Pull the plug on the mercenary war

by Jeremy ScahillGlobal Research, June 15, 2007 TomDispatch.com The Democratic leadership in Congress is once again gearing up for a great sell-out on the Iraq war.

While the wrangling over the $124 billion Iraq supplemental spending bill is being headlined in the media as a “showdown” or “war” with the White House, it is hardly that.

In plain terms, despite the impassioned sentiments of the anti-war electorate that brought the Democrats to power last November, the Congressional leadership has made clear its intention to keep funding the Iraq occupation, even though Sen. Harry Reid has declared that “this war is lost.”

For months, the Democrats’ “withdrawal” plan has come under fire from opponents of the occupation who say it doesn’t stop the war, doesn’t de-fund it, and ensures that tens of thousands of US troops will remain in Iraq beyond President Bush’s second term. Such concerns were reinforced by Sen. Barack Obama’s recent declaration that the Democrats will not cut off funding for the war, regardless of the President’s policies. “Nobody,” he said, “wants to play chicken with our troops.”

As the New York Times reported, “Lawmakers said they expect that Congress and Mr. Bush would eventually agree on a spending measure without the specific timetable” for (partial) withdrawal, which the White House has said would “guarantee defeat.” In other words, the appearance of a fierce debate this week, Presidential veto and all, has largely been a show with a predictable outcome.

The Shadow War in Iraq

While all of this is troubling, there is another disturbing fact which speaks volumes about the Democrats’ lack of insight into the nature of this unpopular war–and most Americans will know next to nothing about it. Even if the President didn’t veto their legislation, the Democrats’ plan does almost nothing to address the second-largest force in Iraq–and it’s not the British military. It’s the estimated 126,000 private military “contractors” who will stay put there as long as Congress continues funding the war.

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