Friday.

Under the 27-point deal all US combat troops will be withdrawn from Iraqi cities by next June, said negotiator Mohammed al-Haj Hammoud.

Light at the end of Iraq

The Bush administration, which has adamantly opposed timetables and a date for withdrawal from Iraq, has reached tentative agreement with Baghdad on both.

The US government paid out 85 billion dollars in four years to contractors providing services to various government agencies in support of the Iraq war and reconstruction, a survey showed Tuesday.

The Pentagon is unable to send additional combat brigades to Afghanistan this year because of constraints imposed by the war in Iraq, leaving a shift of forces to the next president, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Far from the combat zones, the strains and separations of no-end-in-sight wars are taking an ever-growing toll on military families despite the armed services' earnest efforts to help.