George Bush has repeatedly said that if the Iraqis were to ask us to leave Iraq, we would. At a May 2007 press conference, for example, the president said, “We are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. This is a sovereign nation… If they were to say, leave, we would leave.” Nevermind the fact that most Iraqis have long supported an immediate American withdrawal.
According to a White House fact sheet released this morning, the embattled Iraqi government that would be seriously endangered by an American pullout has asked for—surprise!—the exact opposite.
Iraq’s leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with America, and we seek an enduring relationship with a democratic Iraq….
The fact sheet also says the U.S. and Iraq will (1) seek another year-long U.N. mandate for foreign troops in Iraq, and (2) hammer out what the long-term future of American-Iraqi relations looks like. Spencer Ackerman believes that this means “the administration will work out the terms of the U.S.’s stay in Iraq in order to, at the very least, seriously constrain the next administration’s options for ending the U.S. presence.” No mention of the “enduring bases” we started building years ago, but if there was ever a question of those bases’ legitimacy, they’re now settled.