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Who's Really Responsible for Defending the Iraqi Regime?

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Message Ron Fullwood
Many who oppose the occupation of Iraq have complained about the foot-dragging on the part of the new Iraqi regime in organizing and maintaining their own defense. Most Democrats who point to that in their opposition to the occupation say our troops shouldn't be expected to do the job that Iraqis themselves have neglected in the years since the Maliki regime assumed power.

The administration and supporters claim our troops are defending the new government on behalf of the citizens of Iraq, but there haven't yet been enough Iraqis willing to stand up and fight for the new regime in that country of millions. That should be the clearest message of all. If Iraqis won't defend this government, then why, in the name of democracy, are Bush and his republicans sacrificing the lives of over 100 American soldiers a month to impose the unpopular regime on the citizens there?

Although Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki assured the Iraq Electoral Commission that provincial elections (one of the key benchmarks set by the WH) would be held in 2007 as planned, he hasn't set a date. The escalation was supposed to give the new regime 'room' to carry out those elections.

But, the violence in the provinces has increased so much that leaders from both the Sunni and Shiite communities, this week, called on citizens to arm themselves against the spreading anarchy.

Here we are, with the escalation complete, and the prospect of some kind of political reconciliation among Iraqis which would somehow justify the sacrifice of over hundred American soldiers' lives a month has been nothing more than wishful thinking combined with outright deception.

Maliki has not been able to account for his regime's inability to forge any significant relationship with the Sunnis since their community's overall boycott of the 2005 elections. Just last month the Sunnis announced that their four cabinet ministers were boycotting the government and that it planned to withdraw its 44 members from the Iraqi parliament.

The very American forces which Bush's own intelligence agencies said were 'fueling' jihad in Iraq, are now supposed to create the stability needed to foster some kind of reconciliation between the warring factions competing for power, land, resources, and influence. The most destabilizing factor in Iraq remains the U.S. force which overthrew Saddam's controlling authority and helped install the new, unpopular Maliki regime.

In the face of the escalating violence in Iraq, which has increased right along with Bush's escalation of troops, it's hard to even imagine where the 'room' actually is that Bush and his generals insist our soldiers' deaths are providing the Iraqi government. If anything, there appears to be even more resistance from Iraqis to our military presence there.

The exception to that resistance to our troops would, of course, come from those few Iraqis in power whose only authority rests with their ability to stand behind our nation's defenders as they re-occupy the neighborhoods and intimidate those Iraqis actively opposing our occupation to accept their lopsided rule.

Today, as he warned against a withdrawal, the Iraqi foreign minister said the U.S. is responsible for defending his new regime until they are able to defend themselves. "Until Iraqi forces are ready, there is a responsibility on the United States to stand with as the forces are being built," he said.

There is no sense of urgency from Bush or his Iraqi junta about the additional 1000+ Americans killed in Iraq since this time last year. We're told to be 'patient' while the new Iraqi regime and its recalcitrant parliament generate enough support among Iraqis to sustain their tenuous positions of authority over them.

However, the defense of the Maliki regime is, and always has been, Bush's intent and obsession, more than that of the Iraqis themselves. And, it has become clear that, here at home, Bush's ambitions for Iraq are not shared by the citizens in the American communities which provide the soldiers he's so willingly, and zealously sacrificing. Our soldiers are, effectively, fighting and dying for Bush's ideological obsession to dominate Iraq, and to cover for the new, huge 'embassy' he's building there to codify and establish a base to facilitate even more his imperious brand of military expansionism.

Bush thinks he owns Iraq, by virtue of the pride of the 160,000 of our nation's defenders he insists on holding there to guard his indentured prize. Bush, his generals, and the Iraqis they've enabled into power all think that Americans should take responsibility for their cynical protection scheme where they've escalated the forces, escalated the violence, and perpetuated the need in Iraq for our troop's defensive presence. But our main concern here in the U.S. should be with the safety and well-being of the soldiers who are saddled with the administration's cynical mission in Iraq.

Moreover, if the Iraqis aren't rallying to our soldiers' side, eager to take their place as they fight and die to make 'room' for the new regime's politics, our communities here at home should be asking themselves just why they're being asked to allow Bush to continue the sacrifice of their brave men and women for what the majority of Iraqis have demonstrated by their non-defense is a dubious and unworthy task.
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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price
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