Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bush on Mandela in Iraq

WASHINGTON – (AP) - "President Bush on Thursday refused to criticize a U.S. security company in Iraq accused in a shooting that left 11 civilians dead, saying investigators need to determine if guards violated rules governing their operations… Blackwater is the main provider of bodyguards and armed escorts for U.S. government civilian employees.

In a telephone conversation on Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked al-Maliki to delay any initial response to the shooting and that any permanent measures be held up until all the facts were known. Maliki, however, insisted on taking a stronger line and warned that continued use of the contractors would further inflame tensions. Blackwater's operations in Iraq were suspended, prompting the U.S. embassy in Baghdad to ban all road convoys by diplomats and other civilian personnel outside the heavily fortified Green Zone. A U.S.-Iraqi commission is looking into the shooting.

Also, Bush acknowledged Baghdad would not meet the goals he set last January for Iraq to take over security in all of its 18 provinces by November. "Achieving those goals has been slower than we thought," Bush said. But he said the goals were still worth pursuing. "Part of the reason why there's not this instant democracy in Iraq is because people are still recovering from Saddam Hussein's brutal rule," Bush said. "Sort of an interesting comment, I heard somebody say, `Where's Mandela?' Well, Mandela's dead because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas." It was a reference to the charismatic former leader of South Africa who helped reconcile his country after decades of racial division."

Now we are supposed to buy the notion that in all of Iraq there are no leaders who are willing to represent the interests of the poor and powerless? No Mandelas because they do not exist in Iraq, or no Mandelas because they would be, by analogy, Sunnis or Shiites with very intense animosity toward the USA occupation of their homeland? Even the attempt to make a connection between what happened at the end of Apartheid in South Africa and what is happening in reaction to the presence of 160,000 USA troops in Iraq is a fantastic stretch of political imagination. The Bushites Agenda for Iraq has no room in it for any Mandelas, even if they exist!