(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Iraq and the United States have signed an agrement requring the US to withdraw its troops by the end of 2011.
So the war and occupation, already more than five and a half years old, could be over in three more years. How about that?
That actually is progress of sorts. And there are some positive things about the agreement, which still needs to be ratified by Iraq’s Parliament. (Interestingly, it does not need Congressional approval.)
UPDATE: David Swanson says it is a treaty that does, indeed, require Senate ratification, and that we should insist on it. Link.
But you’ll have to excuse us if we don’t call off Friday’s planned Iraq Moratorium actions across the country. In fact, there are signs of renewed and increased interest in antiwar activity. We definitely need to keep the heat on the new Congress and the Obama administration.
Some bright spots:
== The end of 2011 is the longest US troops could stay. The Iraq government could move up the timetable if its security forces are ready and insist that US troops leave sooner. Presumably the US also could decide to leave sooner; that should be the goal of the antiwar movement.
== U.S. forces must withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30. That may save the lives of many civilians.
== Iraqi authorities are granted extensive power over the operations and movements of U.S. forces.
== The U.S. cannot use Iraqi territory to attack Iraq’s neighbors, including Syria and Iran.
== Iraq can try U.S. soldiers and defense contractors in the case of serious crimes committed off-duty and off-base.
== It will restore Iraqi sovereignty and end the ability of US troops to arrest Iraqi citizens (or anyone else they find) at will.
In some ways it is amazing that the Bush administration, which insisted that a timeline for withdrawal would mean The End of the World As We Know It, agreed to this. It happened because the Iraqi government stood up on its hind legs and insisted. They want the US out, and in the meantime they want to run their own country. What an idea.
So, it’s far from time for the antiwar movement to declare victory and turn its attention elsewhere. There is a lot of work to be done to shorten that three year timeline.
Let’s start on Friday, Iraq Moratorium day, a day to interrupt business as usual and do something, individually or collectively, to call for an end to the war and occupation of Iraq.
Do what you can. But do something.