Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Monday, November 26, 2007

  What you won’t find at the WH website today

The White House website is utterly perverse. Normally, what it doesn’t say is much more significant than what it does. The correct way to read Pravda on Pennsylvania Ave. is to look for what is omitted.

Today, for example, there are three gaps each the size of Texas.

First, there’s the story notable by its complete absence. Dick Cheney was hospitalized with a heart condition. The Vice President’s news page and the main White House news page both pretend to be unaware of the incident.

It’s almost as if Cheney had shot somebody else in the face and is hoping to sneak back home unnoticed.

Next there’s Bush talking about the Annapolis peace conference.

I am pleased to welcome Prime Minister Olmert, President Abbas, and representatives of more than forty countries to the United States for the November 27 Annapolis Conference. The broad attendance at this conference by regional states and other key international participants demonstrates the international resolve to seize this important opportunity to advance freedom and peace in the Middle East.

Neither there, nor in his meetings with Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert, does Bush let the term “Hamas” escape across his lips.

Incidentally, in anticipation of the conference the State Department created a chronology of events related to the Palestinian peace process. It, too, excludes any mention of the Hamas government in Palestine, the elections that brought them to power, the unrest between Hamas and Fatah. The timeline even neglects to mention the Israeli bombardment of Palestine and the invasion of Lebanon last year. It does appear that the White House’s forgetfulness is catching.

A permanent presence in Iraq is what Bush and Cheney have been dead set upon from the beginning. Today the WH announced with Nouri al Maliki an agreement to keep US forces in Iraq for a long time to come.

It was all based neatly and cleanly upon a Declaration of Principles, which enunciates what the US eventually will get around to doing to help Iraq protect itself (and to prop up the Maliki government), as well as the Fine Things that will accrue to the US while it does so.

You’ll look in vain among those Principles for the specific phrase “Iraqi air force”. As I’ve commented in the past (Fictional Iraqi military branches are making "progress"), the US hasn’t provided Iraq with anything like an effective air force by means of which it might be able to protect itself.

Absent that, the permanent US presence looks for all the world like a protectorate over Iraq. And indeed you might be hard pressed to tell, at first glance, that this White House Fact Sheet on the Declaration of Principles

Iraq's leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with America, and we seek an enduring relationship with a democratic Iraq. We are ready to build that relationship in a sustainable way that protects our mutual interests, promotes regional stability, and requires fewer Coalition forces.

In response, this Declaration is the first step in a three-step process that will normalize U.S.-Iraqi relations in a way which is consistent with Iraq's sovereignty and will help Iraq regain its rightful status in the international community – something both we and the Iraqis seek. The second step is the renewal of the Multinational Force-Iraq's Chapter VII United Nations mandate for a final year, followed by the third step, the negotiation of the detailed arrangements that will codify our bilateral relationship after the Chapter VII mandate expires.

…does not date to the post World War One era Mandate of Mesopotamia.

Recognizing that the monarchy depended on British support…Faisal maintained a moderate approach in dealing with Britain. The twenty-year treaty, which was ratified in October 1922, stated that the king would heed British advice on all matters affecting British interests and on fiscal policy as long as Iraq had a balance of payments deficit with Britain, and that British officials would be appointed to specified posts in eighteen departments to act as advisers and inspectors. A subsequent financial agreement, which significantly increased the financial burden on Iraq, required Iraq to pay half the cost of supporting British resident officials, among other expenses. British obligations under the new treaty included providing various kinds of aid, notably military assistance, and proposing Iraq for membership in the League of Nations at the earliest moment. In effect, the treaty ensured that Iraq would remain politically and economically dependent on Britain.

crossposted from

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