They Want Us Out

 In Iraq, Peace

Iraqi parliamentarians sign withdrawal petition

For the Huffington Post
In an historic step, the besieged Iraqi parliament has taken a stand against the US occupation and  for a  rapid withdrawal of American troops. This is the perfect opportunity for a face-saving and orderly US withdrawal based on the request of a sovereign government. To reject the offer would paint the US as a naked imperialism without a fig leaf of legitimacy.

Some crucial details of the parliamentary call remain murky. First, 144 parliamentarians have signed a petition that has yet to be translated into legislation. Second, to the dismay of some in the peace movement, the timeline for withdrawal is unsettled but sure to be one year or even longer. In interviews with Iraqi parliamentarians last summer, the consensus favored two simultaneous timelines: one for withdrawal and another for “fixing the problems” caused by the occupation. That will not change. And third, under the Iraqi constitution it appears that any measure on this subject passed by a majority of those present and voting has the force of law.

Iraq therefore is on the brink of officially setting in motion the end of its occupation.

What is most puzzling is the blindness of the mainstream media, the White House and the military to these developments. As if the measure isn’t very fit to print, the New York Times reported the petition on page A6 with no emphasis on its implications. Last December the Washington Post reported that the signature count had reached 131, but only in passing. Back in mid-2005 when the petition first surfaced with 82 signatures, it was reported only in Knight-Ridder. The Institute for Policy Studies later estimated that approximately 102 MPs had signed on.

But trees fall in the forest whether reported or not. The Iraqi people, aside from the secession-bent Kurds, have wanted the US out of their country for at least three years, in percentages ranging from two-thirds to 80 percent, with 61 percent claiming a right to national resistance through armed struggle. This news, never reported in headlines, is the underlying basis for the elected parliament’s stance. In fact, the CIA warned that Iraq’s first elections might produce a mandate for withdrawal, a warning characterized by the Times as “grim” news.

But the convergence between the US Congressional majority and the Iraqi parliamentary majority is grim only for the occupation. It is a moment when more Americans might learn what the Iraqis already know, that formal democracy becomes a sham when it conflicts with military and economic occupation. The war cannot long continue with such feeble public support in both countries. Even if a two-year deadline becomes official, a “decent interval” so to speak, it will accelerate the momentum towards ending the occupation on the ground.

Who will want to die ten days, or even ten months, before withdrawal is officially concluded?

What American parent will want their kid to risk death in Iraq now that their parliament wants us out?

If the Iraqis demand that we leave, what case is left for protecting them from themselves?

The peace movement, the Congress, and even the Baker-Hamilton group should seize on this news in pressing the case for withdrawal. Anyone who  favors “staying the course” is overriding the democratic will of both the American and Iraqi people.

Tom Hayden is the author of Ending the War in Iraq [Akashic Books]. He has reported on Iraq’s “peace parliamentarians” since 2005. He teaches at Pitzer College in Claremont, California.

Recent Posts
  • Peter Macdonald

    VA Dr. Dan Pontenza 7-18-07
    Veteran Hospital
    Smyth Rd Manchester NH
    Peter Macdonald 465 Packersfalls rd Lee NH 03824 603-659-6217
    I talked with Dr. Dan from the VA hospital in Manchester NH today. He called me on the phone. First of all let me say Dr. Dan is a nice person and I trust him as much as I can. I do not trust to many people from the Veterans administration. I have three disabilities from my time in the Marine Corps. I have a head injury from a car accident. I have a broken back from my part in an offensive during the Vietnam Conflict. I have a loss of hearing from being blown off a runway during another Vietnam offensive. My head injury came right after boot camp. I remember to this day not one event from prior to the accident, I was 17. I have amnesia My mental age when I left the Naval hospital was that of a 10 year old. I was sent back to active duty because of an admin error. I was shipped over seas because I kept doing things as a 10 year old. I moved from base to base either TAD or permanent. I learned to live as a Marine. I learned that my country comes first. I have serious medical problems, all from my time in the Marine Corps.
    My VA medical was stopped by NH VA director Levenston a few months ago. Dr. Dan is acting as an advocate for me. I write this letter because I want Dr. Dan to understand. I am not dangerous. I remember the smallest detail of my first kill. I was an American Advisor on convoy deep in the jungle. The Conflict was almost over and I was delivering U.S. supplies to remote camps in Laos and Cambodia. I was told to say that it was a U.S. Navel base. I was taken one night by three enemy soldiers from a friendly village we decided to spend the night at. These men took me about a mile into the jungle and started a camp fire. One walked guard and the other two drank rice wine. I was tied up, sitting by the fire. When the two fell asleep I un-tied my self and walked away only to bump into the guard. I stuck my bayonet at a 45’ angle up under his ribs and twisted. I watched the life drain out of this 11 or 12 year old kid. I picked up my M16 and went back to the village. To this day never know what I will remember. I remember some things and forget others. I just can not forget this. This memory pops up at the strangest times. I do not let my broken back stop me from volunteer helping others. I endure the pain. I fake hearing what people say. If there is any back ground noise, I can not understand most conversation. My traumatic brain injury is a different story. Since the accident I have had to learn everything over, from school work to dressing my self. I went to college to learn. In all the teaching that I have had, I can not understand the life around me. I learned that the government was here to serve the people. I am locked up as a terrorist because the government and judges do not like what I say. I volunteer to help others and the government and courts dam me for it. At 17, I went of to the Vietnam Conflict and was injured three times, now the NH VA director Levenston stops my medical because he wants to silence me. I have Washington DC terrorist agents and the President’s secret service cops come to my house weekly to intimidate me. Judge Peter Fauver finds me guilty of a crime with no charges or trial. NH governor Lynch charges me money to complain, takes my money and stiffs me. NH congresswoman Shea-Porter files false police complaints against me and the Dover and Lee police refuse to allow me to file a police complaint. If what I am saying is truth and it can all be documented in Dover Police file 7002-942 and NH supreme court case file # 2003-0477 and other files this has to be a test to see how someone with no memory will react. I will not be violent. You people just do not conceive how hard it is to understand when nothing fit’s the norms. I did not want to die when I was over their. I dreamed of learning what back in the world was like, other than the Marine Corps life. I have wanted to die since I came back and learned that it is impossible to under stand what is happening. No one wants to listen to the truth. The newspapers put proper-gander out on how freedom of speech makes the United States great. The news media boost about how they inform the public of the truth. Does truth really exist with the news media. Not one news organization in the United States will inform the public that the VA has stopped my medical for political vengeance. I have been lucky I came back alive. I have a wife and three great daughters. I float through life trying to do the right thing. I never understand the conflicting meaning of others actions. I have tried to learn from each event in my life since I came back. People tell me one thing and then they do the opposite. I do what I am told and it is wrong. I have violated no laws. I volunteer to help others and I have for over 30 years. I, no matter what you do to me will not be violent. I continue this fight because what these judges and government official have done to me must not happen to other veterans. These other veterans are just swept under the rug. Veterans are the children that keep you free. I can not allow people like Dr Biswas, Levenston and NH governor Lynch to continue. The United States of America is WE THE PEOPLE. To stop a Veterans Medical care is bad enough, but to know that the news media knows (the facts) and censors the truth leaves me with the belief that I should have died before my first kill. Dr Dan! I send this letter to others, and you have my permission to talk about me and my medical to any news media that has the guts to print the truth. I do not understand how judges and government officials can violate the law and the news media does not care. Worst of all I can not understand how a Veteran’s medical care can be stopped for injuries that I receive serving the United States while the VFW, American Legion, Elk’s club and the news media refuse to exposes criminal government acts.
    I ask you to send this to the VA at
    Peter Macdonald Sgt USMC Semper Fi

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search