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Iraq: Situation Normal - Fragile and Reversible

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Schaeffer argued that the picture being painted that the US forces were universally unwelcome was misleading, and pointed out that the Iraqi government has vocalized and demonstrated its long term commitment to cooperation to achieve final and lasting peace and democracy in Iraq.

Gravel, citing independent opinion polls, begged to differ.

“This is an army of occupation, and if you look at the polls the people of Iraq overwhelmingly want us to leave,” he said, “and we should honor that.”

Gravel said the United States invaded Iraq on the back of fraud and lies by the Bush administration, “This is criminal of the order that should go to the world criminal court.”

The former Senator from Alaska said the only way to achieve stability would be for the United States to admit error, and then go to Iraq’s neighbours, including Iran, and ask for their help in bringing stability to Iraq.

“Here you have President Ahmadinejad of Iran, who I don’t have any particular truck with by the way, but he goes to Iraq and he is more popular than any American official.”

The American leader, Gravel said, goes to Iraq and he has to sneak around in the dark of night with total security. “Ahmadinejad goes in there and he is treated as a friend, does that not communicate something to anyone?”

Continuing the war under the illusion that progress is being made, Gravel said, is indicative of how out of touch President Bush really is.

“George Bush is not on this planet, truthfully,” Gravel said, “He really has no sense of reality of what is going on. Last week he told the American people we are not in a recession, while Alan Greenspan a day later said we were, and this is something the American people know. Bush is divorced from reality whether it’s about Iraq, Iran or the economy. He is not plugged into reality.”

Gravel said Washington’s apparent policy to attack Iran could possibly trigger a nuclear exchange.

Gravel’s concerns were shared by Schaeffer, “I think the point that attacking Iran might trigger a nuclear war is what’s concerning the Bush administration. We have to take the actions and rhetoric of President Ahmadinejad very seriously, it would be irresponsible not to do so. And I think we have to remember this is a man who has called for Israel to be wiped off the map, a man who has denied the Holocaust.”

She said here is a man who has vowed to knock down global powers, and we have to assume that he’s pointing his finger at the United States.

Schaeffer’s comment regarding “wiping Israel off the map” is an oft quoted mistranslation, but one frequently used to attack Iran’s president and his policies.

“Actually he did not say he would wipe Israel off the map,” Jawad explained, “This statement has been corrected but it is still repeated by US officials. He did not say this, but I am not surprised to hear this repeated all the time.”

The actual statement made by Ahmadinejad called for the “removal of the Zionist regime in Jerusalem from the pages of history.” Many experts say that you can “assume” or “infer” Ahmadinejad’s real intentions are to wipe Israel off the map, but the simple fact remains, he did not say it. They point out that Washington’s aim in invading Iraq was to wipe the Baathist regime in Baghdad from the pages of history, but not to wipe Iraq off the map.

One of the cornerstones of Petraeus/Crocker report was what they described as the “malign Iranian involvement in Iraq” and Tehran’s support for special groups that target American troops and other coalition interests in the country.

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British journalist currently based in Tehran, Iran.

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