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Progress and Successes of the Bush and Maliki Regime

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Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki is in deep denial over the state of his reign. Looking out at Iraq from his protected post inside of the ring of security that has cost the U.S. military over 800 soldiers' lives since Bush began his increased deployment of troops to Baghdad, Maliki has concluded that it is his fractured, unpopular government which deserves the bulk of the credit for the decrease in violence he perceives from his sheltered office, not his American defenders. In a familiar refrain which echoes the despicable attempts by the Bush White House to paint dissent of their Iraq policy as an appeasement of terrorists, Maliki told reporters that any suggestion that his regime was not ready to assume their own defenses sent a "signal" to would-be attackers that his beleaguered government was vulnerable to attack.

'Such criticism, Maliki said, sends "signals to terrorists luring them into thinking that the security situation in the country is not good. "U.S. critics," he said, don't appreciate "the big role of the Iraqi government and its achievements, such as stopping the civil and sectarian war."

Maliki must be the only person in Iraq who believes the civil and sectarian armed struggle for power, influence, and territory has stopped. Despite the reported halt of operations of Shiite leader, al-Sadr's militarized forces, the reason for the temporary cessation of violence by the anti-government forces was described by the opposition leader as a re-grouping, rather than an armistice. And, despite the assurances from the U.S. military in Iraq and their commander-in-chief that violence has been quelled in Baghdad, the bombings and assassinations continue unabated almost everywhere else in Iraq that our troops are not deployed in their increased occupation.

Thousands of Iraqis have been killed since Bush increased the protection he had been providing the Maliki regime since he initiated the increased defense of the center of government in Baghdad last year, and even more Iraqis have been killed since the start of his latest escalation this year as a result of the factional violence; and partly as a result of joint offensive operations by our troops and the Iraqi army which have killed hundreds of residents and imprisoned thousands of others who were actively resisting their colonialist advance on their territory.

Moreover, it's not clear exactly who Maliki is referring to when he touts the efforts and effects of his government. There is no functioning government in Iraq, despite Maliki's desperate attempts this month to forge a working coalition which would allow him to advance stalled legislation which the Bush WH claims would enable the warring factions to reconcile their differences and accept the manufactured authority of the new regime.

There are no Sunni members of Maliki's new coalition government which is even more autocratic than the previous, propped-up regime which has operated for most of their tenure under a 'state of emergency' and a suspended constitution. The corruption and presumptive rule of Maliki's regime was underscored by an NPR report which cited a "sensitive but unclassified" document drawn up by State. Dept. investigators at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which concludes that Maliki's government has "withheld resources" from the Iraqi govt's anti-corruption agency. NPR reports that U.S. investigators found that, Maliki's office had "quashed corruption investigations of politicians allied with the government."

NPR Foreign Correspondent Corey Flintoff reported that, "If you believe the report, and you listen to people who work at these ministries, you get the impression that corruption is completely sapping the country's resources. ...Someone who works at the Ministry of Interior -- that's the department that supervises all of Iraq's police forces...told me that it's corrupt from top to bottom -- that officials at the top of the pile are making money from contracts to buy equipment."

Flintoff's report said that, "Some ministries, such as the Interior Ministry, are seen as untouchable because of their political connections to the government. The Ministry of Oil, which is supposed to safeguard the country's major source of wealth, has allegedly manipulated investigations against it. The report says the departments of the government routinely ignore requests for information, and that investigation teams can't go into their offices because they don't have any firepower to protect them."

If Maliki is functioning in his leadership position in Iraq as a protege of Bush, he can be partially excused for assuming that the 'democracy' Bush promised the former 21-year exile he would lord over represented anything close to the democratic process of government we all expect here in America. The example Bush has set for his Iraqi pupil is one of an imperialist warmonger bent on oppression. Iraqis, as well as the American people, are left to pick up the pieces of our own democracy that Bush so willingly hurls around the world out of his dictatorial carpetbag.

The lesson Maliki has apparently taken from his enabled ascendancy to power in Iraq is that any true exercise of democracy is secondary to his own consolidation of power. In fact, the U.S. Government Accountability Office report on Iraq released yesterday concluded that Iraq failed to meet all but two of the nine 'security' benchmarks Congress had set for them as a condition of U.S. military assistance, and had accomplished only one of eight political goals -- safeguarding minority rights in the Iraqi parliament.

Underscoring the fact that 15 of 37 cabinet ministers walked out on Maliki, nearly half of his 37-member Cabinet, including influential Sunni ministers, GAO chief Comptroller General David Walker told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, "Overall, key legislation has not been passed, violence remains high and it is unclear whether the Iraqi government will spend the $10 billion in reconstruction funds it has allocated."

Despite all of the criticism, Maliki remains convinced he's correct in every expression of his increasingly autocratic reign because he has the apparent seal of approval from our lame-duck loser in the White House. The "message" Bush sent to the Maliki regime with his surprise visit to al-Anbar yesterday, is that "there is no alternative to this government," Maliki's spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Tuesday.

"The visit of President Bush carried a message of support to the Iraqi government after the progress it made in national reconciliation," Maliki said.

The Iraqi prime minister can be excused for his ignorance if all he has to rely on as an example of democracy in action is the reality of his U.S. benefactor's own defiance of the will of the vast majority of Americans and the majority of legislators in Congress that he end his occupation as he presses forward in defense of his junta over the almost 3800 Americans whose lives and livelihoods have already been sacrificed for Bush's imperialist ambitions for the supposedly sovereign nation.

Despite the criticism of the escalated defense of his enabled reign, Maliki is convinced that Gen. Petraeus' Sept. report on the effects of their 'surge' will reflect "positive developments" in Iraq, "for sure," and that his regime was making 'progress' toward national reconciliation and that both Crocker and Petraeus "are witnessing the progress."

Only blundering idiots (or complicit criminals) would allow Bush to turn their country into his personal fight club. We're the ones who are going to end up defending ourselves (as are Iraqis) as we defend against his blundering interference in so many other nation's affairs. Bush and Maliki's manufactured mandate to conquer Iraq is supported less by the will of their electorate than by their corrupt exercise of the awesome strength of our military and the sacrifices of those who do most of the fighting and the dying.

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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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