It’s the Polish president’s decision whether to keep troops in Iraq or bring them home now – shame no one seems to have asked the Iraqis.
900 Polish troops were originally scheduled to pull out of the carnage of Iraq at the end of this year. But last Thursday, Defense Minister Radek Sikorski signed the necessary motion for a prolonged mission. President Lech Kaczynski, whose duty it ultimately is, will probably make his decision on whether Polish troops stay on another half year or year this week.
Last month Kaczynski said that Poland had ‘invested so much’ in Iraq that they should stay on until the ‘job was done’.
Over the past 36 months since Polish troops have been stationed in the south-central zone in Iraq, 22 including 18 soldiers lost their lives.
Polish officials said that exactly how long Poles stay is dependant on American ‘strategy and tactics’. Up until now these ‘strategy and tactics’ [ironic snigger] such as they are, have been built around a sound bite – George Bush’s mantra, “Stay the course’, an open ended commitment to the occupation until things, magically, get better.
But things on the ground refuse to get better – they just get worse.
So Bush has dropped the ‘Stay the course’ and is fumbling around for another sound bite, which he was hoping the much trumpeted Baker-Hamilton Commission would deliver.
But the commission’s report turns out to be a slim document with even thinner and less substantial ideas contained within it.
They realize that the war has destabilized the region (as those anti-war from the very beginning warned the fools in Washington and London that it would) so some creative diplomacy is needed involving Syria and Iran, they say. How Bush will manage that when he has labeled these regimes as ‘evil’ will be, in a gory, prurient kind of way, interesting to watch.
But much of the report echoes signals already coming out of the British and American governments that the ‘Iraqi government better get their house in order quick, otherwise we will just pull out troops (and reconstruction money’ anyway, whether they like it or not.’
The BBC reports what that the (democratically elected) Iraqi Prime Minister thinks of the latest American attempt to dictate events:
Mr Talabani said elements of the Iraq Study Group report undermined Iraqi sovereignty and its constitution.
The president said that on the whole, he rejected the report.
The arrogance of the Americans, British, Polish is stunning. They are literally trying to pass the buck for the bloody chaos they have created onto a weak and helpless Iraqis state – which was fatally weakened by the US-led invasion in the first place: the – de-ba’athification and so on – and the UN sanctions which preceded it, killing around 500,000 children by UN estimates in the process.
This is the deadly politics of denial. By refusing to admit that the invasion gave little chance to Iraqis to maintain a multi-ethnic state, post-Saddam, they are failing to learn the most important lesson in all this: that you cannot impose freedom, liberty and democracy from without.
The Baker-Hamilton Commission, the American government, the Democrats in Congress, the Blair government in London and the Polish government, should refer to what the Iraqis want when deciding whether to stay or leave.
But they won’t. The imperial arrogance continues.
We Must Not Leave Iraq, American Enterprise Institute
The Baker-Hamilton Iraq Recommendations: "Stay the Almost Course", Political Affairs net