Iraq Update

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IRAQ UPDATE….McClatchy’s Leila Fadel has good piece today about the state of play in negotiations between Nouri al-Maliki and the Bush administration regarding withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. You really should read the whole thing, but here’s the conclusion:

Maliki is now demanding a firm timetable for withdrawal and jurisdiction over American soldiers outside their bases. The second demand has stalled the process and does not seem amenable to compromise.

For now, Maliki has achieved none of his demands, said Ali al Adeeb, a leading legislator in Maliki’s party. The current wording in the agreement is that U.S. soldiers will withdraw to their bases by June 30, 2009, and leave by the summer of 2011 if conditions allow.

“What the Iraqis want is a firm date, and with all the insistence and persistence on our side, all we have is a firm date for restricting the American military to their bases,” he said. “There is no overconfidence or arrogance in Maliki’s insistence on his position. … There is a clear indication that the Iraqi forces are now capable of providing the security services required. I think it’s enough time, three years is more than enough time.”

It really is hard to figure out what’s going on here. My guess is that Bush is willing to compromise on the withdrawal language since, as a practical matter, (a) it’s going to be conditions-based no matter what the text says, and (b) he’s not going to be president when it happens anyway. But surely Maliki must know that Iraqi jurisdiction over U.S. troops is just a flat nonstarter. No American president in his right mind would agree to that, or even to anything close to it. Can he seriously be holding out for something more than language that guarantees “consultation” and “continuing progress toward full command integration”? If he is, he’s deluded.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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